KYOTO — A Japanese high school marching band dubbed the Orange Devils will become the first overseas musical group to perform next week during Taiwan’s National Day celebrations.
About 90 members of the Kyoto Tachibana High School Marching Band left Kansai Airport on October 5 for their trip to Taiwan.
They are to perform during the Oct. 10 holiday in Taipei for 12 minutes in front of the presidential office building for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other dignitaries.
National Day is the Taiwanese equivalent of National Foundation Day in Japan and is accompanied by large-scale celebrations.
“I researched the celebrations by watching videos and other means,” said Yuki Shigekuni, a third-year student and vice principal of the high school marching band club. “I was amazed at how huge they are.”
The marching band earned its unusual nickname due to its energetic performances and bright orange costumes.
When Hsiang Ming-teh, the director of Taipei’s Economic and Cultural Office in Osaka, visited a classroom at Kyoto City’s high school on September 28, members of the school’s marching band club wearing their bright orange costumes greeted him by playing the popular jazz song “Sing, sing, sing”.
The school marching band is considered one of the best school marching bands in Japan and will represent the Kansai region when it takes part in a national marching band competition in the city of Osaka in November.
The Orange Devils performances were watched by Taiwanese on YouTube and other social media platforms and some became enthusiastic fans.
The band was invited to play at the celebrations because Taiwanese organizers “wanted people to see the energetic and dynamic performance of the band, especially because we are in a difficult time with things like the pandemic and the war (in Ukraine) “.
The band members were stunned when they were informed in May that Taiwan had invited them to perform.
Students on the trip to Taiwan are due to meet students from Taipei’s First Girls’ High School, known for its team of honor guards, on Oct. 6.
The group has also been invited to perform at a ceremonial concert to be held at the National Concert Hall in Taipei.
It will play a fanfare that Wen Lung-Hsin, a Taiwanese composer, created for Kyoto Tachibana High School, as well as Japanese anime songs and a tune that incorporates the famous Japanese folk song “Soran bushi.”
The trip became a lesson in cultural diplomacy for the students, as the group members spent time learning about Taiwan and its history through online lectures before their trip.
Misaki Takeuchi, a third-year high school student who leads the band club, said, “I think various things (in history) have happened regarding Japan-Taiwan relations, but that’s great that we can meet Taiwanese people and build friendships with them.
Hsiang said it was important for the students “who will lead the next generation to communicate with each other.
“I hope Taiwan’s understanding will be passed on to the next generation,” the director said.