Marian Anderson’s 1953 Concert Tour of Japan: A Transnational History – American Music – article

Marian Anderson’s 1953 Concert Tour of Japan: A Transnational History

Katie A. Callam | American Music

2019-11-03

On April 27,1953, one year after Japan regained its sovereignty following the postwar Allied occupation, the famed African American singer Marian Anderson arrived in Tokyo for a concert tour. Sponsored by NHK (Nippon H6s6 KySkai, or Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Anderson’s visit was also endorsed by an interlinking network of national and local media, US Embassy officials, Japanese critics and performers of classical music, and the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS). She performed at some of the country’s leading concert facilities and filled the role of goodwill ambassador, staging a benefit concert for orphans in Hiroshima just eight years after an American atomic bomb had decimated that city. Anderson also performed at the Imperial Palace, which, as the New York Tinies reported, “”had a Negro guest for the first time in its 2,600-year history.””1 This was Anderson’s first visit to Asia. She stayed in Japan for over a month, performing several times in Tokyo and giving concerts

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