Japan played host to its first Caribbean Soca carnival where the music and culture of the Caribbean region was on full display. This event took place in September, from the 15th to the 18th.
The event marks a significant cultural exchange between Japan and the Caribbean and shows how far the culture of Caribbean nations has reached in the world.
The event featured a traditional “pretty mas” followed by a carnival which brought forth all the colourful, vibrant costumes and festivities that all of us associate with Caribbean carnivals.
The event was a large one with over 300 attendees who came all the way from places like New York, Atlanta, Paris, and Los Angeles.
The event was organized by Kegon Toussaint and was geared towards festivities in Tokyo itself. The mainstays of the event were performances by artists like Nailah Blackman, Jadel, and Mical Teja. All of them were appreciated by the audience for providing a taste of the Caribbean to the diaspora in Japan.
In a statement given to Essence Magazine, Toussaint said, “There’s a small but growing diaspora of Caribbean people living in Japan… Soca in Japan is creating a platform for them to at least get a taste of their culture and also giving them the opportunity to build their own Caribbean business in Japan”
Nailah Black also spoke to Essence about the event and gave her opinion, “Performing in Japan had to be one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had… It was a euphoric feeling for me. I can’t explain how much I love that place”
She was besides her self with joy and surprised by the overwhelming response given by the Japanese audience which fully embraced and enjoyed Caribbean culture.
Apphia Pereira, who is a Trinidadian lawyer and English teacher in Japan, who believes the event was a thrilling and fulfilling showcase of Caribbean heritage in a country where it is underrepresented.
In her statement, she said that, “Seeing the fusion and the appreciation that Japanese people showed was heartwarming and thrilling. I can’t wait to see what’s next for us”
Many Soca music fans and Caribbean people from all around the world came to Japan to enjoy this music festival. As a result, the festival became a melting pot of Caribbean and Asian cultures and brought various communities closer.
There is indeed no better way to harmonize relationships between cultures than sharing each other’s happiness and celebrations. This event managed to do just that, which was a matter of pride for many of the people involved in making the weekend possible.