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Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta

In collaboration with Keys of Change CIO and NPO FYS

After the 2011 disaster in Fukushima, young people playing music has been instrumental in fostering a sense of unity, healing, and hope in the region. Through playing and performing music, youngsters have found a way to process their trauma and connect with their community. Furthermore, music has been a powerful tool for lifting spirits, inspiring resilience and reinforcing the idea that Fukushima remains a vibrant and culturally rich place despite the hardships endured. By providing young people with a sense of purpose, belonging and camaraderie, music plays a powerful role in helping Fukushima rebuild and move beyond the disaster.

The Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta (FYS) is one of the most positive things to emerge from the devastation of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. Set up by UK charity Keys of Change in partnership with schools in Fukushima, initially to bring hope to the young people in the area, the orchestra has made rapid musical strides and has already performed in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London (2014 and 2019), Tokyo Opera City (2015), Boston Symphony Hall (2016), Bangkok Siam Pic Ganesha Theatre (2017) and Suntory Hall (2018).


The FYS is a dynamic group of around fifty young Japanese musicians who have been coached by Keys of Change musicians over the past five years, as well as by professional As numerous testimonies from the Fukushima students, teachers, and parents have indicated, the FYS programme has been a life-changing experience for many of the students. Playing music and developing individual musical skills helped greatly with each child’s healing process as he or she emerged from the traumas of 2011. Working together to create the orchestra and then to rehearse and perform with it brought scores of students closer together, helping them express themselves freely and overcome their inner fears, contributing hugely to their musical and personal maturity. In addition, the experience helped positively in the recovery of parents, teachers, and friends of the young musicians. In numerous ways the work of the FYS has strengthened families, schools, and communities in the Fukushima area. This sense of unity and collaboration to overcome personal and social tragedies is unmistakably communicated to anyone who hears the FYS perform.

The FYS remains a symbol of restoration and healing in Fukushima. From their first concerts in Boston and London to a recent recording project, the orchestra has been a source of hope and inspiration for so many people. And now, looking to the future, they are shaping a message that is truly powerful: “Fukushima connects the world through music”.

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