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Koto harp to soundtrack sister city visit

Town Plaza Gazebo hosting traditional Japanese performer




By Shelley Arnusch

The soothing sounds of traditional Japanese koto harp will float through Whistler Village this weekend.

Koto player Kazue Hanazato will be performing at the Town Plaza Gazebo on Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hanazato is coming to town as part of a delegation from WhistlerÕs Japanese sister city Karuizawa. The delegation includes Karuizawa Vice Mayor Katsushige Nakajima and two representatives from KaruizawaÕs tourism and economic development division.

The koto is revered in Japanese myth and legend, which attribute the shape of the 13-string instrument to a crouching dragon. Historians estimate the koto was brought to Japan in the 7 th century by Chinese and Korean musicians, who came to play in the Japanese court orchestra.

Modern koto composition in Japan dates back to the 16 th century.

HanazatoÕs koto harp will be donated to Whistler at the end of the weekend. A display site is yet to be decided.

A photo exhibition featuring travel/tourism images from Karuizawa will be on public display at MY Millennium Place July 1-10.