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Violin made from Tsunami Debris

Updated on May 7, 2013

Violin's Healing Notes

A 71 yr. old violin maker "Muneyuki Nakazawa" started an amazing project in which he created violins out of the debris created by the Tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. It is incredible to think that something so beautiful as a violin could be created from such devastation. But what better way to help heal the wounds that to hear comforting melodies. Especially from a violin that was created from pieces of driftwood collected after the Tsunami. Nakazawa hoped that the two small violins that he constructed from the debris would continue to convey the message for generations to come telling the world of what happened on that fatal day on March 11/2011. He also hopes that the music from these violins will also bring comfort to those who have lost loved ones as well as ease the souls of the victims.

Devoted his Life

Nakazawa made his first violin when he was only 8yrs. old. He comes from a family that deals in the lumber industry. In his 40's he became a professional in refurbishing violins; he devoted his life to fixing, repairing and making violins. In his career he has restored over 50 Strativariuses but making an instrument from the Tsunami debris was a special challenge for him indeed.

Music to be Dedicated to Tsunami Victims

Normally the preferred choice of materials in making a violin come from English maple trees. Nakazawa explains that the Japanese trees are not known for making the best sounds. This did not deter him in the least as he searched looking for the best pieces of pine and maple he could find amongst the driftwood. He was working on a deadline as he needed them completed by the 1yr anniversary on which they would be played. The music they would play was to be dedicated to the victims of the Tsunami.

Varnishing in the Middle of the Night

Nakazawa went to extreme measures to ensure that he would have at least one of the violins completed. Under normal circumstances it takes around 15 coats of varnish for each one. You must wait till each layer drys before applying the next coat. As he was running out of time he had to get up in the middle of the night to apply coats of varnish to the violin so it would be ready to play on the anniversary. In the end the sleepless nights paid off as he was able to complete the first one on time and it even sounded better than he had imagined it would!

Miracle Pine

With each violin there would be a note book and an original music score titled "Triste" which means "Grief" this was created by composer "Susamu Ueda" in memory of the victims of the Tsunami. These will be placed in each violin case; the notebooks are so the violinists may leave notes to each other as the relay of the violins proceeds. On the back of the first violin is a painting of the famous "Miracle Pine". The "Miracle Pine" became famous as it was the only pine tree left standing out of 70,000 after the Tsunami hit. This is how it came to be known as the "Miracle Pine".

Music is a Great Healer

At the memorial service victims of the Tsunami said that they found the music of the violin a source of support for them. Nakazawa hopes that the determination of the Japanese people will be expressed through the music of the instruments made of the Tsunami debris. His wish is that they will be played by many for hundreds of years continuing to relay their story for many years to come. Music is one of the great healers of souls; it can take us away from a bad place leading us closer to a better place with each note that it puts forth for all to enjoy. May the music never cease.


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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Most interesting and thanks for shairing such knowledge

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      A lovely, true story as the Phoenix rises again from the ashes of yesterday.

      That intrument must be worth a fortune now.

      WE all suffered with the brave and philosophical people of Japan through this awful time of the Tsunami and then the nucleur disaster.

      Bob x

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

      Beautiful story.

      (I don't know if you noticed but your spelling in the title is incorrect... "violin" was spelled as "voilin".)