From Saitama to Montreal: Sharing Culture Through Music

The Individual

My name is Sho Takashima and I am from Saitama, Japan. I moved to Montreal when I was 32 years old. I decided to leave Japan and come to Montreal (I was torn about leaving Japan for about 10 years) because I found out I was going to have a baby with my husband who is from Montreal.


“I am so proud that the culture of such a small island has spread out all the way to Canada, and that people here have such a strong interest in Japan.”

The Craft

I started playing the piano when I was three years old. Initially, I wanted to play the flute because I had seen the shiny, beautiful instrument in the music store. However,  two weeks after I went there, I found a piano at home and my parents had already arranged piano lessons for me.


“In my opinion, music is non-verbal communication, and it’s a way to share our feelings.”

I like entertaining people, and if they are having fun with my music, it is fun for me too. There are many types of music that have inspired me and influenced my craft, including, Japanese, Classical, R&B, Soul and Punk.

The Event

I think people want to know more about Japan, especially about the culture and food. Montreal modeled Matsuri after Toronto, but now the community is continuing to grow and support us!


“Montreal and Canada has a lot of immigrants, and I believe they have accepted multiculturalism. I think they try to understand each other all the time, and I am so happy about it.”

The Performance

In 2011, March 11th, Japan was hit by a massive earthquake in the Tohoku area. That happened 2 days after I landed in Japan. I was in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, I walked home and it took almost 8 or 9 hours. After I came back to Montreal, I wanted to help people in the area and other places that also got hit by the natural disaster. That’s how I came up with the idea of helping by sharing some Japanese music with people at Matsuri and getting some donations. During Matsuri, we will play some songs from Japanese anime, games and TV shows, but our concept is not as Otaku-oriented. We pick up famous pieces which Japanese people know and hope the people here will be interested in them.


Discover the sound of the Genji Pianists this Saturday at Matsuri Japon. Sho Takashima pictured above with fellow pianist Saki Uchida.

This is our 6th time participating in Matsuri. We pay attention to the news about Japanese pop culture, and if we hear about some new material, we try to play it. If the people who come to Matsuri enjoy our show, this will be a greatest success for us!




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