People :
Founder of the “Musicians without Borders” NPO and volunteer activist through music.
Ms. Mayo Shono

Ms. Mayo Shono
Ms. Mayo Shono
Born in Osaka. Graduate of Higashi Yodogawa Prefectural High School. Appeared in the NHK Red and White Singing Contest in 1978, singing “Tonde Istanbul (Fly away Istanbul)”. Graduated from Hosei University in 2004. In September of that year, enrolled in the Waseda University Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies. A member of Prof. Kikuchi Yasushi's seminar. A second-year master's degree student who values both music and study.
On June 7, her new CD “Anata ga warau toki (When you smile)” is going to be released.

“I like to go my own way so once I get started I can't give up.” 25 years ago, when she was at the pinnacle of her popularity as a musician, she decided to go on a journey around the world and visited 28 countries and 132 cities in 2 years. “In Africa, I was fascinated by nature and the balance of wild life. I became interested in environmental issues.”

Coming back to Japan, she carried on her musical career to express her own feelings. The turning point was 7 years ago when she had to spend a long period of time in hospital. “You never know what can happen,” was what she felt. “I drew up a list of all the things I had left undone in my life and ‘campus life’ came top of the list”. She wanted to have a theoretical grounding for her belief that “People make the environment” and entered the Faculty of Humanity and Environment at Hosei University. As part of the course she studied in England for one year and wrote a graduation thesis on “Saving the environment organically”. After graduation, she worked on development and refugee assistance in England. She took interest in developmental anthropology and enrolled in the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies with its robust research environment.

In February she went to the Philippines on an internship with other seminar students and observed various international bodies and NGOs in Manila. As head of the “Musicians without borders” NPO she went on to donate used flutes and Pianicas to Philippine orphanages . “It's been 3 years since I last met with children. I felt how music can give hope to people.” Her musical activities span both home and abroad and she hosts the “September Concert” in Japan. The concert began in N.Y. on the first anniversary of the 9.11 terrorist attacks. She is looking forward to this September and said with glittering eyes, “I want to transcend the mental barriers between people through the power of music and offer them an opportunity to share time and feeling.”

At university, she cast aside all the stereotypes that many adult students bring with them and went back to basics. “We have to avoid being short sighted and live each day to the full. We have to have the courage to try everything. If we fail, we can do it again.” The intensity of her feelings seemed to fill her slender body with power and energy.

Copyright (C) 2006 Student Affairs Division, WASEDA University. All rights reserved.
First drafted 2006 June 8.