In 2004 MFJ presented two diverse programs. The February concerts at Merkin Concert Hall opened with a focus on one of Japan’s best-known composer-performers, Ichiro Nodaira. Music From Japan commissioned a new work from Nodaira for the occasion, Quartet in Winter.
The second MFJ program featured the native Ainu performer OKI who sang and performed on a traditional Ainu instrument, the tonkori. He was accompanied by the vocal ensemble Ma Rewrew, who danced and sang traditional Ainu melodies as well as new works. Also on offer were a symposium and special film screening of documentaries on Ainu life by award-winning director Tadayoshi Himeda. The program toured the US, increasing American’s understanding of this indigenous population of Japan.