JTA NEWS
19 November 2017 - 1 Kislev 5778 - א' כסלו ה' אלפים תשע"ח
JTA NEWS :
Arts & Culture
Mayim Mayim folk song alive and kicking in Japan E-mail

What is the connection between Israel, Japan and video games? A pre-state Israeli song. Yes, you read that right. An Israeli folk song called Mayim Mayim (“Water, Water” in Hebrew), whose lyrics are based on a biblical promise for salvation, is now the wellknown tune accompanying countless Japanese video games.

How did this come about? According to the Jewish daily online magazine Tablet, US educator Ricky Holden, an expert on folk dancing, was asked by the Japanese after WWII to help them in the process of cultural transformation.

Holden, who was not Jewish, found the Israeli folk song Mayim Mayim to be a worthy addition to the folk dancing music he was set to introduce to the youth of Japan. The American folk expert, who probably became acquainted with the song during his visit to Israel in 1957, introduced it to the Japanese, never suspecting that it would become a massive hit. The song was popular with labour movements and youth groups, and was eventually even played in Japanese schools, possibly influencing would-be video game designers who were then elementary school students.

The original Hebrew song was composed by Emanuel Amiran-Pougatchov, who composed over 600 songs and is quite famous in the world of Hebrew folk music. He was inspired by one particular verse from the Bible: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3.

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Taiwan International Human Rights Film Festival showcases Israeli documentary E-mail

The Taiwan International Human Rights Film Festival, marking the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial law in the country, is currently underway.

Two Taiwanese and nine foreign films are being screened at 18 locations nationwide during the sevenweek festival, organised by the Preparatory Office of the National Human Rights Museum.

“There was a time when Taiwan believed in collectivism and believed that economic prosperity would bring happiness,” Deputy Minister of Culture Ting Hsiao said at the opening of the festival.

The festival started with The Gatekeepers, a documentary by Israeli director Dror Moreh. It tells the story of Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, from the perspective of six of its former leaders.

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PHOTO IS:RAEL Festival E-mail

Since its launch five years ago, the International Photography Festival has become an Israeli art institution that draws tens of thousands of visitors each year. The 2017 festival will feature works by more than 200 prominent international photographers in 25 exhibitions.

The upcoming festival will run from 23 November to 2 December in Tel Aviv, and will feature a wide range of exhibitions and special events, including the first-ever photography marathon; a “White Night” event in the festival’s galleries, with art, music, and alcohol; gallery talks; guided tours; workshops, and activities for children and families. This year the festival will host photographers from a number of countries, including India, Italy, Brazil, Romania, Poland, Russia, Norway, the Czech Republic, Canada, the UK and France.

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