Japan Honors Birkin

British-French singer-actress Jane Birkin was awarded the Japanese Foreign Ministry Prize Nov. 14 for her concerts following the March 11, 2011, disaster.

Photo: janebirkin.net

Birkin received the prize in person from Japan’s ambassador to France, Yoichi Suzuki.

“When I saw all those images on TV after the earthquake I asked myself, ‘What can I do?’ And I bought myself an airplane ticket and rushed there and organized concerts in support.”

In addition to performing in Tokyo only days after the earthquake and nuclear disaster, when most foreign artists had canceled planned shows in Japan, Birkin also set up an “SOS concert” in Paris to raise money.

She still sells bracelets made by women in Sendai, one of the cities hardest hit by the disaster.

“We were very moved by her immediate reaction to the quake,” Suzuki told reporters. “While people have been seen to be stoical and resilient, they wanted reassurance and the feeling that people care. Jane Birkin gave them that.”