Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Singapore-Japan Diplomatic Relations and Inclusiveness

2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan. With this strong friendship, there have been robust economic and close cultural exchanges between the two countries. In celebrating this milestone, the Committee of the SJ50 Gala Night and Event recognizes that success is also very much about giving back and we wholeheartedly support inclusiveness of the special needs community in our society.

Corporate Champions of Inclusiveness have come together to bring you “A Stroke of Genius” – calligraphy performances and exhibition by Shoko Kanazawa, a celebrated Down Syndrome calligrapher from Japan; and “The Sound of Silence” – piano recital by Azariah Tan, a Singaporean award-winning pianist with severe hearing loss.

Despite the many challenges they faced, Shoko and Azariah demonstrate that there is hope despite their disabilities. Through resilience and determination, they have gone on to become masters in their respective fields. Their inspiring stories are extraordinary examples of strength over adversity.

Come witness their amazing performances beyond labels of disability.


21 October (Friday)
11 am – 2 pm
Main Atrium, Level 1, Paragon

Calligraphy performance by Shoko Kanazawa, Japan

Piano recital by Azariah Tan, Singapore

Minister for Social and Family Development


A STROKE OF GENIUS - Exhibition by Shoko Kanazawa
12 pm – 10 pm
Main Atrium, Level 1, Paragon


Meet Shoko Kanazawa, who against all odds made her dream a reality to be a Shodo Calligrapher. See her strokes of genius move the human spirit. Born with Down Syndrome, her inspiring gift is a testament that art transcends cultures and talent is beyond labels of disability.

Shoko held her first solo exhibition “The World of Calligraphy” in Tokyo at age 20 and has gone on to exhibit her works at various temples in Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura and Kanagawa, Japan. In 2013, she transcribed a poem that was composed by the Japanese Emperor and the art piece is now recognized as a Japanese monument. In the same year, she established the Shoko Kanazawa Museum in Tokyo. In 2015, she represented Japan at the World Down Syndrome Day at the United Nations, New York, where she gave an inspirational speech of hope for those who are disabled.


02 October 2016

 Follow her instagram @shoko.kanazawa

©Tomofusa Takagi



Listen to Azariah Tan’s intimate sound of silence. Though diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss at the age of four, he went on to be an award-winning pianist and has completed a Doctor in Musical Arts in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan. Recipient of several scholarships and fellowships, he has performed internationally with orchestras in the United States and Japan.

To demonstrate his gratitude for the opportunities and success that he has achieved, Azariah has been active in community work and contributed much of his time performing for various charitable causes in Singapore as well as conducting master classes on a voluntary basis for students taking their Music Elective Programme. In 2014, Azariah was named "Honoree" in Ten Outstanding Young People, Singapore, by the Junior Chamber International, in recognition of his inspirational role for others.


16 October 2016


To view Shoko Kanazawa’s amazing display of calligraphies, join us at A STROKE OF GENIUS from 21 – 23 October 2016 at the Paragon. A STROKE OF GENIUS is made possible by SJ50 Corporate Champions of Inclusiveness.


“Nothing happens unless first a dream” ― Carl Sandburg


"Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own” ― Robert A. Heinlein


“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy” ― Thich Nhat Hanh


"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science” – Albert Einstein


"People must have righteous principles in the first, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions” – Martin Luther


“Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as high as it will” – Aiden Wilson Tozer

To hear Azariah Tan’s golden touch in sound, join us at THE SOUND OF SILENCE from 21 – 23 October 2016 at the Paragon. THE SOUND OF SILENCE is made possible by SJ50 Corporate Champions of Inclusiveness

Azariah Tan at Millennium Stage - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Azariah plays - Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto 2 in C minor Op. 18 2nd movement

Liuxin, Pan chang, Azariah Tan - Beethoven Piano Trio in D major, Op.70 No.1, "Ghost" First movement

For the first time ever in Singapore, be wowed by the changing face of beauty. Let O.WOW take the lead in motivating people to start a conversation on inclusiveness through an inspiring showcase of diversity on the catwalk featuring people with special needs. It’s time to take a walk on the bright side – walk of wonder beyond labels of disability.

Co-presented by:

Supported by:

PERCEPTION by ND Chow is a showcase of video montage of ‘glamour’ shots for the special needs community. Through the power of his photographic lens, ND hopes to evoke a positive perception through a series of beautifully taken photographs, that aims to deliver happiness and a more positive self-perception of those who live life on the margin. Born in Singapore, ND Chow spent a great part of his professional years in Japan and is one of the top photographers for renowned global brands. He has photographed cultural icons and pop stars such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Takshi Kitano, Pharrell Williams; and his works feature regularly in major Tokyo publications such as Popeye, Spur, Ginza, GQ Japan, etc. Perception by ND Chow will premiere at the SJ50 Gala Night @ St. Regis.

Co-presented by:

Supported by:

A STROKE OF GENIUS & THE SOUND OF SILENCE are made possible by the following partners

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Copyright © SJ50 • A Stroke of Genius • The Sound of Silence 2016