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Japanese Piano Angel with Down’s Syndrome - Kawashima Aya
[I love piano, music is really good]

I’m not stupid, the piano makes me smart, music is really fun, the piano is so cute, it makes me share lots of joy with my father, mother and everyone!
Kawashima Aya
 
Now attending the short-term Amabile School of Music in Japan, Kawashima Aya was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome three months after birth and accompanied with moderate mental impairments, language barriers, and mild autism. These have made Kawashima Aya’s learning more difficult than ordinary people.
 
As Kawashima Aya cannot read music scores, and because of her small, short and plump fingers, she can only learn one melody after another by hard, and strike one keyboard at a time. Under meticulous guardianship from her parents, she plays with the piano almost at all times. Touched by Japanese musicians Miyako Hiroshi and Tomoko Matsushita, they accepted Kawashima Aya as a student.
 
Kawashima Aya has always wanted to convey that she has “a heart that loves piano most.” She always plays day and night from aged 3 until the 24th year now. She has destroyed six pianos so far and can magically play more than 300 Japanese and world famous songs on public performances.
 
Whether it is Vancouver, Canada, Vienna, Austria, or other international handicapped piano competition; or Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul and other Asian charity performances, one can always hear the passionate piano music of Kawashima Aya.

As Kawashima Aya never gives up to play one tone and one melody one after another in sweat and tears, and still working very hard to make breakthroughs, aiming to convey that she has “a heart that loves piano most” and give back “a love to music without borders” persistently, she has become the most popular public performer at home and abroad. So she deserves to be praised as a “Piano Angel with Down’s Syndrome” and stood out among 2616 candidates of Loved Life Medal from all walks of life in the world and won the “21st Fervent Global Love of Lives Award” in 2018 from Chou, Ta-Kuan Foundation in Taiwan. The Foundation always welcomes recommendations for life warriors from all walks of life in the world who are hardworking, benevolent, courageous, and have made great accomplishments, etc. (Fervent Global Love of Lives Award recommendation hotline of Chou, Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation of Taiwan: 02-29178770, Fax: 02-29178768, Address: 3F, No. 52, Mingde Road, Xindian District, New Taipei City, Website: http://www.ta.org.tw, e-mail: ta88ms17@gmail.com).

Small angel struggling with all kinds of diseases
Kawashima Aya was born in Okayama Prefecture, Japan on April 26, 1991. It is a sunny place with beautiful sceneries and a long history, and also a story platform of Japan’s famous legend of Momotaro. It is also the hometown of Mikiki, the composer who helped Teresa Teng to become popular in Japan, as well as the sister city of Hsinchu City, Taiwan.
 
Kawashima Aya’s parents noted that every day in the past 27 years, she has been unsafe to suffer with measles, whooping cough, bacterial pneumonia, and other infectious diseases one after another. Besides forgetting the pain while playing piano, she also enjoys listening to the legendary Momotaro story on her way to make a medical visit, either taking a one-hour ride to Hiroshima, or a 35-minute ride to Kyoto on Shinkansen.

With the increase of age, the symptoms of Kawashima Aya begin to emerge one by one. She often falls while walking, slow to study, easily distracted, and her mental age only stays at 5 years old.

To let her have a normal and complete learning experience, Kawashima Aya’s parents insisted that Kawashima Aya must enter the same school as normal children.

However, when she was in school, she was always out of tune with the teachers and classmates. Unlike the children of this world, she is often mismatched with the people, things, and objects around her.

The kind and conscientious Kawashima Aya worked hard to complete every task assigned by the teachers, but she is often frail and sick. She often uses the hospital as her home, but often finds lagging behind in learning after returning to school. Coupled with poor communication and slow cognitive learning, she dares not speak and often feels frustrated in this education path under the scornful and contempt eyes from other students.
 
Fortunate enough, Kawashima Aya is meticulously accompanied by her parents, thus prompting her to strive more courageously.

Miyako Minoko, a music teacher of Kawashima Aya often holds Kawashima Aya up to sit on the piano chair and encourages everyone: “From Kawashima Aya, we discover the possibility of life. We feel that there is no boundary for music. Even if you don’t understand music, you can communicate with the world through music.”

Kawashima Aya’s other piano teacher, Tomoko Matsushita, often uses the story of Kawashima Aya to encourage everyone: “From childhood to old age, I believe that everyone can find yourself and your own pleasures in music melodies! Music is really fun to heal not only our hearts, but also enhance family harmony and make everyone happy.”

These warm words have given Kawashima Aya the greatest strength in the world.

Piano to the world of music
God never shuts one door without opening another.

A miracle descended one day when Kawashima Aya’s parents bought her the first piano as a three-year-old birthday gift after frugal living.

The piano brought incredible joy to Kawashima Aya, and the whole family was immersed in happy melodies.
 
At one time, Kawashima Aya’s parents were full of anticipation to enroll her in numerous talent lessons. As long as the teachers would accept her, they would never give up any opportunity, but the outcomes were always disappointed.
 
That was the first time Kawashima Aya officially came into contact with the piano. When she officially played the piano, the door leading to the world of music was unfolded before her eyes.

With the congenital conditions of Kawashima Aya, learning the piano can be very difficult as she was born with short fingers and clumsy in hitting the keys. So she spent a hundred times more efforts to practice than others.

Kawashima Aya is always sitting in front of the piano. Although the teacher only teaches for an hour, but her parents need to accompany her to practice repeatedly for eight hours. This involved her mother playing one time, followed by Kawashima Aya’s turn to play one time. After a series of “re-run” exercises, Kawashima Aya gradually played one, two, three, four, five, and more songs.

 From playing the piano lessons again and again from time to time, Kawashima Aya has slowly gained confidence on herself and found dignity and happiness.

Since then, the entire Kawashima Aya is just like “waking up” from a nightmare of Down’s syndrome. Everything is like the melting of winter snow to allow the seedlings of hope to probe out from the covered snow and ice to welcome the warm spring and blossoming flowers.
 
The lightning speed of starting all over again
With the approaching winter, the pace of spring is drawing nearer.

Kawashima Aya’s parents laughed and said that after she has broken the bottleneck, she is making rapid progress in piano learning that even they find it hard to keep up. Now, Kawashima Aya’s parents can only act as her most loyal listeners, giving Kawashima Aya the greatest encouragement and applause.

After Kawashima Aya’s performance has become more stable, her parents began to look for opportunities for her to actively participate in various competitions to win big prizes and increase her self-confidence.

Kawashima Aya’s special education status and excellent performance has won her invitations from many social welfare groups and schools in Japan. Her performances have continued to win high applause.

The piano has enhanced Kawashima Aya’s interest and self-confidence, allowing her to advance from playing Japanese children’s songs and ballads to compositions of world-famous musicians such as Beethoven and Chopin. She gradually masters the world famous masterpieces one by one. Not only does such growth touch Japanese musicians such as Mr. Mizuhiko Tomohisa and Tomoko Matsushita, but also all walks of life in Japan, especially tens of thousands of families with disadvantaged children. This has unknowingly called on everyone to break the seal to learn talents diligently, move towards transnational interests, and win the country with glory.
 
Transnational charity performances have won the country with glory
To the eyes of Kawashima Aya’s parents, watching her to make unbelievable performances are the great pleasure of their lives. She is considered a best gift given to them by God.

As long as they get an invitation to perform in a charity concert, Kawashima Aya’s family will not hesitate to attend no matter how far it is. So far, they have ventured into Hokkaido in the north and Kyushu in the south. Wherever she is needed in Japan, the piano melodies of Kawashima Aya would linger on there.

Following up the victory with hot pursuit, Kawashima Aya’s family has traveled transnationally to Canada, Austria, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and other charity concert exchanges. The enthusiasm and applause from different people are the greatest encouragement and greatest motivation for Kawashima Aya.

Kawashima Aya would say proudly whoever she meets: “I’m not stupid. The piano has made me smart. The melodies of the piano are my words. The piano is really interesting for it brings me happiness and brings happiness to many people.”

Loves to challenge the piano playing limit
The story of Kawashima Aya’s interaction with the piano has inspired many parents of children with Down’s syndrome to find new value in life.
 
Kawashima Aya’s parents are always proud and pleased to share Kawashima Aya’s successful experience with other parents.

After Kawashima Aya has gotten companionship with the piano every day, she has got out of anxiety, restlessness, inability to concentrate, etc., and greet the sunshine with concentration, patience and determination. She has become the teachers’ most effective assistant at short-term Amabile School of Music in Japan to play an “exemplary role” frequently.

Whenever Kawashima Aya’s personal experience is put up, other newcomers with learning disabilities will tend to integrate into the music situation more quickly and eager to learn.

Through her piano’s righteous performances and sharing, Kawashima Aya has unconsciously conveyed the message that “everyone is born useful,” and also witnessed that “I can do it, so can you.”

Therefore, the story of Kawashima Aya’s interaction with the piano has allowed us to see children with physical and mental disabilities that as long as we give them opportunities, as long as we provide them with resources, they will live in hopes, create values, and show their dignity and self-confidence.

    Kawashima Aya has witnessed the infinite possibilities of life.
    Kawashima Aya has played the most beautiful life melodies.
    Kawashima Aya has encouraged everyone to challenge the limits and live out the value of life.