How It Feels… to Perform for the Emperor of Japan

Published by Style on the Hill

Two years ago, KU student Annette Jardon performed for the emperor of Japan at the International Student Competition at the National Olympic Stadium. This is what it feels like.

The stadium in Tokyo erupted in applause as the Nepalese pianist finished his performance. As he left the stage, I walked onto it followed by the backup dancers the competition organizers had provided me with. I was wearing my everyday American clothes to showcase my culture, which made the fuzzy bunny ears and giant maroon bow the costume director had given me to look “cute” feel strange, but I didn’t have time to question it. This was it.

My whole body felt warm in the spotlight’s glow. As I looked out into the audience, I couldn’t see anyone past the first row of seats filled with other international students who were performing. But I knew he was out there somewhere — the emperor of Japan.

I hadn’t known the emperor would be here until we came to rehearsal earlier that day. There had been gossip that he could make an appearance, but I’d thought it was just that — gossip. But when we walked into the stadium, we passed him on the way to the stage.

Read more of the story here.