From time to time, this forum has been dedicated to the music of cultures outside our traditional scope. The calm power of Russian liturgical anthems, rhythmic energy of African cultures, and the musics of various European countries are a good start, but all fit neatly within our comfort zones. In this case, I set out to explore the music, poetry and influences of a culture not especially known for ensemble singing. For this reason, choral music of Japan is a rarity. But it is often the rarest gems that have the greatest capacity for beautyï¿½in the right light. So, I hope this column will shed some light on this little explored facet of our art.