Japanese jazz pianist Tadataka Unno has returned to the stage after being attacked last year by a group of teens in a New York City subway.
Tragic incident: Tadataka, 41, was walking in Manhattan to the ticket gate of a subway station on Sept. 27, 2020, when he was approached and attacked by a group of teenage boys and girls after being mistaken as Chinese, NextShark previously reported.
- “There are people, many people just watching me,” Tadataka recounted to Inside Edition. “So I was screaming, ‘Help me.’ But most of the people just ignore me.”
- A woman eventually helped Tadataka by calling the police. He was taken to a local hospital and suffered several injuries, including a broken collarbone and bruises to his head, body and hands.
- He also needed an emergency surgery that had doctors place a metal plate on his collarbone. Not only would the operation affect Tadataka’s mobility, but the doctors also told him he might never play the piano again.
- The heartbreaking news caused Tadataka to panic about his future. He said, “I didn’t know what to do if I cannot play the piano anymore. I should find another job or know how to make living. And also, I just got a newborn baby last year, June.”
- Jerome Jennings, Tadataka’s musician friend, helped him by setting up a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $300,000 from its initial $25,000 goal.
No arrest: The New York Police Department has not arrested anyone in connection Tadataka’s case, and authorities have yet to classify the attack as an anti-Asian hate crime. The case was also transferred to the MTA’s transit robbery squad for investigation since the incident occurred in the subway system.
- According to Tadataka’s wife, the musician heard the attackers yell out racial slurs and the words “Chinese” and “Asians” during the incident, Jennings told CBS New York in October 2020.
- Tadataka said about the incident, “At first, I was convinced that there was an Asian hate crime because when somebody was beating me up, calling me Chinese, this I’m sorry, we cannot really broadcast, but it’s ‘Chinese motherf*cker, just beat him up.’”
Return to New York City: Tadataka returned to New York City in May after his five-month rehab in Tokyo. Speaking to Inside Edition, the musician shared he was still afraid to ride the subway and to go out alone.
- “I cannot go to the subway. I can not get on subway,” he said. “It’s still hard for me, but little by little, get to use to walk around by myself, but it’s still hard.”
- Tadataka, who has now moved out of Harlem with his family, played at Blue Note last month alongside John Pizzarelli and Mike Karn.
- He said about being able to play the piano again at the jazz club, “It was so amazing feeling…I have so many memories there and feel like finally came back home.”
- The pianist is scheduled for another surgery this fall to remove the metal plate on his shoulder.
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