Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief (135th report)
Makoto Hasebe visits Minami Sanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture

[MINAMI SANRIK, JAPAN, 21 December 2011]

In June 2011, Makoto Hasebe, a soccer player in the Fusball-Bundesliga in Germany, donated all royalties earned from his book “Kokoro o totonoeru: Shori o taguriyoseru tame no 56 no shukan” (Train Your Spirit: 56 Practices to Becoming a Winner) as well as the proceeds earned from a charity event held in Fujieda City, Shizuoka Prefecture to the assistance activities being conducted for children by the Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU) in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. On this occasion a project has been launched to assist Mr. Hasebe in giving concrete “shape” to the generosity of each individual reader that answered his calls by allowing his book to sell over a million copies.

Mr. Hasebe passing over the donation record to Representative Mizuno.

On 21 December a project overview was announced in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture. At the same time, Mr. Hasebe utilized this opportunity to present his second fundraising donation. The second donation ceremony was held at a highland clearing located next to the Bayside Arena gymnasium, which was been used as a shelter for countless disaster victims since the earthquake. At the ceremony Mr. Hasebe announced that his donation would be used to construct a new school building for Asahi Kindergarten, which lost its building in the tsunami. The ceremony was attended by Board of Education head Tatsuro Sato of Minamisanriku, who agreed to donate the land to Asahi Kindergarten in order to maintain education and welfare facilities for the town’s preschool-age children, as well as the kindergarten’s principal Takahiro Kojima and JCU Great East Japan Earthquake Assistance Headquarters Tohoku Representative Mariko Mizuno. Mr. Hasebe handed over a record to Ms. Mizuno of his 4.5 million yen donation, making his donations for JCU Great East Japan Earthquake assistance to date total 9.5 million yen, when combined with his 5.0 million yen donation in June 2011.

Before the donation ceremony Mr. Hasebe visited the children of Asahi Kindergarten at the town’s civic center, where the kindergarten has temporarily restarted its classes. Donned in an apron that the kindergarten prepared for him, Mr. Hasebe read kami shibai (Japanese picture card stories) to the some 40 children and even held a soccer class. Mr. Hasebe presented the school with 20 soccer balls and postcards with his signature. In return, the children presented Mr. Hasebe with a song and a letter written on a large piece of construction paper.

Kindergarten teachers prepared an apron and nametag for Mr. Hasebe.   “Teacher Hasebe” reads a story to the children.   “Mr. Hasebe playing soccer with the children.
Rendering of Asahi Kindergarten’s new building.The giant cedar to be used for the construction of the new building.

Asahi Kindergarten’s new building will be constructed using a giant 200-year-old Japanese cedar tree located in front of Daioji Temple, Minamisanriku Town’s main temple, which was scheduled to be cut down due to damage from the tsunami. The concept is to construct a building that can be used for at least 100 years, and world-famous architect Takaharu Tezuka has taken charge of its design. Preparations are now underway with the objective of completing the building by spring 2012.

“The construction of the new building is not my doing; rather, this is a project being carried out based on the generosity of everyone that purchased my book,” said Mr. Hasebe. Mr. Hasebe has also provided a message for the UNICEF Hand in Hand campaign(Japanese only).

All photo credits: © Japan Committee for UNICEF/satomi matsui

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