Japan Relief fundraising aiding victims of disaster

Community members selling wristbands, folding cranes, donating proceeds of events

Photos/Mike Lovett

Tatiana Anacki's origami cranes

Numerous student and cultural groups across campus have joined forces to create Japan Relief in support of Red Cross aid to victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11.

"I was shocked to see footage of cars and homes being swept away by the waves," said Chiaki Fujiwara '11, whose family and friends live in Tokyo.  "I felt an overwhelming need to help."

Fujiwara began by contacting Hiroko Sekino, senior lecturer in Japanese, and representatives of the Japanese Student Association and the Asian language programs who together formed Japan Relief. In an effort to raise both money and awareness they designed, manufactured and sold bracelets around campus that read, "Pray for Japan" and "Hope for Japan."

Student groups that helped with the sales also have created a Facebook fan page to further advertise. So far bracelet sales have brought in more than $5,000.

Additional funding for Japan Relief came from coat check donations at President Lawrence's Inaugural Ball, ticket sales from South Asia Students Assn.'s White Out Charity Dance and Harumatsuri, a spring festival sponsored by the Japanese Student Association.

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Upcoming events

Kyogen, April 5, 6:30-9 p.m.
Mandel Center atrium. Traditional Japanese comic theater, $3 admission

Triskelion's Drag Show,
April 12,
time and location TBA.

Question mark T-shirts at the Brandeis Bookstore: Sponsored by Her Campus, each $5 donation receives a raffle ticket. Winners will take home the limited editions.

Crane Collections: Origami cranes are being collected at the Shapiro Center information booth and by Sarah Richardson from Student Activities.

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Nan Pang '13, co-president of the Japanese Student Association, grew up in Tokyo and Nagoya. For two days after the earthquake struck, his extended family was unaccounted for.

"Looking at the pictures and videos of this catastrophe was not easy for me, but at the same time, I felt I should know," said Pang.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Pang said, his aunt's family spent a lot of time in the local school gymnasium due to frequent aftershocks. Now, because of fears of nuclear radiation in the Kanto region, they have moved in with his uncle's family. 

Pang said that he would like to thank everyone at Brandeis who has been involved with Japan Relief, especially Satoshi Yoshida, assistant professor of biology, who he said was a driving force in getting the bracelets to campus.

Elizabeth Hope Stoker '13, co-coordinator of Waltham Group's Hunger and Homelessness department, said "As long as there are people in Japan who have been displaced and are without food and shelter, the relief effort will be on our radar."

Japan really reached out to the United States after Hurricane Katrina, she said.

"I hope we can respond to this disaster like good neighbors," said Stoker "and share the resources we have in abundance to help those who have lost everything."

Tatiana Anacki ‘98, lived in Yokohama for a decade before coming to Brandeis to study. Now the production manager for creative services, Anacki has taken a spiritual route to help through the Japanese legend of the origami paper crane. According to Japanese traditions, one who makes or receives 1,000 cranes may have a wish for long life or recovery from a serious setback fulfilled.

"Laura Fournier, a woman in Seattle, is trying to collect 20,000 cranes to send to Japan," said Anacki. "I'm trying to give her 1,000 from Brandeis."

Origami cranes are being collected at the information booth in the Shapiro Campus Center and by Sarah Richardson from Student Activities.

Last week Anacki taught students how to make the cranes while she manned tables selling Japan Relief bracelets. Anacki, along with her high school friend Bonnie Elliot, created a Facebook page called Dear Japan, which acts as a portal for people to post their personal messages.

Japan Relief has also garnered support from groups such as the Student Union, Brandeis Korean Student Association, Campus Center Team, the Brandeis Asian American Student Association, South Asian Student Association, and Aramark, the university food and beverage supplier who recently donated 10 percent of the sales from the Village POD c-store opening to the Red Cross.

The Waltham Group will sponsor a performance of kyogen, traditional Japanese comic theater on Tuesday, April 5 from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Mandel Center atrium. Yanagimoto, a kyogen expert, will perform. Admission is $3 at the door and all proceeds will go toward Japan Relief.

Triskelion, Brandeis University's Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender/Queer Alliance, has announced that all proceeds from Triskelion's annual Drag Show, on April 12 will go to Japan Relief.

If you've recently passed the Brandeis bookstore you may have noticed t-shirts with a large question mark emblazoned across the front. Sponsored by Her Campus, each $5 donation receives a raffle ticket. Winners will take home the limited editions and all proceeds will be sent to Red Cross relief efforts.

Fujiwara said that overall she is proud of the way that Japan has handled the disaster making collective sacrifices, handling blackouts and bearing with the shortage of supplies.

"As those around me marvel at the lack of looting and at the cooperation of the Japanese public," said Anacki. "I hope that the world watching will realize that we all could treat one another a little better, have more consideration for each other, and remember that every moment goes into determining who we are."

Categories: International Affairs, Student Life

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