AKB48 Continues To Support Tohoku, What We Can Do On Our Part?

  March 28, 2012

As a Japanese, and as a human, what I did for the people who suffered from the East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and what I can do right now?

Even though media reports shows great recovery from the damage, there are still many people who don’t have home, and struggle to restore their life from zero or minus. We and I must support them.

AKB48 held a special concert at their home venue, Akihabara, on 11th Mar, the 1 year anniversary of the country’s biggest disaster since WW2. It’s not only AKB but SKE in Nagoya , NMB in Namba, and HKT in Fukuoka held their concert on the same day. On the time of the disaster, all of them prayed for the victims. Minami Takahashi spoke to fans, “The important thing is not looking down, looking up.” and promised they will continue their support.

They were not in their usual glitter and glamour. Instead they were in simple white T shirts and denim short pants, the same style when they hold cheering up concerts in the damaged area, which they’ve been doing since last May. They sang the song “Kaze ha fuiteiru”, which is written specially for the victims of the disaster.

“One year passed so quickly. So many precious lives were lost. Let’s pray for them.” After Takahashi’s words, all members closed their eyes. Soon, Sayaka Nakatami, who is from Iwate, the hardest hit prefecture, and many others had their eyes filled with tears. Atsuko Maeda collapsed and cried. Mariko Shinoda, who became 26 y/o on the day, had deep grief on her face.

AKB families have been visiting the damaged areas once a month, holding concerts on the truck, and after that have shake-hands events. They’ve also donated 1,254,175,973yen comes from their CD sales and donation from fans. They will continue their support to the region and donate total 30 buses, named ‘AKBus’ to Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

Karei Iwata, a trainee of AKB48, who were at her home in Sendai when Tsunami hit, spent a night in a car on 11th Mar last year. She said, “I always keep in mind one word. We are living today, and this day is the day people who died from the disaster wanted to live.”

After the pray, the concert continued and they performed total 12 songs including the famous hit tune “Heavy Rotation”. This concert was livestreamed on Video sharing websites to connect with all victims. Toga, the manager of AKB48 theater told, “Still, some members are yet to visit the area. I will manage their time and let all members visit the damaged area in the future.” On Charity concert, he said firmly “We will continue the support without a time-limit.”

Rino Sashihara, who already visited the are 4 times, said “When I was there, people said to me ‘Remember the people who suffered. Remember this devastated scene.’ That reaffirms me to not forget this.”

‘Not let the memory of the disaster wither’, that will be the duty imposed on them.

From 4pm to 9pm on the day, donation box were put at the entrance of the theater. The boxes were put in total 9 places, including AKB official shops in HK, Taiwan, and Singapore*. The entrance fee was free, instead audience made a donation. Total 2 million yen was collected in one day.

* Not only these three countries but all countries in the world gave Japan kind help, even Afghanistan offered donation to Japan, which made me instantly burst into tears…

So, what we can do for our part? When you watch CNN, sometimes you see the Commercial promoting tourism in Tohoku. Now, they really need people to visit there and want them to enjoy Tohoku. If they are striving to rebuild their life and to do that using this Tsunami as a chance for promoting Tohoku’s great charm, if so or not, it’s not bad at all, I am really willing to buy it. And if you visit there, please remember the suffering of people, death of 20 thousands, and devastated towns and cities… and please never forget. I’m telling this myself too.
By the way, that CM I saw on CNN was so nice that I really want to embed it here but no luck to find it on youtube…  It will end with the simple word, “Japan, Tohoku.” Have you watched it?

Instead I put this JR Tohoku’s commercial. This somewhat looks too cheerful for the commercial for Tohoku, but as Minami Takahashi said “Don’t look down, we need looking up!” Please embrace it with open arms.

Source: Sports Nippon