A new Moai statue – those amazing human figure sculptures from Easter Island in Chile – is set to be unveiled on Saturday in the small Japanese fishing town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, more than 10,000 kilometers away from the famous sculptures’ original home. The statue is a gift – handmade by Rapa Nui sculptors from Easter Island – of the Chilean government to the town, in a gesture of hope and encouragement as the northeastern village rebuilds from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated it.
For various reasons, there are a huge number of bicycles abandoned outside train stations and on roadsides in Japan. But instead of them just going to scrapyards and recycling stations, a non-profit group has taken those that are still repairable and functional and given them to healthcare professionals in developing countries that need them more.
The Stone for Peace Association of Hiroshima, a citizen’s group based in one of the only two cities in the world that were victimized by nuclear warfare, presented the former Yugoslav autonomous region of Kosovo with a stone engraved with an image of the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The stone is an actual remnant from the 1945 atomic bombing that devastated Hiroshima, one of the paving stones for the streetcar tracks just 200m from ground zero.
On that fateful day of December 14, a gunman took the lives of twenty children and six adult staff in Sandy Hook Elementary School, in one of the worst mass shootings in the US. On that day, a Japanese family were visiting in the US and they were affected by the tragedy. They went home to Japan determined to send their comfort and love to the students and staff of the school. Today, the 1,000 cranes are strung together on stands in Newtown, a symbol of Japan's care for the school.
As their US arm continues to be mired in legal battles with Japan in the US courts, militant conservation group Sea Shepherd has to turn to donations outside the country in order to reach the 4 million dollars needed to fund their activities. The money is primarily needed for their campaign against Japan's whaling fleet next year.
Aerosmith were scheduled to perform in Japan two years ago, just after the Great East Japan Earthquake that devastated the country in 2011. But instead of cancelling the tour, the band decided that the best way to help the people of Japan was through their music. This is the subject of the documentary “Aerosmith, Rock for the Rising Sun" by filmmaker Casey Patrick Tebo.
Caroline Pover, a British writer and publisher who has lived in Japan since 1996, has been so taken by the idyllic, seaside landscape of Ohara, Miyagi Prefecture that she is now spending a big slice of her time raising awareness and funds to help the disaster-stricken town. Ohara, a remote town devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, had a bus stop which was heavily damaged by the disaster – a town fixture now completely improved and renovated through Pover’s efforts, and she doesn’t plan on stopping there.
Richard Helmstetter, former vice president and current adviser of the world-famous Callaway Golf Co., has a very special place in his heart for Japan. Having lived in the country for 18 years, it was a no-brainer for him to support Japan during the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. After the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, he has still continued to provide aid by providing financial support to Kikakushitsu Takamura USA, a volunteer group based in Tokyo's Nerima Ward.
In what is to date the biggest cash gift that Balboa Park’s Japan Friendship Garden has ever received, Kyocera Corporation founder Kazuo Inamori has pledged to donate US$3 million towards improving the park and constructing a new pavilion. Inamori, now chairman emeritus of the electronics and ceramics giant as well as being chairman emeritus of Japan Airlines, has made this donation so that improvements can be done in time for the Balboa Park Centennial Celebration in 2015.
Former pop-star Cyndi Lauper, an icon of the 1980s in the U.S., has donated a piano that she purchased while visiting Japan last year to a hospital in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. The celebrity visited Japan's still-recovering Tohoku region on the one year anniversary of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake in order to offer support and cheer up the victims. It was in Ishinomaki that she found the small piano at a musical instrument shop.