Tackey & Tsubasa, Hey! Say! JUMP, and TOKIO members went to the three prefectures most devastated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami on March 25 to hand over 720 million yen’s worth (about 8.7 million US dollars) of donations, reports Sports Hochi, Sankei News, and Chunichi Sports.
Members from each group traveled to Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures to deliver the money raised through Marching J to each prefecture’s governor. According to Johnny’s & Associates, since the charity was set up a year ago, more than 920 million yen has been raised. This time, 720 million yen is being handed over, and the remaining 200 million yen or so will be handed over in May when the donations collected during KAT-TUN’s tour, scheduled to finish on April 28, can also be added to the lot.
It has been reported Hideaki Takizawa and Tsubasa Imai visited Iwate prefecture to hand over a portion of the donations. Takizawa has a special connection with the area, which he visited a number of times while filming NHK’s Taiga drama “義経 (Yoshitsune)”, and had even visited it by himself last year as a volunteer. On March 24 the two had visited Rikuzentakata and saw the famous one Japanese pine tree which survived the tsunami, and met some of the locals.
“I could see how strong-hearted everyone in Tohoku is. It’s something that makes you stand tall,” Imai said.
“A lot of the debris has been taken away, and I feel like I’m seeing how united the Japanese have become. It’s really encouraging,” Takizawa said.
Iwate’s governor also thanked the two for coming, and had said in turn the Johnny’s talents were encouraging the young people in the area so much more by visiting the area in person.
The two also visited Ofunato, which was where one of the power supply cars Johnny’s usually use for concerts was sent. The agency had lent out a number of these cars for free after the earthquake to help supply electricity to areas destroyed by the tsunami. One local told the two talents how much it had meant to the 300 people staying in their evacuation centre.
“When the power supply car arrived on March 19 and made the light’s turn on, there was a roar of applause throughout the hall. It was a special light in the dark for all of us.”
It has been reported Hey! Say! JUMP’s Ryosuke Yamada, Yuri Chinen, Hikaru Yaotome, and Kota Yabu had visited Miyagi prefecture to hand over another portion of the donations.
“I hope this money will help build a future for the children who lost their parents in the earthquake,” Yabu said.
“My dad and brother (living in Miyagi) had told me how bad things where up here. People who live in cold areas like this are perseverant, and I hope they can aim for the future at their own pace,” Yaotome said.
TOKIO’s Shigeru Joshima and Tatsuya Yamaguchi surprised locals when they came on stage during a music event in Fukushima prefecture to deliver the final portion of donations. Their group has been going back and forth between Tokyo and Fukushima prefecture to develop DASH村 (DASH village) for their TV show for more than 10 years.
“Fukushima is our second home. But to get to DASH village now, we need special permission,” said Joshima.
“We won’t let it end here. TOKIO’s also going to hold on strong to hope,” said Yamaguchi.