[From September Issue 2011]
Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, grassroots support for reconstruction has been growing. Even if they live far away from the disaster, many people are thinking about how they can pitch in and help. Along with conventional methods, like donating money and doing volunteer work, many people are supporting the devastated areas in different ways. Travel agencies, for instance, are organizing tours to tourist destinations around Tohoku.
Furusato Farm Co., Ltd. located in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture (one of the disaster-stricken areas) has set up an “owners” scheme to assist farms in the reconstruction effort. Purchasing produce from devastated farms, the scheme aims to get farmers back on their feet again by reviving the farming industry.
TAZAWA Fumiyuki, the company’s president says, “The agricultural industry in Tohoku was severely affected. If we can create a link between consumers and producers by asking people from outside the devastated areas for their support, it will really help to revive the industry. I’d like to return agriculture in Japan to its pre-earthquake state, so that consumers can enjoy the safe and pleasant flavors of Japanese produce with peace of mind any time of the year. I want to make Japanese agriculture appealing.
Once they purchase the “Shun-no Omakase Yasai Set” (set of selected seasonal vegetables), anyone can become a shareholder in the farms. The total price of the 12,000 yen set will be put towards the relief effort. Fresh vegetables and produce picked at farms located in devastated areas will be delivered to the shareholder three times a year. A portion of the profits will be put towards repairs and to purchasing building materials for farmhouses, agricultural machinery, and greenhouses.
Also, Psmile Inc., a company, located in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, which plans corporate events, is organizing exhibitions of Tohoku produce to aid reconstruction. Five percent of their profits will be donated to charities supporting reconstruction. “Tohoku people living in the Kanto area really appreciate being able to get their hands on items that are usually only available in Tohoku. Furthermore, visitors to the event feel that by purchasing these products they can publicly demonstrate their support,” says the president, KAGEYAMA Yoshihisa.
“Great East Japan Earthquake Arts & Culture Reconstruction Assistance Fund.” Atelier Canon, which is a concert management company and an associate member of the Mecenat Association, is donating money collected at concerts to this fund.
SUZUKI Hideo, the president of Atelier Canon says, “Listening to music has a healing effect: it makes us unwind, and turns our gaze inwards. No matter what kind of environment you are in, music has the power to make us all equals.”
TANI Megumi, a soprano singer of Spanish songs says, “A friend of mine was a victim of the disaster and for a while after the great earthquake, I felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Nevertheless, as a singer I’d like to do what I can by continuing to cherish each song, imbuing it with deep feeling and heartfelt prayers.”
Text: MUKAI Natsuko