charity

Hiroshima begins recovery projects following tragic, deadly landslides

Hiroshima begins recovery projects following tragic, deadly landslides

In the early hours of the morning on August 20, Hiroshima City was hit by severe thunderstorms. As the downpour continued, the ground gave way in the Asanami and Asakita Wards, triggering landslides that have caused the deaths of dozens of residents.

With the storm finally passed and clean-up projects beginning, we visited the disaster site where we saw just how long the road to recovery is going to be.

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“Pirates” challenge Asian leaders to ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; Monkey D Luffy not invited

“Pirates” challenge Asian leaders to ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; Monkey D Luffy not invited

As of August 25, 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Donations have reached a whopping US$70.2 million. The challenge has made it across the globe, with participants ranging from Benedict Cumberbatch to Kumamon. While the challenge is raising awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), new participants are finding their own ways to make the challenge more interesting.

One Korean-American rock band has challenged the leaders of three Asian countries to pick up that bucket and do their part to raise awareness and money for the neurodegenerative disease.

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Chinese philanthropist accused of faking Ice Bucket Challenge【Video】

Chinese philanthropist accused of faking Ice Bucket Challenge【Video】

China’s wackiest entrepreneur-philanthropist, Chen Guangbiao, loves nothing better than a grand gesture. This summer he hosted an extravagant lunch for homeless people in New York – which ended mired in controversy when the $300 he promised each guest turned out to be a lump sum donation to charity.

And now his latest stunt – an extreme, 30-minute version of the ALS ice bucket challenge in which he wedges himself between blocks of ice and is drenched in a wheelie bin – has also attracted criticism. Some Chinese net users have accused Chen of using plastic ice cubes in the stunt, an 11-minute video of which was uploaded to his Weibo account.

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Is Asia missing the point of the ice bucket challenge? Taiwanese sufferer of ALS voices criticisms

Is Asia missing the point of the ice bucket challenge? Taiwanese sufferer of ALS voices criticisms

Following on from this post, we thought it might be appropriate to share some opposing opinions to the ice bucket challenge, which is still going strong and getting more column inches (not to mention YouTube minutes) than anyone could have ever dreamed.

The craze recently found its stride in Asia with an ongoing chain of Japanese business folk, as well as tycoons and celebrities across China. However, one Taiwanese sufferer of the ALS had some criticisms to voice.

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Tohoku aid charity Knit For Japan attempts world record blanket

Tohoku aid charity Knit For Japan attempts world record blanket

More than three years on from the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, there are still roughly 260,000 people living in temporary housing facilities. Since Tohoku gets mighty cold in the winter, sending these evacuees some lovely hand-made afghans is a woolly hug that lets them know they are not forgotten.

But that didn’t go far enough for Yokohama-based knitting teacher Bernd Kestler, who wanted to send them the biggest blanket the world has ever seen!

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Japanese CEOs take on the ice bucket challenge

Japanese CEOs take on the ice bucket challenge

The ice bucket challenge has gone viral this summer with everyone from your average Joe to celebrities and business moguls such as Oprah, Charlie Sheen, and Bill Gates getting on board. Now it’s even spread across the pond to Japan, and started circulating among the business bigwigs over here. Yesterday Toyota President Akio Toyoda took on the challenge with a brave face, while also keeping the charitable spirit alive.

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London’s Sumo Run has Japanese confused, kind of offended

London’s Sumo Run has Japanese confused, kind of offended

This week the annual charity event known as the Sumo Run took place in London’s Battersea Park. To raise money for education in sub-Saharan Africa, participants don inflatable sumo suits and run the 5km course around the park, no doubt delighting passersby in the country that gave us Monty Python.

But when media outlets in Japan reported on the event, the audience here was not universally pleased, with some people calling it racist cultural appropriation.

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China’s most pompous millionaire just threw a ridiculously fancy lunch for homeless New Yorkers

China’s most pompous millionaire just threw a ridiculously fancy lunch for homeless New Yorkers

Multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao, the self-proclaimed “most influential person of China,” held a massive event in New York City on Wednesday during which he handed out $100 bills to 200 homeless people at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.

“He’s the man! He’s the man!” one man shouted, throwing his arm around Guangbiao and waving the three $100 bills in the air.

“I wish and hope that you will put the money into good use,” Guangbiao said in remarks delivered through a translator.

“I hope that you will use this money as seed money for whatever job training or job education you will receive so that you can help yourself,” he said.

Guangbiao, 46, then told the crowd that he would like to do this every year. They began to cheer and whistle.

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Sweet Charity indeed! Hello Kitty teams up with world-renowned patissier for a worthy cause

Sweet Charity indeed! Hello Kitty teams up with world-renowned patissier for a worthy cause

They say charity is sweet, but we’re pretty sure it doesn’t come much sweeter than this. Yes, it’s a charity project that involves an internationally renowned patissier, as well as the most famous mascot cat in the world, and it’s called “Macaron Day“. Even the name sounds sweet, doesn’t it?

As the name suggests, the charity features the delectable macarons created by master pastry chef  Pierre Hermé, but it’s also about raising money for children fighting serious diseases. And this year, our beloved Hello Kitty will be pitching in to help with the project — by becoming the PR ambassador for Macaron Day in Japan! Now, we know we’ve often described Hello Kitty as a hardcore entrepreneur who isn’t at all picky about the jobs she takes on, but this time, she’s all about seriously contributing to a good cause. But what kind of event is this Macaron Day, and how exactly did Hello Kitty become involved in it?

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Toyota shares its creative thinking to help charities become significantly more efficient

Toyota shares its creative thinking to help charities become significantly more efficient

Over a year and a half after Hurricane Sandy ravaged New England, some people are still without permanent housing. The poorest populations in New York have been impacted the most, dependent on aid long after the rest of the city moved on. Several major companies got together to assist in the effort for aid, but Toyota had a novel contribution: efficiency.

Toyota sent experts to New York for eight weeks to help Food Bank of New York’s partner organization, Metro World Child, improve their methods, thereby helping to get food donations to as many people as possible using as few labor hours as possible. The improvements meant that the same resources were used to provide food to more families faster.

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Tweeters urge Japanese to donate to Serbian flood relief as repayment for Tōhoku support

Tweeters urge Japanese to donate to Serbian flood relief as repayment for Tōhoku support

Japan is no stranger to natural disasters, and the world rose up in support after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011 left thousands dead and millions homeless. Now it’s time for Japanese people to repay that kindness by supporting one of their greatest benefactors through their own period of crisis.

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Unknown person leaves thousands in cash and gift certificates in dozens of mailboxes in Japan

Unknown person leaves thousands in cash and gift certificates in dozens of mailboxes in Japan

What if you found an unmarked envelope full of money in your mailbox? Would you keep it?

On March 20 and 21, exactly 30 households were faced with this very dilemma as an unknown person deposited a total of 760,000 yen (US$7,420) in the mailboxes of an apartment complex in Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture. The largest sum found in a single mailbox was 137,000 yen (US$1,339). Just 10 days earlier, mysterious envelopes were deposited at an additional 30 homes in Kawasaki City, 486 km (300 mi) away. This time, the envelopes contained gift certificates with monetary values ranging from 5,000 yen (US$48) to tens of thousands of yen (hundreds of US dollars).

If this sounds like easy money to you, you might be surprised to learn what half of the residents chose to do with the cash.

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Tohoku tsunami survivor’s $12K camera: heart-felt gift or PR stunt?

Tohoku tsunami survivor’s $12K camera: heart-felt gift or PR stunt?

Three years ago, Japan’s northeastern region was devastated by a triple disaster of a Magnitude 9.0 earthquake, an ensuing tsunami that wiped away whole towns and caused the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. Affected deeply by the tragedy, Japan has since rallied together as a country to support those who lost loved ones, livelihoods and homes.

Last week, as a part of remembering the three years that have passed since the disaster, famed German camera maker Leica gave a high-end camera worth 1,200,000 yen (US$12,000) to a high school student whose community was devastated by the tsunami. Initially touched by the show of support, Japanese netizens began a heated conversation online about whether the very generous gift was a heart-felt present or just a PR stunt for the well-known camera maker.

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Yahoo! Japan donates 5x projected amount to Tohoku after unexpected number of people participate

Yahoo! Japan donates 5x projected amount to Tohoku after unexpected number of people participate

In tribute of the third anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake on 11 March, Yahoo! Japan held a charity drive pledging 10 yen (US$0.10) for every person who entered “3.11” into their search engine.

Relying on the data that Japan’s most used search engine was privy to, they hypothesized that a maximum of 5 million yen ($48,000) from 500,000 unique IP addresses would be generated and set a limit at that amount. Boy, were they wrong.

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Lycra-clad Super Sentai descend on Taiwan to… pick up trash?!

Lycra-clad Super Sentai descend on Taiwan to… pick up trash?!

Japan sure knows how to say thanks in a unique way! Super Sentai (not to be confused with hentai!) were on hand to save the day in Taiwan by rescuing an area from rubbish, in a street-cleaning event that began as a way of showing gratitude for Taiwan’s contributions to the Tohoku disaster relief effort. And what expresses those feelings better than people running around in flashy skin-tight suits?

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Lady Gaga Hello Kitty put under the virtual hammer, only two in the world born this way

Lady Gaga Hello Kitty put under the virtual hammer, only two in the world born this way

We often like to cover the more absurd things that get put up for bid on Yahoo! Auction Japan, but this time something has come up that may be of genuine interest to either Lady Gaga or Hello Kitty fans. If you happen to be a fan of both then this is downright priceless.

Currently an extremely limited edition Hello Kitty doll is the subject of fierce bidding. This Hello Kitty is done up in fashion inspired by one of the biggest musicians in the world today, Lady Gaga.

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Heartbreaking video game remembers the victims of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, raises money for survivors

Heartbreaking video game remembers the victims of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, raises money for survivors

Compared to older forms of media such as books and movies, the video game industry is still somewhat wet behind the ears. But as technology advances and developers become increasingly able to realise their creative visions without having to rein in their imaginations due to hardware limitations, we are finally reaching the point where games are able to not just entertain but challenge us both intellectually and viscerally, creating emotive experiences and acting as vehicles for genuinely engaging tales.

9.03m does precisely that. Developed by independent Scottish game studio Space Budgie, the game, whose proceeds go towards those affected by the disaster, stands as a memorial to the victims of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, questing players with gathering the possessions of those lost in the tsunami, which have been carried across the ocean from Japan to America, with each object telling the story of a lost soul.

At once heartrending and beautiful, this is a title that deserves the attention of not just every gamer but every person with access to a PC.

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Story of kindness at American restaurant warms hearts, stokes privacy concerns in Japan

Story of kindness at American restaurant warms hearts, stokes privacy concerns in Japan

Despite one of the top stories this past week being about how terrible Americans are at getting along, a picture posted on the Internet messaging board reddit has brought a little credibility back to the United States. Normally a hand-scrawled note to a server about paying the bill would barely make local gossip. However, this man’s offer of charity to two crying women who just received bad news made its way to Japan, moving some to tears and some to wonder if privacy concerns would prevent this from happening in their country.

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The Masked Philanthropist is Back! Japanese Orphanage Receives Mystery Donation from Tiger Mask

The Masked Philanthropist is Back! Japanese Orphanage Receives Mystery Donation from Tiger Mask

On Christma Day, 2010, an anonymous donor left ten 30,000 yen ($360) randoseru backpacks outside a Japanese orphanage in Gunma Prefecture. Attached to the bags was a card signed by Naoto Date, the secret identity of fictional Japanese wrestler Tiger Mask, who, in the popular 1960s manga by the same name, fought for orphans after being raised in an orphanage himself.

The story was picked up by the press and a week later, on January 1, 2011, a similar donation of backpacks was left at an orphanage in Kangawa Prefecture, again with a note signed by Naoto Date. By January 11, over 100 “Tiger Mask” donations, ranging from backpacks to toys, food, and monetary gifts, had been reported at various children’s facilities across the country.

After that, little was heard from Tiger Mask, aside a second donation to the original orphanage in Gunma on Christmas Day, 2011, which failed to inspire a wave of charity as it had the previous year.

Has Tiger Mask forgotten about the children of Japan?

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Man Leaves Box of Fish at Japanese Orphanage (This is a Good Thing)

Man Leaves Box of Fish at Japanese Orphanage (This is a Good Thing)

Just a few weeks after the heartwarming story of an evil villain donating backpacks to a Japanese orphanage, comes another tale of anonymous Japanese winter philanthropy, this time from Toyama prefecture.

At around 2:30 pm on December 8, a female staff member at an orphanage in Takaoka city noticed a man pulling up in a white vehicle and placing three large boxes, two styrofoam and one cardboard, at the base of a telephone pole near the entrance. The man, who seemed to be in his 30s, beckoned the staff member over with his hand and, without saying anything, left the boxes and drove off.

In the cardboard box were five daikon, or Japanese radishes. In the styrofoam boxes were two large, plump yellowtail, accompanied by a letter that read: “The men of the ocean have braved billowing waves, putting their lives on the line for these kan-buri (winter yellowtail).” The letter was signed: “Yours truly  A Man Who Loves the Ocean”.

At first, vegetables and fish may seem like a rather strange combination to leave outside an orphanage, but the man had actually gifted the children with a luxurious winter feast: winter yellowtail are a major seasonal delicacy that normally sell for anywhere between 30-40,000 yen ($350-$480) a fish. 

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