Japan “Tsunami Orphans” called for support at Times Square in N.Y.C

Jul 15, 2011 10:42

Please watch these coverage 【CNN】 【abcnews】 【NY1 News 】 【NTD Television】
Please check out “TV T-shirts” of our fundraising activity at Times Square on “YouTube”, send us your messages at Facebook “You Are Not Alone project” below.

 “Please help Japan,” Japanese students called out to passersby at Times Square in New York on June 9, 2011 in a fundraising campaign to help the tsunami survivors of northeastern Japan. Four high school students and one university student, each still in the process of overcoming the loss of their loved ones, were joined by two American students on their New York tour. One had lost her father in 9/11, and the other had lost his mother in Hurricane Katrina.

 Amid mixed feelings of fear and excitement, the tsunami orphans flew in from Japan on June 7 with hopes to raise awareness among the international community of the needs of disaster survivors, particularly the children who had lost their parents.

“I was at school when the earthquake hit,” said 16-year-old Shoya Kasai, who lost his mother in the tsunami. ”I think I have matured quickly from this,” he said at a news conference held courtesy of Morgan Stanley before the fundraising event.

 Sayaka Sugawara, 15, was washed away by the tsunami. She spent two nights on top of the roof of her house. When she jumped, her back was cut by a large piece of debris, and her feet were splintered by nails. ”My mother and my grandmother have died. My great-grandmother is still missing. No one in our neighborhood, about seven or eight kilometers from the sea, had ever imagined such a big tsunami. I think everyone was staying in their homes. I was washed away, but I survived.”

 Maria Kusaka, 16, had been on her way to a friend’s house. “The ground shook violently. I think my father was trying to come to us, but he was taken by the tsunami. My mother had been crying every day.”

 Manami Tanno, 18, is making an effort to stay composed. She lost both her parents and her sisters in the tragedy. Smiling at Times Square, Manami said she didn’t want to talk about it.

 Among the survivors was a student who has been studying at an overseas college. “Both my parents died. Our area was hit badly,” she said, declining to be identified. She does not want to receive pity from the people around her, however good their intentions may be. “I just wanted to come here and help call out to people to support Ashinaga’s fundraising activities.”

The money raised will be used to help the construction of “Tohoku Rainbow House”, a facility to provide care for children who have lost one or both parents in the disaster.

 The fundraising campaign, organized by Ashinaga (Daddy-long-legs), is its first action to raise money outside Japan. Ashinaga hopes to raise money for the construction of a “Rainbow House” facility to offer continuous care for bereaved youths.


June 8 (Wed)
  visit to Ground Zero and the Tribute Center

June 9 (Thu)
  news conference (Japanese and U.S. students, Ashinaga President Yoshiomi Tamai) 

  fundraising activity at Times Square with twenty students taking part

June 10 (Fri)
  visit to a local high school


  • Four high school and one college student from northeastern Japan; one college student each from the 1995 Kobe earthquake and two Ashinaga college students who lost their parents to illness.
  • One U.S. college student who lost a parent in the 9.11 terror attacks, one student bereaved by Hurricane Katrina.

Shihoko Numa (Ms.), Yukichi Okazaki (Mr.)

Special Thanks to;
Morgan Stanley
United Air Lines, Inc.
Marriott International, Inc.
New York Japanese-American Lions Club
Ensemble Studio

The image below will be seen worn on “TV T-shirts” at our fundraising activity at Times Square. Please check it out at “YouTube” below:

Send us your messages for the kids who have lost their parents in the tsunami at Facebook “You Are Not Alone project” below: 

1-6-8 Hirakawa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8639 Japan

Telephone: +81(3)3221-0888
Fax: +81(3)3221-7676