Some of the top names in entertainment are urging continued support for earthquake/tsunami victims through videos and a new website, Unite for Japan (www.uniteforjapan.org).
Unite for Japan does not collect funds but is working with several organizations to support the relief effort. Through the Japan Society and Global Giving, donations can be made to Peace Winds, Mercy Corps, International Medical Corps, The Tokyo Volunteer Network for Disaster Relief, JEN, Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC), and The Japan NPO Center.
There are also links to several other fundraising projects, including Socks for Japan, Aloha Initiative, Letters to Tohoku, and Songs for Japan. An eBay auction is planned for June.
“Japan was the recent victim of one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded,” wrote actor Ken Watanabe (“Inception”). “The magnitude 9.0 quake occurred off the coast of Sendai at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, and triggered a powerful tsunami that engulfed the northeastern coast less than an hour later. The catastrophe left over 27,000 dead or missing and forced 450,000 into shelters.
“The earthquake also led to cooling problems at three of Japan’s nuclear power plants. After the meltdown of at least two nuclear reactors, residents in the affected areas were evacuated, and a state of emergency was declared.
“When I first saw the catastrophic damage, I was in shock and utter disbelief. In the days following the earthquake, it was devastating for me to watch the homeless taking shelter at evacuation centers. Many were eating just one meal a day, and sleeping on floors with inadequate clothing to fight off the cold, all the while not knowing when or how their lives could change for the better after losing homes and, in some cases, loved ones.
“The events were so overwhelming that I felt powerless. But soon, I was no longer able to sit still and watch the horrifying events unfold. I decided to do two things, which was to help raise funds for the earthquake relief effort, and give the victims moral support by gathering messages from around the world.
“With one catastrophe after another, morale in Japan is low. But with your help, I know the people of Japan will make it through this catastrophe. Please join me in showing that Japan doesn’t stand alone by participating in the Unite for Japan relief effort.
“Thank you so much for your help, and please continue to keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers.”
The public service announcements, executive produced by Watanabe, can be viewed on the website.
In the first PSA, the following celebrities hold up messages of encouragement, in both English and Japanese, with Jake Shimabukuro playing “Amazing Grace” on the ukulele:
Jamie Lee Curtis
Philip Seymour Hoffman
In the other PSA, the following celebrities speak:
Jamie Lee Curtis