Call for submissions for Aid for Japan and asari music video collaboration

posted in: News

The Tōhoku based artist asari has shared her latest creation with us at Aid For Japan. The song is quite appropriately called ‘Share’ and contains all the hope, sadness and anxieties of someone who survived the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. Working together with asari, Aid for Japan are putting out a call for anyone who survived the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami to get in touch and contribute their own videos, which will become part of a music video for the song.

asari is a special breed of artist who believes that music can help share the burden of loss and grief that others have felt. Aid For Japan and asari have worked together to translate her song lyrics into English, so that a whole new audience can listen and understand the song’s true meaning. You can listen to the song with lyrics in English and Japanese here:

asari wrote ‘Share’ to express how she still felt inexplicable sorrow for the losses incurred from the 2011 disaster:

Through working with school students on the production of the song ‘Share’, I was moved to learn that many of them were struggling with the responsibility to tell their stories, and, in spite of these uncomfortable feelings, continue to face up to the disaster and participate in disaster prevention activities.

I myself am a survivor of the Great East Japan Earthquake. I have often found myself wondering if I could share my thoughts and feelings with others, to do something to lighten their hearts and offer encouragement. I feel very grateful to the students for allowing me to get back in touch with this feeling.

This is why she published ‘Share’ without taking out any copyright. With the intention that as many people as possible can re-create her song, adapt the score and share the meaning of the lyrics, even beyond Japan.

Let’s make a music video!

If you (or anyone you know) have survived the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami disaster and would like to contribute to the music video, then please get in touch. Your collaboration will help bring asari’s song Share to a wider English-speaking audience. Hopefully, it will help you feel part of something bigger and allow for you to share the burden of your grief.
Please send us any video footage we can use to create a music video for the song Share.

  • You can film it on your camera phone
  • It can be as long as you like, but as the song is only five minutes long videos may be trimmed down
  • It can be videos of anything, however, try and keep in mind the theme of the song Share. What does it remind you of? How does the song make you feel? Is there anything about your survival that you would like to share?

Once you have filmed your videos, please send them to us by e-mail to info@aidforjapan.co.uk Please include your name and contact information, however you can also remain anonymous if you so wish. Once the music video is finished it will be published on YouTube.

Thank you and please share this project around!

Japanese language version of this project can be found here: www.aidforjapan.co.uk/jp/asari

You can buy copies of asari’s music from her shop here: https://asarishop.official.ec/

Hanami Cherry Blossom Viewing Picnic hosted by Aid For Japan

posted in: Events, News

In Japan there is the tradition of cherry blossom viewing called hanami 花見. Where people gather beneath ample cherry blossom trees to appreciate the flowers’ fleeting beauty. In April 2022 Aid For Japan hosted such an event at Greenwich Park.

It was a lovely day, and we were lucky as the weather held out for us! The cherry blossom trees were in full bloom, so that everyone could enjoy and appreciate them. People brought along sushi, homemade Japanese food, such as dashi-maki tamago (egg rolls), onigiri (rice balls), and pink cake to match the cherry blossom.

Serendipitously, The National Trust were making a podcast about “blossom appreciation” and so their producer joined us to record at our hanami event. Fresh sushi was donated by the kind restaurant owner of Yuma Sushi. And a bottle of good quality saké was provided by a saké sommelier.

Our hanami picnic gave our charity members and supporters the opportunity to meet in person after such a long absence. We discovered old friends and new and were glad to spend time together in the beautiful setting of one of London’s Royal Parks.

Aid For Japan 11th Anniversary Event

posted in: Events, News
2022 marks the 11th Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

As well as the loss of life that this devastating event resulted in, hundreds of children also lost their parents and families. To commemorate the anniversary Aid For Japan staged a special event that combined a showcase for Japanese culture, alongside an exploration of Aid For Japan’s activities and goals for the future.

This event was, understandably, a little sadder as it was the first charity event that didn’t have the presence of Akemi Tanaka who sadly passed away in 2021. At the same time, Aid For Japan is getting ready for change as most of the orphans that the charity has supported have now grown up. On that basis, the charity is looking to the future and carrying Akemi’s legacy forward.

For this year’s anniversary Aid For Japan was kindly given space at the London Metropolitan Archives. The LMA is the archive repository for Greater London, and the earliest record they hold dates from 1067; the archives today charts the development of the capital into a metropolis.

We also shared the space with the Tsunagu/Connect exhibition, an oral history project featuring Japanese women who settled in the UK after 1945. Curated by New Earth Theatre, a theatre company for members of the British East and South East Asian community, Akemi was among the women who had been interviewed. Tsunagu/Connect provided a fascinating backdrop of migration stories and impressions of the UK from a unique Japanese perspective.

Order of events

The charity event was preceded by an introductory talk from LMA Director, Emma Markiewicz, on the purpose of the archive. Aid For Japan was the first community event that the archive had hosted since the advent of the pandemic.

Covid-19 continued to be an issue as Rimika Solloway, Akemi’s daughter and director of the charity, had unfortunately come down with the illness and so was unable to attend. Richard Pennington, one of the charity’s trustees and Akemi’s husband, dutifully took over the coordination of the event on the day in her absence.

To begin with, Richard gave a talk explaining the history of Aid For Japan and its plans for the future. This included the fact that some of the orphans that Aid For Japan has helped in the past have expressed a willingness to take a more active role in the charity and thus to help others.

As Richard explained:

So, the charity’s aim is to let them tell their stories about how they survived the earthquake, how they coped afterwards and thrived. Our intention going forward is to bring more stories about the emotional impact natural disasters have on individuals and communities.

These people experienced and survived one of the worst natural disasters ever recorded in human history. This is why their stories are worth telling. Aid For Japan aims to raise awareness about natural disasters and to learn from them about how to cope with collective grief.

The event then gave Kumiko Mendl, curator of the Tsunagu/Connect exhibition an opportunity to talk about why the project was created and their future plans. Tsunagu/Connect Live represents the next phase of the endeavour where the New Earth Theatre will stage what it describes as “an immersive promenade adventure”, which will showcase the stories of those Japanese women who have settled in the UK.

The assembled attendees took a lunch break, giving them a chance to look at the Tsunagu/Connect exhibition themselves, as well as enjoying some tasty Japanese food kindly donated by Wasabi at Chancery Lane. Plus some home-cooked traditional Japanese food that charity trustee Yuka Harada-Parr provided.

Art of Translation

Yuka hosted the next segment of the afternoon’s activities titled The Art of Translation. As an experienced teacher and translator, Yuka discussed the soon-to-be released song from Japanese singer and musician asari. Using the original Japanese lyrics for ‘Share’, Yuka explained some of the trickier parts of translating Japanese, while also trying to maintain the nuance of the language. Yuka then invited the audience to help with providing a suitable English translation for asari’s lyrics.

Maria-chan’s Interview

One of the orphans who Aid For Japan has supported since the disaster is Maria-chan. As part of this event, she kindly contributed an interview for a special video presentation to let supporters of the charity get to know her better. Maria-chan would like to support others who have suffered emotional hardship due to the disaster, and by telling her story she is allowing others to share theirs.

During the video, Maria-chan chatted about her hobbies and interests which included her favourite film (Titanic) and favourite hobby (riding her motorbike!) At the moment, Maria-chan is studying fashion at a Tokyo university. The video shows Maria-chan has blossomed into a bright and engaging character. Aid For Japan is very proud of what she’s achieved!

Saito-sensei and Natural Disaster Workshops

Saito-sensei is one of the people that Aid For Japan has been in regular contact with over the years. As part of the afternoon’s talks, Yuka presented what Saito-sensei is currently doing in Tohoku.

Headmaster of a school hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, Saito-sensei is someone with a keen personal interest in the aftermath. He is now running workshops on disaster management and disaster prevention, providing relief for the people of Miyagi Prefecture and the surrounding affected areas.

Recently, Saito-sensei conducted a lecture series titled Live and Let Live about how to continue with normal life after going through such a life-changing event.

That was the worst natural disaster in living memory for Japanese people. My community including myself have gone through great loss. We are changed people, but we must continue to live as normal

Rounding out the event’s activities, Yuka took the audience through a typical Japanese disaster drill. This drill was not only for earthquakes, but also for other natural disasters that might affect the Japanese populace. Natural disaster prevention is a part of the National Curriculum in Japan. In Tokyo local nursery, primary and secondary schools must conduct a disaster drill 11 times a year. In the high schools, they must have drills more than 4 times a year.

Following the drill demonstration, Yuka invited the audience to take part in a quiz to see how much they had learned. One lucky attendee scored high points and, as a result, took home a special emergency survival pack used in times of disaster in Japan, which included a bottle of water and some dried noodles.

Attendees walked away from the event with a stronger impression of the impact the events of 2011 had made on people’s lives – as well as the difference that Aid For Japan is trying to make.


Aid For Japan would like to extend its grateful thanks to Emma Markiewicz and Symeon Ververidis and the staff of London Metropolitan Archives for their kind assistance; Kumiko Mendl, Lian Wilkinson and the team behind Tsunagu/Connect; Peter Berry, Johanna Mattick and the team at the Chancery Lane branch of Wasabi; asari and Saito-sensei. Special thanks to Maria-chan.

New Earth Theatre’s Tsunagu/Connect Live takes place between 23rd and 20th April 2022 at Shoreditch Town Hall. More details: https://shoreditchtownhall.com/whats-on/tsunagu-connect


asari collaborates with Aid For Japan

posted in: Feature, News

The Tōhoku based artist asari has shared her latest creation with us at Aid For Japan. The song is quite appropriately called ‘Share’ and contains all the hope, sadness and anxieties of someone who survived the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011.

asari is a special breed of artist who believes that music can help share the burden of loss and grief that others have felt. Aid For Japan and asari are currently working together to translate her song lyrics into English, so that a whole new audience can listen and understand the song’s meaning.

asari wrote ‘Share’ to express how she still felt inexplicable sorrow for the losses incurred from the 2011 disaster:

Through working with school students on the production of the song ‘Share’, I was moved to learn that many of them were struggling with the responsibility to tell their stories, and, in spite of these uncomfortable feelings, continue to face up to the disaster and participate in disaster prevention activities.

I myself am a survivor of the Great East Japan Earthquake. I have often found myself wondering if I could share my thoughts and feelings with others, to do something to lighten their hearts and offer encouragement. I feel very grateful to the students for allowing me to get back in touch with this feeling.

This is why she published ‘Share’ without taking out any copyright; with the intention that as many people as possible can re-create the song, adapt the score and share the meaning of the lyrics, even beyond Japan.

Aid For Japan are staging an event in London on the 11th anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, in association with New Earth Theatre, which will include asari’s video and a discussion of how she composed the song. The event will also feature presentations and talks on the aims of the charity and its future goals.


‘Share’ will be released on CD in April.

https://asarishop.official.ec
https://www.instagram.com/utau_asari
https://www.utauasari.com

Aid For Japan 11th Anniversary Event: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/aid-for-japan-11th-anniversary-event-tickets-269539077637

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