Athletes, Entertainers Help Foster Donation Culture in Japan [2020/04/28]
The Nippon Foundation has received an increasing number of donations from celebrities. They include two-time Olympic figure-skating gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, three former members of the iconic band SMAP−Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori−who have formed a new group called Atarashii Chizu (Japanese for “new map”), and boat racing stars, to mention just a few.
This may be attributable to growing understanding among the Japanese public that all the money the foundation receives in donations goes toward charitable activities with administrative or other indirect costs being borne by us. I am delighted with this trend.
When big-name athletes and entertainers make donations, this goes a long way to foster a culture of donations in Japan. Until the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which dealt extensive and severe damage to the northeast of the country, donations by celebrities were apt to be ridiculed as publicity stunts. But times have changed. The shift in people’s attitude is in line with The Nippon Foundation's belief that we are all responsible for taking care of each other.
On March 16, Mr. Yuki Nishi, a right-hand pitcher for the Hanshin Tigers in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Central League, announced that he would donate 2 million yen to The Nippon Foundation Kids Support Project, which is designed to support children, including those with serious illnesses, being raised in challenging environments. This is the second year in a row that he has made a donation to the fund.
This year, he was joined by Mr. Taisuke Yamaoka, a star right-hand pitcher for the Orix Buffaloes of the Pacific League, who donated 500,000 yen to the fund.
Mr. Nishi said: “I wanted to do something to support children with serious illness or those who are not fed well. This may be a small step. But I am so happy that Mr. Yamaoka joined me. I want to continue these activities over a long span of time.”
Mr. Yuki Nishi (right) and Mr. Taisuke Yamaoka as seen in the March 17 issue of Daily Sports