3 years have passed since the great earthquake/tsunami of 3/11/2011. The disaster has left tremendous mental & financial scars on children and their families. Are you aware that many of these children haven’t been able to get back to their usual living even today?
Play For Japan began its activities in 2011- the same year that the disaster struck Japan. Our organization was established by volunteers in hopes to provide a place where the disaster-wounded children could dream on for their brighter future.
Dec 2011- Held the event “Tohoku Baseball Festival”. Players from the selected local Japanese and Korean amateur baseball players had a match. The profit from this event was donated to the disaster-stricken areas via Japanese Business Association of Southern California(JBA).
Aug 2012- Selected middle school players from Miyagi, one of the severely affected prefectures, were invited to Los Angeles as “The Miyagi All Stars”. The team played against local American and Korean teams. The former Japanese MLB players, Akinori Otsuka and Shigetoshi Hasegawa volunteered to support the event. The players from Miyagi were able to have nurturing experience in many ways during their stay through the games and our home stay program.
August 2013 – “PLAY FOR JAPAN 2013″ invited “Iwaki All Stars” to Los Angeles, U.S.A. The team was formed with selected middle schoolers in Iwaki-city of Fukushima, where people had been suffering from substantial levels of radioactivity.
A total of 5 teams, including Iwaki All Stars, participated in a 3-day tournament and played against the local U.S., Mexico, and Korea teams. Unfortunately, Iwaki All Stars couldn’t win the championship, but the experience had given each player great confidence.
Shigetoshi Hasegawa volunteered to show support for PLAY FOR JAPAN. The players from Iwaki spent time with local host families and had various deep intercultural experiences as well.
Time has passed since the tragedy, and the interest of the media and the people are fading away. Play For Japan is making an unflagging effort to “REMIND” the world of what happened on 3/11/2011. From “lamenting over tragedy” to “taking action towards the reconstruction”; we believe “REMEMBERING” and “TAKING ACTION” can bring a significant change in people’s minds.