On March 11th, 2011 disaster struck Japan. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake wrought havoc on the northern parts of the country, and the subsequent aftershocks and tsunami caused major devastation on top of the already horrific earthquake damage. This was only the beginning though. The nuclear reactors in Fukushima were damaged in the onslaught of nature’s wrath, and have since begun to melt down leaving many Japanese civilians without homes, fresh water, or food.In the face of what can only be called a tragedy, the Japanese have shown remarkable fortitude and resourcefulness as the world watches and prays for things to get better. Countries around the world have extended aid to the island nation, and many major charities including the Red Cross have risen to the occasion, imploring people to give even small amounts to help the people of Japan push forward.
Closer to home however, many of Japanese musical artists have temporarily put aside differences to join together in solidarity. Artists from all major genres including Pop, Rock, and Visual Kei have begun charities of their own, or joined in charity efforts. Artists have begun donating proceeds from special albums and singles and donating personal memorabilia for auction, all in the name of supporting their fellow countryman.
Notable artists who have made contributions include Yoshiki who has donated his famous crystal piano for auction via The Yoshiki Foundation. The current bid for the piano is at a staggering 1.2 million US Dollars, however you have no way of knowing that anymore. The heavy traffic to the auction has caused it CRASH. Aside from the website killing crystal piano, there are other auctions available through the site ranging from tee shirts autographed by James Franco and Robert Pattinson to comic books signed by legendary creator Stan Lee. You can view the list of items on auction http://www.yoshikifoundationamerica.org/?page_id=1252 and view The Yoshiki Foundation’s website http://www.yoshikifoundationamerica.org/.
Major music figure Gackt has started his own charity organization called “Show your Heart” in which he implores for fans around the world to show their support via YouTUBE, by writing out “Show your Heart” on a piece of paper, and then offering words of encouragement. A whole host of major artists have left encouraging comments on the webpage including talents from Buck-Tick, Luna Sea, Duel Jewel, Nightmare, and more. You can view the comments http://showyourheart.net/ and Gackt’s personal message to his Dears around the world http://gackt.com/show_your_heart/action_us.html.
Another music power house, Takanori Nishikawa (better known as TM Revolution) has also started a charity called “Stand up! Japan”. Stand up! Japan was initially intended to be a large concert that’s proceeds would go towards the rebuilding of Northeastern Japan. However, after complications arose from the aftershocks of the earthquake, the focus shifted to auctions. Many artists have donated memorabilia, music, and more to be auctioned off on the website including members from JealKB, the GazettE, Alice Nine, and DaizySTRIPPER. You can view the main page http://standupjapan.org/ and then the auction page http://openuser.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/user/standupjapan_charity. Or if you prefer, you can follow the twitter page http://twitter.com/standupjpn.
Other artists have raised banners like Morrie from Creature Creature and Dead End. Morrie will be donating a percentage of the proceeds from his upcoming tour to support the cause in Japan. Solo musician Miyavi has also joined the action, taking collections on his current tour and also donating the guitar that he played on his debut World Tour for auction (you can view this auction and others in EMI music’s Ebay Store http://stores.ebay.com/emifamily4japan). Not be forgotten is the charity project known as Solid Ground: Japan Indies Artists United. This group of indies bands have each dedicated songs to the disaster and have put together a compilation CD that you can purchase http://www.blueorbproductions.net/index.html.
For some fans, the most revolutionary reveal was iconic band LUNA SEA releasing their first song in over a decade, called “Promise”, which can be found on iTunes. All proceeds from this song will go towards relief efforts. In addition to this, guitarist Sugizo has been volunteering in the disaster area itself, and you can read his comments about it on his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SUGIZOofficial.
But wait! Don’t think that musicians are the only ones getting into the action. Fashion icon h.NAOTO has also started a charity effort called “Ganbare Tohoku”. They’ve created a line of specialty support shirts which have been garnering attention from many musicians who wear the brand. You can view the page with various artists sporting the shirts http://www.s-inc.com/ganbare/!
Quakebook began with a single tweet, and has snowballed into an internationally recognized charity project to aid the victims of the March 11th disaster. When twitter user OurManInAbikoput out the call for personal stories and experiences from the quake, he never expected the overflowing response that poured in from Japan and around the world. Comprised of individual accounts of the disaster and compiled in little more than a week, Quakebook has gained the support of both Amazon, Amazon UK and iTunes, both of which are distributing it free of charge. The ebook is available through Amazon.com, and a print version is currently in the works. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the disaster relief effort in Tohoku. Find more information here: http://www.quakebook.org/.
So, while this tragedy has rocked not only Japan, but the whole world, we are hopeful in looking towards the future. Artists and fans are coming together in a way not seen before, and as more artists join in the action, we’ll update this article so you can follow along.
Article by: Zeera
Contributed: Maura D.