San Jose’s Japantown raises $50,000 in days

SAN JOSE — The Japantown Communty Congress of San Jose (JCCsj) raised $31,101 in 30 minutes at a vigil held March 17, in front of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in San Jose’s Japantown for survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit Northern Japan. Additional funds were raised the following day, also at the church.

A fundraiser that was primarily organized by the church’s Scouts the following day, brought the total raised to $39,715.

Thus far, more than $50,000 has been raised.

Some 400 people attended the vigil.

JCCsj President Tamon Norimoto chaired the program that included a reflective piece by San Jose Taiko. The evening featured messages from: Consul General of Japan in San Francisco Hiroshi Inomata that was delivered by Yoshiro Tasaka, Rep. Mike Honda as read by an aide, Councilmember Sam Liccardo; interfaith leaders, the Rev. Michiko Nishinosono of Wesley United Methodist Church; and Rinban Ken Fujimoto of San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin.

The evening concluded with a bell ringing by the Rev. Gerry Sakamoto, followed by a moment of silence for the victims.

The funds raised will be sent to the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, and then to the Japanese Red Cross. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be distributed.

The money raised at the March 18 fundraiser will go to the JCCsj fund or a San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin fund that will go to the Buddhist Churches of America, who will send it to the Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto for distribution.

RUSHING TO ACTION — Members of San Jose Japantown’s community quickly mobilized to hold a fundraiser March 18 to benefit survivors of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. photo by Ruth Shikada

Youth activities, geared toward raising awareness of the disaster and encouraging drive-by donations from the community, were held at the church.

Participants from the church’s vario

us Scout organizations included: Cub Scout Pack 611, Girl Scout Cadette Troop 61334, Troop, Brownie Troops 61306, 61304 and Daisy Troops 60782 and 61302.

The Cub Scouts weathered the rainy conditions to gather checks from people in cars, while the Girl Scouts made origami cranes that, along with uplifting messages, will be sent to the victims. People were also given the opportunity to sign a calligraphy message.

A fire truck and crew from Fire Engine Company No. 5 attended the event and gave earthquake preparedness lessons to the attendees.

San Jose Taiko performed at the fundraiser, which featured appearances by NBC Bay Area reporter George Kiriyama and NBC’s traffic reporter, Mike Inouye.

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