Japan Aid of Santa Fe

Updated on June 18, 2015

Santa Fe JIN's Japan Aid Program History

On March 11, 2011 a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the 4th most powerful earthquake ever recorded, struck
Northeastern Japan off the coast of Tohoku resulting in a giant tsunami and a Level 7 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant releasing radioactive material. The majority of the devastation was caused by the tsunami which reached over 128 feet and traveled inland as far as six miles. Nearly 16,000 people were killed and 2,500 people are still considered missing.

The disaster struck right before our 2011 annual Matsuri and the board members of Santa Fe JIN decided to create an organization, Japan Aid of Santa Fe, dedicated to raising money and supporting the people affected by the disaster. For the first time, Santa Fe JIN charged a $3 admission fee for the 2011 Matsuri, 100% of which was donated to Japan Aid of Santa Fe. A special thanks to Chosho Yabe, who donated her calligraphy artwork as well as the Native American Jewelry Artists and other booth vendors (?) who donated their festival profits.

In the first few months following the disaster, Japan Aid of Santa Fe, with the strong and amazing support of the community, as able to raise over $31,000 for disaster relief. We would like to thank the people of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico. Special gratitude to AKKA Karate USA, Smokin’ Bachi, Shohko Café and Cowgirl’s Hall of Fame, all of whom held special fundraising events. $31,136.65 was sent to the Japanese Red Cross on June 3, 2011.

For the remainder of 2011, Japan Aid of Santa Fe continued to accept donations and raise funds. The board of Santa Fe JIN decided to shift the focus of aid and support to small Japanese aid organizations who would benefit most. On December 12, 2011, $1,500 was sent to a small school (whose name will be reported later) to buy an old school bus to help transport children from irradiated areas to safe locations.

Between 2012 and 2014, AKKA Karate USA continued to raise funds and graciously donate to Japan Aid of Santa Fe. Outside of Santa Fe JIN, they are the largest contributor to the relief fund.

In December of 2014, the board members of Santa Fe JIN decided to donate $4,000 to the Utakko no Kai choir group in Kamashi, Iwate who are in the process of rebuilding a community center for their town. The money donated will help purchase a PA system for the building. A strong relationship has been established between Santa Fe JIN and the Utakko no Kai. There is hope for future visits between the United States and Japan for members from each community.

Utakko no kai members with JIN member Tom

Outside of the Kamaishi community center

Today, the people of the Tohoku region still need help and support. 60% of the people (about 200,000) who lost their homes are still in temporary housing. 83,000 live in prefabricated housing not meant for long term use. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is still leaking thousands of gallons of radioactive water daily in the Pacific Ocean. Radiation levels are going down, but the number of thyroid cysts and cancers is increasing, especially in children. People living in affected areas all wear personal Geiger counters. Many people in the Tohoku region feel that the world, and their own government, has moved on and forgotten about them. After four years, most relief organizations and volunteers have left. Beneficiaries of support say that material goods have helped, but that the emotional support gained from knowing that someone cares has been just as valuable, if not more so.

At the 2015 Matsuri on March 28th, the admission fee was raised from $3 to $5 specifically to continue raising money for Japan Aid of Santa Fe. One dollar out of the $5 was designated for Japan Aid. $1,903 was raised.

As of May 2015, Japan Aid of Santa Fe has $2,398.80. The board will continue the discussion on which aid organization to donate money to next. Santa Fe JIN is dedicated to raising money and supporting the people of Japan. We thank you for your generosity and continued support.

With the help of so many people, Santa Fe JIN's Japan Aid of Santa Fe division has raised $35,000 in support of disaster relief in Japan. Thank you so much to the people of Santa Fe and New Mexico. Special gratitude goes to AKKA Karate, Smokin' Bachi, Shohko Café and Cowgirl's Hall of Fame restaurant, which held fundraising events or organized collections from membership. This money was designated for the Japanese Red Cross.

Effective May 16, 2011, we will be shifting our focus to local community projects to directly assist the people in Northeastern Japan. The need there is ongoing as the people of the Touhoku region work to rebuild their lives. We will be holding events to raise donations for various specific projects. Please check back here for announcements as our plans are developed.