Things are finally starting to look up for disaster-torn Japan. Despite a magnitude 7.4 aftershock hitting off the coast of Honshu two days ago, the nation continues to rebuild. At the Fukushima Daichi plant, the leakage of radioactive water at the #2 reactor was halted and a 190,000-pound concrete pump was shipped to aid in radiation containment efforts.
In the anime industry, over 60 manga, game, anime, and voice-acting companies will band together to hold a fundraising event. The event, known as “Smile Heart”, will be held in Tokyo tomorrow from 10:00AM to 5:00PM local time. The event will host a number of attractions, including auctions, raffles, donation drives, and stage performances. Seiendan will perform at the event, dozens of voice actors will encourage donations at the boxes, and voice actor Kenjiro Tsuda will present the Hakuoki charity CD.
The auctions will include signed items, including sketches, signatures, and manga panels from numerous creators, including:
Ajiko Kojima (Tonari no 801-chan – Creator)
Aya Azuma (Darker than BLACK – Creator)
BONES (Towa no Quon Production Staff)
Eri Takenashi (Kannagi – Creator)
Kazuhiko Shimamoto (Anime Tenchou – Creator)
Kazuma Kodaka (Kizuna – Creator)
Kazuya Minekura (Saiyuki – Creator)
Kirihito Ayamura (Devil Summoner: Kuzunoha Raido Tai Kodoku no Marebito – Artist [Manga Adaptation])
Koge Donbo (DiGi Charat – Creator)
Mizuna Kuwabara (Mirage of Blaze – Creator)
Naked Ape (Dolls – Creators)
Oyuki Konno (Maria-sama ga Miteru – Creator)
Ritsu Natsumizu (Inu mo Arukeba Koi o Suru – Creator)
Satoru Ishihara (Kimi Shiruya – Dost Thou Know? – Creator)
Shoji Gatoh (Full Metal Panic! – Author)
Takahiro Komori (Darker than BLACK – Character Designer)
Tomoko Yamashita (Touch Me Again – Creator)
Towa Oshima (Shitorasu Encount – Creator)
Yun Kouga (Loveless – Creator)
Zun (Touhou Project – Creator)
In particular, the outward display of goodwill from the industry has been staggering. Their efforts really have not ceased since the day after the quake, be it in this major exhibition, to YouTube videos, to sketches and well-wishes. Their efforts have yielded astounding amounts of support from the greater public, as Tsuyoshi Koyama announced that he, Aya Hirano, Jun Fukuyama, and a few other voice actors raised nearly 2.5 million yen in a single day of fundraising last Sunday.
I can only hope that these displays of support continue, both in Japan and on our side of the Pacific. As the warmer months approach, rolling blackouts continue to affect the people, and businesses continue to struggle, people will need to remain positive. The challenges and trials will absolutely get worse before they improve, but a distant light is visible at the end of the tunnel. The nation will need to remain strong, and the people must remain united if they wish to pull through the trials that await.