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Japanese Mid-Career Master of Public Administration (MC/MPA) students at Harvard Kennedy School held a fundraising event titled “Charity Sushi Night” for Japanese earthquake victims on August 9. Despite severe weather that passed through Cambridge, 143 participants, including many MC/MPA students and their significant others, gathered in a common room in the Akron building near the Harvard Business School campus.
It has been five months since a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Northern Japan. Although the disaster has faded from the headlines in recent months, it remains an ongoing significant issue in Japan. Noting the intense interest among MC/MPA students on the issue, Japanese students hosted the charity event to inform their classmates about recovery efforts in Japan, and to accept donations on behalf of people still suffering from the damage.
Six Japanese MC/MPA students--Kanoko Kamata, Takuo Sato, Yusuke Saito, Shuhei Ueno, Ryosuke “Reo” Watanabe, and Ryoji “Ryo” Watanabe--provided personal perspectives on the tragedy and expressed confidence that Japan would recover. Some discussed the effects of nuclear radiation and the current energy crisis in Japan while others shared their experiences volunteering in the devastated areas and showed dramatic pictures and videos of Northern Japan.
Although the primary purpose of the event was to share information and collect donations, students also had the opportunity to celebrate Japanese culture with food, drinks, conversation and music.
Reo Watanabe, one of the Japanese students who organized the event, commented, “We as Japanese students appreciate the kind contributions by the HKS Mid-Career community to assist the Japanese earthquake victims. I hope the event helped students to understand the actual situation and issues that arose surrounding the disaster.”
“It was an amazing event and provided an excellent opportunity for us to learn from our Japanese classmates," said Myra Batchelder MC/MPA 2012.
A total donation of $1,975 was collected, and all proceeds will be donated to an NGO, Human Rights Watch, for a project to help Japanese earthquake orphans.
As the recovery effort continues, Japanese students say they are determined to continue providing assistance to the people of Japan and hope to continue their support in conjunction with the Japanese Caucus at Harvard Kennedy School and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies of Harvard University.
Akino (age 12, left) and Yoshino (age 5, right), daughters of Reo Watanabe, an MC/MPA student, played the koto and sang a Japanese traditional song for MPA students at Charity Sushi Night. (Photo courtesy of Carl Manlan MC/MPA 2012)
“We as Japanese students appreciate the kind contributions by the HKS Mid-Career community to assist the Japanese earthquake victims. I hope the event helped students to understand the actual situation and issues that arose surrounding the disaster," said event organizer Reo Watanabe.