BLUE FOR JAPAN is a non-profit organization formed especially to help and support children at orphanages, sometimes called "children's homes", located in Tohoku -- an area which was severely affected by Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.
After the tragic and devastating event, founding members from different business backgrounds teamed up in an aim to establish a unique support system that involves people living afar from Tohoku, who are willing to help children affected by the earthquake and tsunami, without having them visit there physically.
We sell original stickers with our logo to our supporters, who are mainly owners of retail shops and restaurants located all over Japan. The money earned by the sales of stickers is used to support and empower orphans at children’s homes.
The stores put our stickers on their products, and consumers, by purchasing that item, are able to send a portion of their money to orphanages in Tohoku.
We are dedicated to support children at orphanages by using our extended experience in BOP (Base of Economic Pyramid) activities and more. We empower children in need, by providing not just money but educational items, special events, and interaction with volunteers.
Children at orphanages in Tohoku experienced tragic feelings of loss from the earthquake and tsunami, and many of them are still suffering psychologically. Their social status in Japan is far from blessed, and their voice is rarely made public. They do not receive enough support for education or care from the government. BLUE FOR JAPAN not only aims to support the children in need but also to empower them through interacting with us. We aim to bring them hope, dreams and goals in life by planning and operating events, which we think would help achieve their goals.
We are currently providing necessities for education and everyday life to orphanages located in Fukushima, based on their requests. We have also brought some of the children to Tokyo last summer to take them to KidZania, a facility to educate kids about occupations, and also interact with athletes in the outdoors.
We support orphanages located in Fukushima Prefecture mainly for now, but we hope to extend our activities to all of Tohoku area, with three main pillars of support in our mind: "Social security," "Education," and "Employment."
Up until now, we have donated goods in need to four orphanages located near the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Plant. Approximately 180 children, including victims of child abuse, live in those four institutions.
We have also conducted an event to invite some of the children to Tokyo to spend a day at KidZania and also mingle with professional athletes.
We have donated items such as air purifiers and masks to remove radiation, refrigerators, and hair dryers -- items necessary for everyday life. Other things include DVD players, computers, educational software for computers, bicycles and three wheelers, which are useful for the children’s education and play time.
"Come visit Tokyo!" project in 2012
reality for many of children at orphanages in Japan is that they do not get to receive higher education at college and their employers are limited. Out of our wish to empower the children, we invited 60 children of four orphanages in the disaster area to Tokyo so that they could learn about a variety of occupations at KidZania, and attain deeper knowledge for their future jobs.
In addition, since these children cannot play in the outdoors for more than 30 minutes a day due to concern for radiation effects, we made time for them to exercise in the park in Tokyo. A professional track and field athlete and sumo wrestlers who hail from Fukushima Prefecture joined the event to interact with the children.
*Yagami Festival at Keio University: Festival directors kindly supported us through putting our stickers on every lottery sold during the school festival. A total of 800 lotteries were sold.
*Kaio Festival at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology: We set up our own temporary vendor to collect donations and sell donated goods provided by our supporter companies.
We have teamed up with five local communities in Tokyo’s Minato Ward and set up a temporary vendor in their summer festivals, selling goods from Tohoku and collect donations.
Shops which support BLUE FOR JAPAN through purchase of our stickers had been eager to help Tohoku in some way before coming to know us. They say "BLUE FOR JAPAN's simple donating system is important and valuable. Donations to orphanages are made in a clear way and are visible to us and donators alike. We wish to continue buying stickers."
Local communities also have expressed their gratitude, by saying "All of us are willing to help, so we want to ask BLUE FOR JAPAN to set up a vendor at our summer festivals every year. We understand this requires a lot of effort from your staff, but we are here to give support in every way possible."
Mari Kogiso is a Deputy Manager at the Sasakawa Foundation where she works with various international and bilateral aid agencies mainly on BOP and Inclusive Business projects, focusing on technical and financial innovations for the poor. Prior to Sasakawa, she held several positions in the World Bank group. She worked on infrastructure development, capital market development, and on project finance. Most recent position she held was representative for Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) for Tokyo. She graduated from the University of Tokyo with the degree in Economics. She also graduated from the Fletcher School, Tufts University.
Dai Ushiyama is a President of Hollywood Beauty Salon Group of Roppongi Hills. He holds B.S. of the School of Marine Science of Technology of Tokai Univ. and B.F.A of the Art Institute of Boston. He has worked at Pentagram Design of NY and many academic groups such as Brooklyn Children's Museum, MoMA, Magnum Photos, Sesame Street, United Nations and more. His specialize fields are visual branding and visual education. He also serves as a founding member of Kopernik, Help from Beauty and other NPOs. He is also a member of International House of Japan.
Hidehiko Goto is a certified accountant/ tax accountant in Japan, having worked at Ernst & Young. He is specialized in audit of financial statements and internal control audit. He now works for himself at his own accounting company, "Goto Accounting Office." He currently engages in accounting and tax affairs. He also serves as a board member for BSM. Co., doing company evaluation and due diligence.
Fumi Koda is a President and web consultant at booplan inc, a Tokyo-based website consulting firm specializing in building effective websites. Her company offer professional website design, development and social media consulting services for companies of all types and sizes. He graduated Parsons The New School for Design in New York. She has also published her book, "TECHO-NANTE-IRANAI," in 2010.
Hayato Suzuki is an Assistant Division Chief at Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. He holds degrees from Tokyo University and Tokyo University Graduate School. He has engaged in policy making for small and medium-sized companies, trade, intellectual property and science and technology, and administrative reform.
Ichiro Hikosaka is a board member and associate director of LaSalle Investment Management. He has served as a vice president for Junior Chamber International Tokyo and a vice chairman of Meguro Ward's Association of PTA society.
Neo Murohashi is a corporate turnaround professional, strategy & operational management consulting professional, focusing on healthcare, Internet and high-tech industries. He is specialized in Operational Strategy, Organization Transformation, and Technology Development Management. He is enthusiastic in social business, and once served as Japan Rep at Kopernik. He received B.E. in Electrical Engineering, M.E. in Computer Science, and Ph.D. in Computational Biology from Keio University, Japan.
Kazuya Matsuda works at a Tokyo branch of Hariu Communications Co, Limited, a printing company based in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. He engages in eco-friendly printing business, such as rice ink. Other than printing business, Hariu is committed to building better relationships with communities, and strives to become a kind of producer that puts together the people through providing social activity, lifelong learning, town development and other various activities.