Support Japan 2011 – Gambare Nippon! News Release #1

Support Japan 2011 – Gambare Nippon! News Release #1

Support Japan Logo

Support Japan 2011 – Gambare Nippon


March 17, 2011, Victoria, BC

The four largest Japanese Canadian organizations in Victoria have joined together to raise funds for emergency relief efforts in Japan. At a well-attended meeting on Wednesday evening (March 16, 2011), which began with a minute of silence to reflect on the situation in Japan, the four groups set out a course of action to work together to represent the Japanese community in the fundraising efforts for emergency relief for the victims of last week’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The groups’ respective Boards of Directors had already voted to pool their resources over the next few months to raise funds.

Members in each organization were affected deeply by the events in Japan. Wanting to help, and having been contacted by local media to get the communities’ reactions to the disaster, the groups realized they should collaborate and work synergistically in order to avoid duplication of efforts and to maximize returns. The meeting on Wednesday achieved this – and more.

The organizations involved are the Japanese Friendship Society (JFS), Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society (VNCS), Victoria Morioka Friendship Society (VMFS) and the Victoria Japanese Heritage Language School Society (VHLSS). Each group has a unique mandate – but have worked with one or more of the other groups in the past to achieve a common goal. Representing a broad range of skills and talents, they are confident it will help make this group work efficiently.

Many individuals in the community have been moved to do something for the victims of the disaster in Japan. One such example is Marc Bolli, a local Victorian who is married to Midori from Japan and owns Mega Screen Productions, a print shop in Victoria. They have two children, both who are bilingual and students in the VJHLSS. Even though Midori’s family in Toyama is safe because of the distance from the disaster, they wanted to do more to help. In addition to a personal donation, Marc and Midori’s close friend, Jackie Dogue and the VJHLSS designed a t-shirt and the following slogan that this new umbrella group has embraced as their name and identity.

Support Japan 2011 – 頑張れ日本

Support Japan T-Shirt

The Japanese characters read “Gambare Nippon”, which loosely means “Never give up, Japan!” T-shirts will be on sale at all of their upcoming fundraisers and at several locations around town including Fujiya Foods, Silk Road Aromatherapy and Tea Company and Rocky Mountain Soap Company.

In the next few months, the Support Japan 2011 group will organize various events ranging from craft and bake sales to silent auctions, dinner functions and tea ceremonies to raise funds for the relief effort. The group will also help promote fundraisers by other groups where possible including student fundraisers at the University of Victoria and concerts by local musicians. The goal is to reach as many demographics and income levels as possible and to incorporate cultural aspects for the general public. We hope that Victorians can use the group as a resource to learn more about the country that they are helping rebuild.

In the short term the group will set up trust account at Island Savings Credit Union and will work through the Consul General of Japan in Vancouver, and organizations on the ground in Japan to ensure the most effective use of funds.

The group announced the dates and venues for their first three fund raising initiatives as well as acknowledging several other events from the groups’ individual members.

This coming Saturday, March 19, 2011, Uminari Taiko, a sister organization of the VNCS will hold taiko drum workshops by donation to the Canadian Red Cross.

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, from 11 am to 4 pm, the group will present a Community Event at the Hillside Centre with on-going cultural entertainment and activities, personal stories and paper crane folding symbolizing hope. People are invited to come down to make a donation, fold a crane, write a message and buy a coveted Support Japan 2011 t-shirt.

The group will hold a Dinner Gala at Golden City Restaurant with special Japanese cultural entertainment and a few surprises on Saturday, April 9.

Information for this event and for other upcoming events will be updated regularly on If you are interested in volunteering, donating merchandise and products for raffles and silent auctions, please contact us at

Media contact: Michael Abe
President, Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society
Spokesperson, Support Japan 2011 Gambare Nippon

Cell: (250) 704-6164
Email: or