Grateful Crane’s Playground Brings Hope to the People of Ishinomaki, Japan

As part of its goodwill tour to Tohoku, Japan in April, the Grateful Crane Ensemble decided it wanted to leave a gift, something tangible that would deliver a message of hope and inspiration from the Nikkei community in America to the people of Tohoku who had suffered and lost so much during the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Prior to the trip, Grateful Crane members had heard that there’s a severe shortage of safe places for children to play, post-tsunami. Children living in temporary housing centers were often found playing in center parking lots, where the danger of getting hit by moving cars was constant.

Because of this, the Los Angeles-based non-profit theater group made it its goal to build a “Playground of Hope” and to do this, they conducted a grassroots fundraising campaign prior to their trip. After contacting friends and relatives, they sent out a donor appeal letter asking for support. And the Japanese American community responded with an outpouring of donations that came in throughout February, March and into April until Grateful Crane had reached and surpassed its goal.

On Sunday, May 25 at the Matsunami Koen (Park) in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, the park they had envisioned became a reality and its gift to the people was delivered at a huge Opening Day Celebration in front of over 400 local children, their parents, grandparents and friends.

For More Info about the Tour to Ishinomaki, Japan, go to "Coming Up".

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