Writers funnel book royalties to charity NGO

by Sayuri Daimon

Helping those suffering from poverty and disasters is as easy as buying a book, say supporters of a new charity program launched Thursday.

In agreement with their publishers and a nongovernmental organization, writers behind Chabo! (Charity Book Program) are giving away some of their royalties from books registered with the program to JEN, a Tokyo-based NGO that has supported more than 1.3 million refugees and displaced people hit by wars and disasters in 16 countries, including Afghanistan.

All books registered for this program will carry the Chabo! logo, the group said.

“I think we authors and people who can buy books at bookstores are fortunate (compared with sufferers of poverty and disaster). Asking myself what we can do for those people, I thought this kind of program can help them stand on their own feet,” said Kazuyo Katsuma, a former analyst at JPMorgan and author of many best-selling books, including “Okane-wa Ginko-ni Azukeruna” (“Don’t Put Your Money into a Bank Account”).

Katsuma, who came up with the idea for Chabo!, said that although charities have used book royalties before, she has never heard of this kind of collaborative effort involving authors, publishers and an NGO.

The books will cost no more to buy and 20 percent of the royalties will be donated to JEN, the group said.

For the first five years, all donations will go to JEN but the group hopes to send money to other NGOs in the future.

Currently 10 titles by writers Katsuma, Jo Sakai, Hiromi Wada, Kazuyoshi Komiya and Minako Takekawa have been listed, but more will be added in the coming months.