Tohoku kids to help stitch giant baseball glove for Great Buddha in Nara

Kyodo

A giant baseball glove is being stitched together for the Great Buddha of Nara as part of efforts to boost the spirits of children in Tohoku, which was hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The project, initiated by a baseball glove-maker in Nara Prefecture, will involve children in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. They will be asked to sew part of the 3.6-meter-long creation later this year, in a bid to set a Guinness world record for the largest-ever leather glove.

The glove will be dedicated to Todaiji, the temple housing the 15-meter-high statue of the Great Buddha. The statue’s right hand is about 2.6 meters long.

Organizers of the project, including BBA Academy, the glove-maker that has been donating secondhand baseball items to the disaster-hit areas, showed a pattern for the huge glove to the media on the fourth anniversary of the disasters last Wednesday.

The organizers and others will cut and sew leather coming from 16 cattle, according to the pattern. Plans call for about 3,000 children from the three northeastern prefectures to help stitch the glove in August. The glove is expected to be completed in September.

To maintain the shape of the glove, the organizers plan to pack it with plastic bottles containing messages of hope and dreams collected online from up to 1 million people. The glove will be dedicated to Todaiji in December.

Nobuhiro Umehara, head of BBA Academy who has toured the country to teach children how to care for leather gloves, has so far delivered about 1,500 gloves, about 1,000 bats and 1,200 balls to Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

“In addition to helping with goods, I want to deliver courage and hope by making something big that is very much the image of Nara,” the 50-year-old said. “I want to continue supporting the Tohoku (region) by doing what I can.”

The project’s website is g-love311.com.