Teen returns to Sendai to raise funds for disaster-hit adoptive home of Kumamoto


A high school boy in Kumamoto has launched a one-person charity drive in Sendai, where he was born and experienced the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, to help quake survivors in his adoptive home.

Masaki Sugisawa, 16, a student at Kumamoto Marist Junior & Senior High School, moved to the city of Kumamoto when he entered the school two years ago. But after the major quake hit Kumamoto Prefecture last week and shut down the school, he returned to his family home in Sendai.

On the evening of April 14, Sugisawa, who was in the school dormitory, felt a “temblor similar to the one five years ago,” he said, recalling his experience of the March 11 disasters that wreaked havoc in the Tohoku region.

After the school was closed the next day, Sugisawa was quick to launch his charity drive in his hometown, after learning that his classmates from other parts of the country had also started fundraising campaigns for Kumamoto.

“People in Tohoku received support after the 2011 disasters hit. … I believe there are things that can be achieved even by one person,” Sugisawa said.

Since Tuesday, he has been standing in front of Sendai Station, asking people to donate. He set ¥1 million as the target.

His resolve has struck a chord with his old friends in Sendai, who are now helping Sugisawa’s fundraising drive.

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