When: May 5, 2015
Where: Sportsland SUGO in Shibata-gun, Miyagi-prefecture
With you Japan (WyJ) held their second annual "Kids Kart Challenge" event on May 5, as a project to support the earthquake recovery of 3-11. The yearly event aims to spread awareness of WyJ's activities in order to support disaster recovery efforts nationwide by providing an avenue for families to have fun.
The day was a great success, with 83 parents and 71 children in attendance. The event received 142 applications in total, along with many inquiries regarding whether or not it was still accepting entries after the applicant closing date arrived, however, due to space not all applicants were able to participate. WyJ hopes to make room for more children to participate in future events, so that they can experience the fun of karting.
The day started out cloudy, but later cleared up to a nice 23 degrees Celsius, which made for very comfortable weather. Five kids-sized karts in the color of the event's sponsor, Gilco, were prepared for the 50 children selected to participate. The children were then divided into 10 groups, with each group driving a kart at a 30-minute training session prior to the race. The children rode kids' karts with a string attached to the rear end, which adults held to control the kart and ensure the safety of the rider during driving, turning and stopping. Afterwards everyone moved to the international kart course and drove two laps of time trial, following the instructor while he drove in the lead.
Many children seemed nervous in the beginning; however, as the instructor taught them to drive they started warming up and learned the acceleration technique, and were eventually able to confidently drive with a smile. Some children were even able to drive like an experienced adult driver. It is surprising how fast children can learn!
Lunch was provided by Glico and the participants were gifted Glico snacks and an inflatable toy. Many kids seemed to enjoy playing with their toys as soon as they were given.
At the end of the event, each participant was provided with a certificate recording their time trial, and then gathered at the race track to take a group photo. Attendees also enjoyed watching a 4-hour endurance kart race, involving 120 kart drivers competing from 25 teams, that was being held at SUGO that same day.
Unfortunately, Takuma was not able to attend the event due to a race in the U.S., but the children were promised that the success of this event and how hard all of them try to recover from the disaster would be reported to Takuma. One of the participants from the disaster-affected area commented, "Thank you for continuing to show your support by holding an event for us each year, even as the public's concern with disaster stricken areas wane as time passes."
WyJ will start preparing their mini-race event in November and appreciates everyone's continuing support of their ongoing activities.
When: November 29, 2014
Where: Sportsland TAMADA in Hiroshima-prefecture
With you Japan (WyJ), founded in 2011 as a project to support the disaster recovery of 3-11, held a karting event on November 29, following the one held on November 24 in Northeastern Japan. The slogan of the event read: "Put smiles on the children by letting them play hard," and aims to serve the children in Hiroshima who have been affected by the enormous landslides that occurred in August 2014. It was announced to two elementary schools and kindergartens in the area that were hit particularly hard by the disaster, resulting in over 140 participants from the families of the area.
Takuma Sato kicked off the event with an opening ceremony speech, emphasizing the importance of striving to achieve one's goals as well as never giving up. The children from age four to fourth grade experienced the drives, turns, and stops in karting for the first time. They seemed nervous in the beginning, however, as a smiling Sato explained the programs of kart practice with a supporting string, practicing driving on the track, and time trial, they started warming up enough to learn the acceleration technique and eventually were able to drive with a smile. In addition, Sato led the kart groups driving up front, which brought him and the children closer together.
During lunch time, there was a workshop entitled "Dream Workshop" where the children wrote a postcard to their future selves asking questions such as "Are you keeping up with *Kanji practice?" or "Have you learned how to jump a vaulted box?" The plan is for the administration office to keep the postcards, then mail them back after a year. It was impressive to see the children's face light up as they received a gift package of sweets passed by Sato and prepared by WyJ sponsor Glico.*Kanji is a form of Japanese writing style.
The event was held at Sportland TAMADA, a kart circuit in the city of Hiroshima. The landslides forced it to close for two months, but despite the short notice, for Takuma's sake, they were able to pave the dirt road leading to the kart circuit. The dirt road had been shut down in the aftermath of the landslides, but with the cooperation of not only their employees but also the employees from related companies, it was paved and rehabilitated, making it possible to welcome over 200 people for this event.
One of the children commented, "It was my first kart experience, but I had fun." One of the parents said, "It's been so hectic after the disaster that I was hardly able to spend time with my children. Today was the first time in a long time that I got to be with my children under the blue sky, which we didn't get to see for a long time as well."
Lastly, there was a special performance by Sato. The participants cheered and applauded at his mind boggling performance with the racing kart. It was concluded with a meet-and-greet session , where there was a long line of children with smiles on their faces waiting to get his autograph.
Please continue supporting WyJ in its ongoing activities.
When: November 24, 2014
Where: Sportsland SUGO in Shibata-gun, Miyagi-prefecture
With you Japan was started by Takuma Sato in 2011 after the 3-11 earthquake, with the purpose of "supporting affected children who are trying to beat the tragedy." This year's annual event was held at Sportsland SUGO in Miyagi, four years after With you Japan was founded. The event aimed to provide an avenue for families to spend time with one another and have fun at a family kart event.
Arriving in two separate coach buses, approximately 130 participants gathered in Yamamotocho, Watari-gun in the Miyagi prefecture. Elementary and junior high school students and their family members participated in the event. It was the first time that the door was opened for With you Japan supporters to apply to be a part of the event. As a result, this event was joined by approximately 50 selected participants who support the cause.
It was an unusually warm day in late November. Everyone was paying close attention to the kart lesson from Takuma Sato. It was the first time for most of the participants to drive a kart. Following the class, they finally got to see the actual karts. For this event, the With you Japan team prepared three different types of karts: the smallest was the super kids' kart for children under 100cm, the middle size was the kids' kart for children taller than 100cm, and the regular size was for adults. In the beginning, the children rode super kids' karts with a string attached to the rear end that adults held to control the kart to ensure the safety of the rider during driving, turning and stopping. Afterwards everyone moved to the international kart course, to follow Takuma Sato while he drove in the lead.
Lunch was provided by Glico, the event sponsor. The participants ate delicious Glico curry, which served as fuel for the participants to help them regain energy.
After lunch, there was another program entitled "Dream Workshop" where the children wrote a letter to their future selves, specifically a year later, with the purpose of making their goals more realistic. For example, they would ask themselves questions such as: "Are you now able to jump a vaulted horse?" This would help them make a clearly stated goal. Takuma used the practice himself to set and accomplish his goals, thus the workshop was planned with the hope of teaching his practice to others. The letters collected from this activity will be held by With you Japan and mailed to them a year later.
In the afternoon, everyone, including small children ages four to five, seemed to be excited for the kart race trial. It was impressive that not one participant dropped out. Five karts participated per trial. As a result, some trials turned into heated battles, similar to a real race; the kids showed impressive driving performances while everyone cheered them on. In addition, it was a heartwarming sight to see some parents drive as their children shouted and rooted for them.
The final program of the event was the demo drive by Takuma, who drove with outstanding technique and speed like no other. It was eye-popping not only for the children, but the adults as well. The entire venue was excited and in awe.
One of the participants from the disaster affected area commented, "Thank you for continuing to show your support by holding an event for us each year, even as the public's concern with disaster stricken areas wanes as time passes." One of the supporting participants stated, "I felt frustrated to be in a position where I haven't been able to volunteer as much as I wanted to, hence, it was such a great event for me to be a part of. It gave me and my kids an opportunity to meet and mingle with the victims of the earthquake."
With you Japan would like to sincerely thank all the participants and staff, as well as the sponsors. They are planning to continue supporting children that were affected by recent disasters. The group greatly appreciates the continuous help and cooperation of its supporters.
TOKYO June 23, 2014―How much is a helmet worth? In the 'With you Japan' online charity auction, Takuma Sato's 2014 Indianapolis 500 special edition helmet garnered $15,675 when the bidding closed June 9. The helmet, worn by Sato in this year's race, was signed by Sato and his team owner A.J. Foyt.
"I am very glad that I became the successful bidder for the auction of the Indy 500 Special Helmet. I appreciate this helmet is a symbol of Takuma and his team's wishes and challenging spirit. I am proud to own this helmet and will continue to support Takuma who keeps challenging even in difficult situations," said the longtime supporter of Sato who lives in Japan. He asked to remain anonymous.
Also choosing to remain anonymous is the donor who matched the winning bid which brought the total donation to the charity to a whopping $31,350!
"I would like to thank everyone who participated in the charity auction," said Sato. "It is great news that this auction raised a huge amount for "With you Japan". A big congratulations to the successful bidder, and I really appreciate all donors who put in extra contributions. Japan is still struggling from the effects of the tsunami so with your help, we will continue to support children in a way to have some fun activities and encourage their dreams."
The "With you Japan" program was founded by Sato in 2011 after the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated the island country's north eastern coast, killing over 15,000 people and leaving over 300,000 people homeless.
All proceeds raised through the program are provided to 'With You Japan,' a Charity started by Takuma Sato to provide hope and inspiration to the children of the affected area of Japan. 'With You Japan' hopes to provide inspiration to help thousands of these children as they move forward with their lives. Further information regarding 'With You Japan' can be found at withyoujapan.org.
When: Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 12:00 Midnight JST or 11:00am EDT - Monday, June 9 at 11:59:59pm JST or 10:59:59am EDT
INDIANAPOLIS May 31, 2014--For 500 miles Takuma Sato's helmet protected him as he raced at speeds over 220mph in A.J. Foyt's famed No. 14 Indy car in this year's Indianapolis 500. Bearing the pockmarks, grease and dirt of the grueling speed contest, the specially-designed, race-worn helmet will be auctioned off to aid the children affected by the2011 tsunami.
The helmet also bears the gold-leaf autograph of the Japanese driver who hasn't forgotten the most vulnerable victims of the tsunami that struck his homeland over three years ago. All of the proceeds will benefit 'With you Japan' which is the foundation that Sato founded in the aftermath of one of the worse natural disasters to strike his country.
Race fans and serious collectors can bid for the helmet at www.501auctions.com/takumasato, a safe and secure website which will go live Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 12:00 Midnight JST or 11:00am EDT. The bidding will close on Monday, June 9 at 11:59:59pm JST or 10:59:59am EDT. The globally accessible website will allow Sato's fans from across the world to bid on the helmet which is expected to draw serious interest.
Inspired by his love for the Indy 500, Sato commissioned the helmet design to reflect elements from his signature race cap, the historic bricks of theIndianapolis Motor Speedway, his legendary team owner A.J. Foyt's feat of four Indy 500 triumphs, plus the Japanese flag incorporated into a modern and sleek no. 14 graphic. The result is an eye-catching helmet admired by race fans and fellow racers. The auction website also offers a photos of the helmet and a video from immediately following the 2014 Indianapolis 500 of Takuma describing the helmet.
To own this piece of history, bidders must first register at the website by providing their name, email address, telephone number and a valid credit card number. Once fully registered, bidders will be allowed to participate in the auction. The highest bidder at the close of auction on June 9 will be declared the winner.
When: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Where: Sportsland SUGO at Shibata-gun, Miyagi Prefecture
"With you Japan" invited a total of 110 people on a day trip, including elementary kids and their guardians, to join the Cheering Tour at the Formula Nippon Race. Everyone invited was from the Yamamoto-cho Watari-gun area located approximately 40 minutes away from the race circuit in Miyagii Prefecture. (This Cheering Tour is so popular that many fans attended even in the rain last year.)
We were lucky with the weather this year, and they enjoyed watching the race at the circuit for the very first time, and also checked out the special activities and attractions planned for kids at the Enjoy Honda Event which also held during the race weekend.
After the race, Takuma greeted participants on the two buses and sent a message that he would "continue to race in honor of them and their dreams", and received a warm applause.
We would like to take a moment to share our gratitude for all the volunteers who made it possible to organize this year's Cheering Event. They went the extra mile to act as a guide to help everyone understand and be able to enjoy the race even more.
• Round-trip transportation on a long-distance bus
• Race ticket
• TS Fan Cap (for kids), Charity T-shirt and charity goods
• Glico Snack Pack
• Commemorative Photo and Pit Tour
When: Saturday, September 28 - Sunday, September 29, 2013
Where: Sportsland SUGO at Shibata-gun, Miyagi Prefecture
It all began as Takuma Sato commented, "I want to share with the kids, how exciting it is to one day drive a car with an engine" one day. Inspired by his comment, "With you Japan", suported by Ezaki Glico Inc. provided a karting area in the racing circuit at the Super Formula 6th Race Auditorium located at Sportsland SUGO.
"With you Japan" Kids Kart Experience was geared towards kids aged between 6 - 12 years old and who had not ridden a kart before. Their guardians pull a "Kizuna (which means bonding in Japanese) Rope" tied towards the back of the kart in order to ensure the safety of kids. The special karts was painted with the "With you Japan" logo and Glico colors, and they instantly grabbed the kid's attention and quickly became a popular attraction. The kids were especially excited when Takuma joined in on the fun and gave them tips.
Some kids weren't able to join due to the height restriction (100 cm - 135 cm) established for safety reasons. However, they weren't forgotten and were happy to take pictures on an extra kart prepared just for them to see up close.
A total of 210 people (105 pairs) participated in this event over two days.
When: Friday, September 27, 2013
Where: Yamashita Daiichi Elementary School in Yamamoto-cho Watari-gun, Miyagi Prefecture
"With you Japan" and Ezaki Glico Inc. partnered together to provide a Special Class entitled, "How to Make Your Dreams Come True ~ No Attack, No Chance~" at the Yamashita Daiichi Elementary School gymnasium. Takuma first went to the 6th grade classroom to enjoy school lunch with them and answer the many questions from the student. Then he went to the gymnasium to hold a class as a Special Teacher for the 83 students attending that school.
Takuma first encouraged students on how to achieve their dreams by sharing his personal story. He then focused on "What it's like to be a Race Driver", "How he became an International Driver", and shared his experience by showing an IndyCar race film clip where students excitedly cheered.
An art workshop based on the theme, "Dream", was held during the second half of the Special Class. Students expressed their dreams to become a Florist, Baseball Player, Weatherman, Swimming Instructor, join the Self Defense Force, and much more, as they painted tote-bags. All these dreams may have been inspired as they continue on their brave path to move forward in their lives after the devastation.
All these tote-bags were exhibited at the Sportsland SUGO the very next day.
The event ended as the students ran to the outdoor field after Takuma announced, "Please gather at the field because we have brought presents for you today". Here there was a bright red Glico car filled with snacks that were provided by Ezaki Glico.
When: Friday, September 27, 2013
Where: Yamamoto-cho Watari-gun, Miyagi Prefecture
Takuma Sato and an Elementary School Principal visited the devastated area where Nakahama Elementary School existed prior to being impacted by the Tsunami. Nakahama Elementary School is remembered for the miracle of having all students saved as one teacher made a swift decision and instructed all students to evacuate to the rooftop storage when the Tsunami struck. The school building left showing vicious marks is left to remember the tsunami.
Takuma walked along the sea shore located right behind the school property and also visited the north side where the "Millennium Pagoda" was built in memory of the devastation and as a symbol of hope for restoration.
The staff who visited this area shared a mutual feeling that there is a long road ahead for full recovery as even after 2.5 years since the disaster, several tetrapod's that sank to the bottom of the fishing harbor still prohibit people to go fishing.
When: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - Sunday, May 12, 2013
Where: "Minnano Charity" at Yahoo Auction
Takuma Sato made history as he became the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third race of the season, on April 21, 2013. Now, he has decided to autograph and auction the "With you Japan" charity helmet he wore during the INDY 500 last year where his bold and fierce race grabbed media attention and increased his popularity in the United States.
T-shirts that were specially designed, based on the "With you Japan" helmet design, will also be auctioned off along with his autographed charity helmet.
* "Minnano Charity" is a Yahoo auction page where anyone can donate their personal possession as an auction item to help raise proceeds to support relief efforts for the March 11, 2011 earthquake in Japan. 10% of the proceeds or the entire proceeds raised from the auction will be donated.
Takuma Sato 2012 Indy500 Charity Helmet
Takuma Sato 2012 Indy500 Charity T-shirt
Message from TS Enterprise
Thank you for your continued support for Takuma Sato.
At this time, we would like to thank everyone who participated in the "With you Japan" Charity Auction event on the "Minnano Charity" Yahoo Auction page.
Together, the auction generated JPY 1,753,000.
*The "With you Japan" program will donate the below proceeds that excludes the auction fee.
- JPY 184,065 donated to the "Ganbarou Nippon" through "Minnano Charity"
- JPY 1,476,903 donated to "With you Japan"
* Auction Fee
Yahoo Auction system Usage Fee: JPY 92,032 (includes tax)
All proceeds raised will be used to help children who were impacted by the devastating earthquakes and tsunamis that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.
Thank you again for your support and generosity.
1 million Japanese Yen was donated to "Hatachi Kikin" by "With you Japan"
When: March 27, 2013
On March 27, "With you Japan" donated 1 million Japanese Yen to the financial relief fund, "Hatachi Kikin", that provides children, who were impacted by the devastating earthquake, on-going emotional support as well as opportunities for them to receive education that will help them become independent. The mission is to provide critical care to babies until they become 20 years old, the legal adult age in Japan. ("Hatachi" means "20 years old" which is the legal adult age in Japan)
"Hatachi Kikin" provides various activities based on the current status of the local recovery and relief efforts made in order for the children, affected by the disaster, to become responsible 20 year old adults that can contribute to society. The six activities currently offered includes offering Houkago School and Collaboration School for children who lost a place to study as the result of the tsunami sweeping away their homes and learning centers; providing an indoor park such as the Fukushima Indoor Park so children can be protected from the radiation outside while they play around; and much more.
● Message from "Hatachi Kikin" Administrative Office
"It's been 2 years since the earthquake struck. While many adults are dealing with stress triggered by the uncertainty of the relief and recovery progress, there are also many children who are becoming psychologically unstable. Ironically, as the recovery efforts progress, we are observing a gap developing between children who suffer "emotional swings" due to the environmental changes and children who are positively optimistic and moving towards their future. I heard it took 5 years to reduce the percentage of school children who needed special consideration and attention for their emotional well-being after the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. It is a "long term battle" to provide emotional care for children. Just like Takuma Sato, we hope that more people will think about what they can do to help survivors and that the number of people who support these children long-term will increase even by one person as it is important to do something for these children together."
● Message from Takuma Sato
"I realize how we take our daily lives for granted when we are actually truly blessed and fortunate. There are still over 300,000 people who are living away from home, problems with pollution generated by radioactive materials and delayed infrastructure recovery... There is always a part of me that is wondering if there is anything else that can be done for all the survivors who are bravely moving forward in their lives while they are still grieving tremendous loss. This time, I heard about "Hatachi Kikin" and the activities they provide for children in the disaster area from a "With you Japan" program volunteer. I agreed with the program mission and decided to donate a portion of the proceeds raised through "With you Japan" activities. We (With you Japan) plan on organizing activities to cheer the children in the disaster area this year so would like to ask for your continued support."
This financial relief fund was established by Nippon Foundation in order to collect donations for 20 consecutive years, since the March 11, 2011 earthquakes and tsunamis, to continuously provide emotional care, education and job opportunities for children who were deeply impacted by the devastation until they become a responsible 20 years old that contributes to society. Four organizations including NPO Katariba, ChanceforChildren, ToyBox and Florence utilize each of their specialties to perform activities that are needed for children from 0 years old to 20 years old. "Hatachi" for the "Hatachi Kikin" has several definitions including "20 years old" "20 years" and "leaves" in Japanese. The special message and meaning behind this program name is that it compares a tree's growth to a growth of a child. In order for children (tree trunk) to grow, it is important that they receive necessary care (leaves that converts solar energy into nutrients).
When: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Where: Sportsland SUGO in Shibata-gun, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Takuma Sato raced in Formula Nippon Round 6, which was held in Miyagi Prefecture in Japan, one of the many areas that were devastated by Japan's March 2011 earthquakes and tsunamis. Sato invited 39 children and their guardians, still living in temporary housing in Watari-gun Yamamoto-cho area, to watch Round 6 of Japan's top racing series. This was done through the "With you Japan" program. The mission was to cheer the families who continue to survive their unfortunate circumstances.
Families participating in this charity tour received snacks donated by Glico, a TS sponsor. TS original merchandise including fan caps and cheering flags, and a variety of "With you Japan" items were also given. Although it rained during the day, it didn't stop everyone from having a great time as they took photos with Sato in the pit, enjoyed the "Enjoy Honda" event, and spent more time with Sato as he approached their bus to bid them farewell after his race.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who donated their time and effort to help organize a very successful event. They even played the role of tour guides to help participants understand and enjoy watching their very first Formula Nippon race.
Round trip with coach tour
Commemorative Gifts including TS Fan Cap (for children) and Cheering Flag; and "With you Japan" items.
Package of snacks donated by Glico
Pit Tour and Photo Opportunity
When： Thursday, May 24, 2012
Where： Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Takuma participated in the 31st annual CARA Charities Fashion Show & Luncheon again this year with Japanese children residing in Indianapolis. This annual event is hosted by CARA Charities, known for engaging in community projects that benefit children's safety and well-being and is organized during the Indy500. This year, Takuma and the children asked for continued support for the "With you Japan" program by walking down the catwalk wearing the Charity Helmet Takuma wore at the Indy500 and specially designed Charity T-Shirts created based on the helmet design concept.
The Charity Helmet was designed by Mrs. Ritsuko Matsumoto and Miss Maiko Matsumoto and will be auctioned later this year to raise funding for the "With you Japan" charity activities in Japan.
~"With you Japan" Charity Design Contest~
Winner's Design to be Painted on Takuma Sato's Indy 500 Helmet!
Takuma Sato is asking everyone to get in touch with their creative side and help him design a new eye-catching original helmet he can be seen racing at the world-famous and very exciting Indy 500 this season!
This theme-less freestyle design contest, being organized as part of the "With you Japan" program, is welcoming all types of original artwork. It is all all about expressing your passion, dreams and inspiration! You can also send an encouraging message to Japan's earthquake and tsunami survivors through original artwork.
Takuma shared his excitement for this contest commenting, "I hope everyone has fun letting their imaginations run free while designing my helmet! Everything from simple to bold dynamic designs are welcomed! I am really looking forward to seeing many entries."
The Winner for Best Design will enjoy watching Takuma racing at the Indy 500 wearing his helmet painted with their design and also help raise proceeds for the "With you Japan" program as the helmet will be auctioned off at the end of this year.
In addition, the Winner for Best Design will receive a photo frame along with a commemorative picture, of Takuma wearing his helmet, with a personal message and autograph made by Takuma, to remember their win.
"With you Japan" Charity Design Contest
Thank you very much for sending us interesting designs and ideas.
The winning design has been announced on the following websites:
With you Japan Announcement: http://www.withyoujapan.org/en/news/20120427171.html
Official Takuma Sato Site: www.TakumaSato.com
Thank you very much.
When: Sunday, February 26, 2012
Where: Higashi Nihon Fukkou Ouen Plaza in Ginza
On the day the Tokyo Marathon was held, the Exhibition of "Come and Play with Takuma in Kesen-numa" was held at Higashi Nihon Fukkou Ouen Plaza in Ginza.
The Exhibition displayed art projects created by students in elementary and middle schools overseas that Takuma had visited in 2011. Also shown were decorated backpacks created by American children participating in Children Mending Hearts' Art Exchange Program in Los Angeles along with "Thank You Tote Bags" Kesen-numa children created to thank them for their encouraging messages.
There were many exhibition visitors, including people who travelled a long distance and also Tokyo Marathon spectators. There were also people from Kesen-numa area who stopped by and sincerely expressed their appreciation for the all work and effort.
Yasuaki Yoshikawa, a Rhönrad performer who participated and helped at the Kesen-numa event, also made time in his busy schedule to stop by. He shared his personal experience from the event to the exhibition attendees commenting, "I came because I wanted to see everyone's artworks. When we were decorating a tote bag, the child sitting next to me kept drawing a picture of what happened to the disaster-struck town. When I asked 'What is happening now?' the child turned his bag to the other side and replied, 'Our sea is becoming peaceful and blue again'.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by the exhibition and to everyone who helped at this event.
Date: 12 February 2012
Place: Kesen-numa Elementary School, Miyagi
"With you Japan" organized the "Come and Play with Takuma in Kesen-numa!" event at the Kesen-numa Elementary School gymnasium on February 12.
The mission of the event was to comfort and encourage children from Kesen-numa and Minami Kesen-numa Elementary School (located in devastated areas) by planning a fun day where they had the opportunity to interact with top Japanese athletes competing internationally.
A total of eight athletes including a professional MTB riders who competed in the International Bike Trial, Daisuke Morikami, three athletes involved in a gym wheel exercise known as Rhönrad that uses two iron hoops, Nozomi Yoshida, Yasuaki Yoshikawa and Hideaki Yamashiro, "Slackline" performers Yoshinobu Azuma and Kohei Yashiro, a professional soccer player who was on the Japanese national team and now playing for the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Takuya Yamada, and Takuma Sato, participated in the event. The popular Japanese magician from Kesen-numa, Maggy Shinji, also took a special trip to join the event.
The doors to the gymnasium, where the event was held, opened a little after noon, and backpacks filled with 12 different color markers, Glico snacks, Descente calendar and obento-lunch boxes were handed out to those who completed event registration. Many enjoyed their obento-lunch boxes while they waited for the event to start at 1PM.
Ms. Kaori Kawasaki, who has become a familiar face as the MC at the annual Takuma Club Meetings, was the first to appear on stage and immediately invited Takuma to join her. Takuma kicked off the event as he commented, "I came to Kesen-numa so I can spend time and play with all of you today. Let's have a great time in the few hours we have together!"
Popular Japanese magician, Maggy Shinji, was the first to perform his magic show. The audience's face lit up as they had the rare opportunity to watch his famous tricks in person. His magic show was followed by several athletes demonstrating their professional skills. First up was Azuma who demonstrated Slackline. Everyone applauded as they watched him jump and balance on a narrow 5cm-wide rope. Then professional MTB rider, Morikami, wowed the crowd as he landed on a 3 meter high platform riding his mountain bike. Yoshida followed Morikami's demonstration as she gracefully performed Rhönrad.
After the athletes finished their demonstration, the excited children tried the newly introduced sports. Children rode a small belt-less bike called "Kick Bike" in the MTB section and also tried Slackline and Rhönrad in their respective sections following instructions. Many were also seen having fun playing soccer with Mr. Yamada. Many children were energetic and enjoyed trying new sports using their entire body.
The Art Exchange Workshop held afterwards gave children the opportunity to draw on plain backpacks with their markers. This Art Exchange Workshop was held in collaboration with "Children Mending Hearts", an American nonprofit organization, with a program mission to exchange artwork, created in different countries, to encourage children oceans apart that they are not alone. The decorated backpacks handed out to children at this event were provided through this Art Exchange Program and all the backpacks decorated by the children in Kesen-numa will be sent to children in the U.S. to strengthen connection between the children.
The coldest winter day happened to fall on the event day. "Team Oneness" from Tokyo and those living in temporary housing in Kesen-numa park graciously prepared and handed out warm "Oshiruko", a sweet porridge of azuki beans served with rice cake, to keep the children warm between activities.
To end the event on an exciting note, a tug-of-war tournament was held dividing everyone in 4 groups, filling the gymnasium with loud cheering. This was followed by a group photo session with all event participants. Children proudly held their decorated backpacks up high in this photo.
The 3-hour successful event ended with over 150 event participants, including guardians and local people who observed the event, leaving with big smiles on their faces.
A guardian who participated in the event stated, "Kesen-numa is closely surrounded by the ocean and mountains, leaving little flat land. We live in temporary housing built after the disaster struck leaving the children even smaller space to play than before. In the midst of this situation, I am very grateful that this event was organized. It looks like the children enjoyed playing with every bit of energy they had in their body."
Yoshida, the Rhönrad performer, commented, "I was in Chicago when the disaster struck so felt really irritated that I couldn't help. I was finally able to visit this disaster-struck area this time and was relieved to see the children's face lit up more than I expected. Their eyes were twinkling with excitement and that gave us newfound encouragement."
The entire staff sincerely looks forward to organizing and spending another fun-filled day with everyone living in these devastated areas.
When: Sunday, October 16, 2011
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
The "With you Japan" program organized a special fund-raising booth at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, right in front of the main entrance in the Midway area, at the highly anticipated IZOD IndyCar World Championship. Circle K Club members, an international collegiate service organization that is a sponsored leadership program of Kiwanis International, at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and other Japanese living in the area, volunteered their day to help raise awareness and proceeds.
Many race spectators and program supporters purchased "With you Japan" merchandise including the attractive and comfortable T-shirts, cute teddy bears, wristbands, pins and Takuma Sato's special limited edition 1:18 scale die-cast replica.
They also stopped by to look at Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay's autographed racing gloves that were displayed to promote the online charity auction that was being held at Charitybuzz.com.
When: Friday, October 14, 2011
Where: Long Beach City College
Long Beach City College's International Student Club wanted to continue efforts in raising money to help Japan by supporting Takuma Sato's 'With You Japan' charity. The club sold "With You Japan": t-shirts, wrist bands and pins. Club members also organized an auction of items donated by students and professors including Ms. Debbie Whittaker. Over $200 was raised during this event.
When: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Takuma visited Tanaka Elementary School to teach approximately 300 third, fourth and fifth grade students about the earthquakes and tsunami that struck Japan in March. He was joined by Honorary Consul General of Japan for Nevada, Ms. Kathleen Blakely, and the Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco, Mr. Michio Harada.
The hour-long presentation covered a slideshow of disaster-struck areas of Japan and photos from recent "With you Japan" events organized for children affected by the tragedy. A Q&A session was held at the very end and many enthusiastic students asked Takuma a wide range of questions.
Approximately 300 pieces of artwork created by Tanaka Elementary School students will be delivered right into the hands of children in Japan to help comfort them during a difficult time.
The event was a success as students learned the value of compassion and the power that they had to help encourage others in Japan through their special artwork.
When: Friday, September 16, 2011 - Sunday, September 18, 2011
Where: Twin Ring Motegi
A "With you Japan" exhibit was organized at "IndyJapan The Final", the last IZOD IndyCar Series race in Japan. More than five thousand visitors visited this exhibit during this race weekend.
At this event, there was a presentation of the "With you Japan" concept, introducing Takuma's program activities throughout the U.S. Visitors also had an opportunity to view the wall full of messages of support, received by children in the country.
One of this year's activities was "KIBOU-NO-YAMA (translates to: Mountain of Hope in Japanese)" which was organized back in May, in collaboration with the Children Mending Hearts event, "Global Arts Exchange Program" in Los Angeles. At this event in L.A., the local children made backpacks with original messages, which were brought to the exhibit for display, allowing many visitors to read those supporting messages in person.
Many visitors also participated in an origami crane bird project, "KANSHA-NO-ORIZURU (translates to: Origami Birds of Gratitude)" to express their messages of gratitude to those who've been supporting Japan from all over the world. About 2500 origami crane birds were made by these participating visitors throughout this race weekend.
There were several charity items sold at this event, including With you Japan Charity Bears and Wrist Bands. A total of 557,000 yen was generated from these sales, and its entire profit of 323,738 yen will be donated to help provide the critical funding required for the "With you Japan" project. New charity items are also available for purchase on Takuma Sato official online shop takumapitshop.com.
Takuma commented "Having the With you Japan booth at IndyJapan was a significant accomplishment and an incredible opportunity for us to share all the messages we received from children all over the world to those children affected by the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. "Children help other children" is one of the concepts our project stands on, and we intend to continue to work hard to help support these children in the affected areas. "
When: Saturday, September 17, 2011 - Monday, September 19, 2011
Where: Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
To many race fans, IndyJapan has been an exciting battle stage with many top drivers from all over the world racing at incredibly high speeds of over 300 km/h.
This year, Twin Ring Motegi hosted "IndyJapan The Final", the last IZOD IndyCar Series race in Japan. Takuma wished to share this special moment with children in affected areas of the tsunami disaster, and invited 21 children and their parents from Natori city through the "With you Japan" program to a special premium race tour for this event.
This was a 2 Night - 3 Day package tour, which allowed guests from the remote location to enjoy numerous events including qualifying, the race, and a special after-race event.
For many of these guests, this was their first International racing experience, and they were able to enjoy the exciting race as well as various other fun activities including visiting Taku's KV Racing team garage and Takuma's talk show, sponsored by Glico. All the tour participants also enjoyed the after-race event with Takuma guiding them around the race track on a bus. At the end of this tour, Takuma gave backpacks that were made by children in the Los Angeles area at the "Global Arts Exchange Program" organized through Children Mending Hearts. Each of these backpacks were filled with candies, and Takuma personally handed these backpacks to each child on this special race tour.
"These children hadn't had any outing since the earthquake disaster. I think this was not only a fun vacation for them, but they also learned that children can help and empower each other to face challenges regardless the difference in their nationalities." said one of the participating parents.
Takuma commented, "My teammates and I always try our hardest to push the limits even in difficult situations. I hope, through this race we were able to convey our support and encouragement to all these children and their parents.
It made me really happy to hear they had a great time at this event. I know the hardship still continues in their everyday lives, but I hope this fun memory will help to lift their spirits to stay strong and keep challenging together for better future.
■The tour included:
Round-trip to the event site by long distance coach bus, accommodation for 2 nights with 4 meals, lunches 3 times), race tickets, cheer package, KV Racing Special Garage Tour, Race Circuit Bus Tour with guide by Takuma,
■Guests: Elementary, middle, and high school students residing in Natori city, Japan and their parents
When: Monday, July 18, 2011 (Holiday)
Where: Twin Ring Motegi
In collaboration with Mobilityland, "With you Japan" organized the "Come and Play with Takuma Sato!" charity event on Monday, July 18, 2011 at Twin Ring Motegi Japan, inviting children and families from the disaster strike area.
The aim of this event was to give children an enjoyable day out in Mobi Park, which is the amusement park attached to
Twin Ring Motegi where the Indy Japan The Final will be held on 18 September 2011.
Even four months after the disastrous earthquakes and tsunami struck Japan, there are still many children who have very limited access to outdoor playgrounds because their schools have not yet been fully renovated and there are still some areas affected by the nuclear power station accidents. After consulting with the Japanese Senior Vice-Minister of Education and local advisors on his previous visit to Japan, Takuma was told that providing an outside event would be very beneficial to the children.
'With you Japan' therefore invited elementary school students and their family/guardians from Minami-Soma Shi, Fukushima - the area most effected by the nuclear power station accidents caused by the disaster.
In addition, free admission to the playground and parking was provided to visitors from all the disaster-struck areas.
129 children and their guardians attended the event and upon their arrival, Takuma welcomed them by handing them a special backpack with confectionery, a one-day free pass and a lunch voucher.
These backpacks were specially painted and decorated for the Japanese children by American children who participated in Children Mending Heart's "Global Arts Exchange Program" held this May in Los Angeles, California. They were sent from the USA as a symbol of friendship across the sea.
Generous support was also given from other top Japanese drivers participating in another charity project called "Save Japan". These drivers included Juichi Wakisaka, Yuji Ide, Daisuke Ito, Hideki Mutoh, Kazuki Nakajima, Koudai Tsukakoshi and Naoki Yamamoto. Mobilityland organized a full day's event programme with lots of activities where children could play with these drivers. The drivers helped Takuma host a successful charity event by supporting the great cause for the day.
There was also a charity auction and exhibition Kart race and a McLaren Honda MP4/6 Formula One racing car so that all the children and motor sports fans could enjoy witnessing top drivers perform.
There were a total of 2,500 visitors including motor sports fans who came and supported this charity event.
Takuma thanked the audience and supporters; "Today was a wonderful day as we saw many children with a big smile. Thank you to all the drivers and everyone at Twin Ring Motegi who helped make this a successful event. I hope that everyone had a fun day and that we have helped children strengthen their hope in a difficult situation as they still continue to rebuild their lives. Let's work together in order to move forward"
'Save Japan!' is a charity project established by Junich Wakisaka and many Japanese drivers, motor sports fans and related people have participated in it.
OUTLINE OF CHARITY INVITATION
1) Comprehensive invitation for elementary school students and their guardians residing in Minamisoma-Shi Fukushima Prefectures..
(Complimentary roundtrip transportation on a coach, complimentary admission, lunch voucher, dinner (bento box), MobiPark Free Pass "MobiPass10")
2) Complimentary admission and parking for children and families from the disaster struck area (Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Gunma and Chiba Prefectures)
Special thanks to
- Mobilityland Corp.
- Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd
- Tabi Capital Corp.
- Sports Biz Co., Ltd
- Save Japan
When: Friday, July 8, 2011 - Sunday, July 10, 2011.
Where: Wampum, Pennsylvania
Overview: Shinya Michimi, a Japanese Merlin driver, organized his second 'With you Japan' fundraiser at the BeaveRun Motorsports Complex in Wampum, Pennsylvania with the support of The World Karting Association. Significant donations were made to 'With you Japan' under the names of the winners of the Yamaha Junior Heavy class, Parilla Leopard TAG class and Yamaha Sportsman Heavy class. Shinya and fellow drivers also showed their support on the tracks as they raced in karts covered in 'With you Japan' decals.
When: Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Takuma visited Mr. Kan Suzuki, the Japanese Senior Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, focused on providing aid to children affected by and living in disaster-struck areas, during his short trip to Japan. He received crucial information regarding reconstruction efforts as well as valuable advice and direction regarding charity efforts. Takuma also met the Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Chiaki Takahashi, and explained the charity work taking place in the United States. Moving forward, Mr. Takahashi agreed to support 'With you Japan' charity efforts made overseas. 'With you Japan' will determine detailed program direction based on the information and advice Takuma received during his trip.
When: Saturday, May 28, 2011 - Sunday, May 29, 2011
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
The 100th Anniversary of the world-famous Indianapolis 500 was considered one of the very best ever !
Takuma Sato qualified in 10th position, but then slid into the wall at over 200 mph on his 21st lap, erasing his chance of victory. A total of 33 drivers raced and Dan Wheldon won his second Indy 500 in a wild finish.
'With you Japan' set-up a special booth in the main courtyard near the Pagoda, for both Saturday and Sunday over two weekends. Members of the Japan-America Society of Indiana and students from Purdue University and Indiana University volunteered their weekends to help raise proceeds for the program. Together, they helped raise thousands of dollars by selling 'With you Japan' T-shirts and collecting donations. To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Indy 500, 'With you Japan' also created and offered special collectors' pins. Many IndyCar fans showed their support by wearing these pins and T-shirts throughout the weekend.
When: Friday, May 27, 2011
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Six local Indianapolis children accompanied Takuma down the catwalk at the 29th Annual CARA Charities Fashion & Luncheon hosted by CARA Charities, known for engaging in community projects that benefit children's safety and well-being. They walked down the stage wearing 'With you Japan' T-shirts as the announcers read out details of the charity efforts and introduced the newly released 'With you Japan' website.
Thank you Japan-America Society of Indiana for making this possible by bringing children to accompany Takuma on stage!
When: Saturday, May 21, 2011 - Sunday, May 22, 2011
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
The Pre-Race qualification weekend at the 100th Anniversary for the famous Indy 500 was once again a tense and dramatic event. A total of 40 cars competed at great speeds, ranging from 227 mph to 223 mph, to qualify for the coveted 33 spots. Takuma raced in his #5 KV Racing Technology-Lotus car and qualified in an excellent 10th position on Saturday.
'With you Japan' organized a special booth to help raise awareness and funds by selling comfortable and attractive 'With you Japan' T-shirts. Takuma visited the booth, located in the main courtyard by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to meet his race fans and program supporters each day and to thank local volunteers, from Purdue University and the Japan-America Society of Indiana who helped raise thousands of dollars from 'With you Japan' T-shirt sales and donations.
When: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana
Takuma Sato visited Towne Meadow Elementary School located in Indianapolis. He shared his first-hand experience of his visit to the disaster-struck areas near Sendai and explained the importance of providing long term support to children affected by the disaster in Japan. A total of 137 students assembled themselves at ground level to recreate the Japanese flag, when photographed from above, to show their support for children of their own ages in Japan.
When: Friday, May 13, 2011
Where: Hampstead, New Hampshire
Hampstead Middle School's Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society in Hampstead, New Hampshire held a school dance to benefit Takuma Sato's "With You Japan" campaign. The dance, which raised just over $700, was well attended by sixth, seventh and eighth grade students looking to give back to those in Japan who have lost everything due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Hampstead Middle School's National Junior Honor Society students will also be selling raffle tickets to add to the total already raised. The goal is to raise at least $1,000 for "With You Japan."
When: Saturday, May 7, 2011
Where: South Los Angeles, CA
On May 7, 2011, on behalf of "With you Japan", Takuma Sato attended a global arts exchange program, organized by the Children Mending Hearts charity. Over 600 in-need children from the Los Angeles area came together and were encouraged to have fun finding their voice by engaging in variety of arts and crafts activities throughout the day. Many popular celebrities attended to meet the kids and inspire their creative expression, such as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Bill Gates Sr.(father of the founder of Microsoft), Corbin Bleu, (from High School Musical movies), actress Frances Fisher (from movie Titanic) and plus other movie, television and sports stars!
Takuma had the opportunity to meet many of the children and personally thank them for their artistic creations which will be sent to support the in-need children of Japan who lost virtually everything in the devastating earthquakes and tsunami that struck Japan in March.
When: Thursday, May 5, 2011
Where: Ishinomaki and Minami-Sanrikucho, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Takuma returned to Japan immediately after competing in the fourth IndyCar race in Brazil. He took a red-eye flight, the day he landed in Japan, to head to disaster-struck areas. Takuma spent an entire day visiting and encouraging victims at Ishinomaki and Minami-Sanrikucho in Miyagi Prefecture. He was also able to communicate directly with local aid workers engaging in reconstruction efforts, to seek valuable insight on how to better assist in the future.
When: Friday, April 29, 2011 - Sunday, May 1, 2011.
Where: South Bend, Indiana
Shinya Michimi, a Japanese Merlin driver, organized a 'With you Japan' fundraiser with the support of The World Karting Association, where significant donations were made to 'With you Japan' under the names of the winners of the Yamaha Sportsman Lite class, the Yamaha Junior Lite class and TAG 2 (senior class) races. Shinya and fellow drivers also showed their support on the tracks as they raced in karts covered in 'With you Japan' decals.
When: Friday, April 29, 2011
Where: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Takuma visited students at Centro Educacional Unified in Jacana, a local community school, located near Sao Paulo. Takuma spoke about the earthquakes and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, and received a videotaped message of support from concerned students to give to Japanese children affected by the natural disaster.
"With you Japan" Press Conference
When: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Where: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Takuma, together with Terry Angstadt, president of INDYCAR's commercial division, held a press conference to raise further awareness of "With you Japan" that was launched in St. Petersburg on March 27, 2011. Several of Takuma's loyal fans flew in from Japan and presented him with a banner thanking him for starting the "With you Japan" program.
When: Friday, April 15- Sunday, April 17, 2011
Where: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
A "With you Japan" booth was set-up and several college students volunteered their weekend to help raise funds through the sales of "With you Japan" t-shirts available in pink and blue for kids; and in white and black for adults. Takuma stopped by all three days to meet and thank fans who supported both his race and his charity by purchasing a t-shirt or by making donations.
When: Sunday, March 27, 2011
Where: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Takuma officially introduced the "With you Japan" fund-raising program to the media. Fellow IndyCar drivers showed their support as they gathered together to donate their autographed gloves, sign the "With you Japan" banner, and take a very rare group photo to show a united front.