July 15, 2015
We are thankful for the many elementary school students who have participated so far in the "Takuma Kids Kart Challenge 2015," which started on May 31, 2015.
As of July 14, 2015, the top race lap rankings for participants are as follows:
1. Riku Igusa (4th grade) holds the top time with 0:35.695, which was achieved on his second challenge.
2. Jun Hashima (6th grade) is in 2nd place with a record time of 0:36.140.
3. Seiya Hamabe (3rd grade) has the 3rd place title with a time of 0:36.332.
The mini-race event with Takuma Sato is scheduled on Sunday, October 18, 2015 and the top 50 participants in the overall ranking will be invited to the event. At this time, the record for 50th place is 0:58.946. For those who have already participated in the Kart Challenge, please crosscheck your recorded times with the others to see where you rank.
The "Takuma Kids Kart Challenge 2015" will be held every day through the end of September (excluding when private events are held by others). During the event, you may try the challenge as many times as you would like.
We look forward to your active participation in the challenge!
May 5, 2015
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.
November 29, 2014
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.
November 24, 2014
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.
June 23, 2014
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.
May 7, 2013
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.
April 27, 2012
Thank you to everyone who submitted their creative designs for the Indy 500 Charity Helmet Contest.
We are very excited to announce the winner, Mrs Ritsuko Matsumoto and Miss Maiko Matsumoto, a mother and daughter. They worked together to design this eye-catching and creative design, which was selected from more than 60 applicants.
September 21, 2011
'With you Japan' would like to thank everyone involved at TAKU-STYLE, Takuma Sato's fan site, for organizing their own fund-raising event by creating and selling their original 'With you Japan' charity T-shirts and raising JPY 465,764. We are very grateful and appreciative for their amazing support and will carefully use the proceeds raised to help affected children.
May 18, 2011
Indianapolis School reaches out to Japan through "With you Japan" Program. IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Takuma Sato Collaborates with local students.
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA (May 18, 2011) - In the run up to the Indy 500, Japanese racer Takuma Sato is collaborating with local students in a project to support the With you Japan charity program.
April 15, 2011
International "With you Japan" Program Introduced to Help Support Children Affected by Tragedy in Japan. International Indy Race League Driver Takuma Sato Collaborates with Children Mending Hearts Organization
Long Beach, California, USA (April 15, 2011) -In response to the devastating
earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, and the ongoing dreadful
aftermath that continues to unfold in Japan, IZOD IndyCar driver, Takuma Sato, and the
Children Mending Hearts organization are collaborating to launch an international fundraising
program entitled, "With you Japan".