On the second of April, Shootboxing association has supplied support goods and food provisions to an evacuation center in Miyagi prefecture, one of the stricken areas of the Touhoku region Pacific Ocean earthquake. Thus far, Shootboxing association has conducted several charity activities, with a special focus on child welfare, in accordance with the philosophy of our association’s chairman, Caesar Takeshi. In the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake in 1995, we organized the first ‘S-cup’ in the Osaka prefecture First Gymnasium as a charity event. For several days we raised and donated funds. To date, we have carried out volunteer activities in this way and several other ways.
When we, Shootboxing association, called upon our branch divisions to cooperate with reconstruction assistance of this recent earthquake, we collected so many support goods—such as articles for daily use and nonperishable food—from so many people—from our affiliated gyms in the Kantou, Chuubu and Kansai areas, our ringside judges and other staff, our individual gym members—that we could not bring everything with us in one tour.
On April 1, 12:30 midnight, we assembled at the SB assn. headquarters. With Kenichi Ogata at the head of the list, Hiroki Shishido, Takaaki Umeno, Takeshi Ishikawa and other fighters, our affiliated staff and sponsors, and from the Osaka section: Risshi hall, Oikawa dojo have rushed to us with trucks and cars. Having stacked the support goods in two 2-ton trucks and six wagons, we left at 1:30 to the actual place with a total of 30 persons. From Fukushima prefecture onward, the highway became very bumpy, with a lot of cracks in the road. We arrived at the Miyagi prefecture reconstruction assistance center headquarters, from who we are receiving their cooperation from, at 8:00 in the morning. There we made the arrangements, confirmed our schedule, and promptly went towards Shichigahama, where the evacuation center is located. After we arrived at the Ekiraku elementary school, which is now serving as an evacuation center, we made arrangements with the person in charge, immediately unloaded the cargo, and started preparing the food and arranged the support goods.
Shishido, who was responsible for the cooking, finished Caesar gym’s characteristic seasoned chanko stew before schedule at 13:00. After we called upon everybody from the evacuation center and the stricken neighborhood to come eat, it took about roughly 2 hours to distribute all approximately 500 portions of chanko and over a 1000 riceballs.
In that time, when we handed out underwear such as socks and T-shirts, daily necessities such as toothpaste and wet tissues, medical supplies such as eye drops and cold tablets, and nonperishable food in accordance with necessity, the people in the evacuation center thanked us by saying ‘thank you’, ‘finally having eaten something warm, my heart warms as well’, ‘I am truly happy’. Seeing Shishido, Umeno, Oikawa, Ishikawa and the other fighters, and Ogata and the rest of the staff telling the people ‘Hang in there’ while having red and teary eyes made a strong impression.
A comment from Ogata, who planned this support activity:
“The people that were just living their daily lives, that they have lost everything due to this sudden natural disaster must have been incredibly tough on them. Throughout the world there have been reports that there are enough supplies in the stricken area, and that the area is getting reconstructed, but what I came to understand when I went to the actual place, is that almost nothing is functioning, and the hard reality is that there is not yet a real outlook to recovery. The real situation is that, for example, in a big bypass right next from the inner-city of Sendai remains a mark of the tsunami in a position higher than an adult man, pachinko parlors and restaurants are still closed, here and there you can still see overturned cars just left at their place, and rubble of collapsed houses are scattered everywhere. The coastland towns that have been swallowed by the tsunami retained nothing of their original form, the area looks like a war zone. Because I heard that the victims are exhausted both mentally and physically due to the cold and despair, I wanted them to feel warmth, and therefore we prepared warm food. While they are in a very hard situation, they thanked us again and again for our activity. Although we are very grateful that we could make them a little bit happier, there is still a great deal that needs to be done. Nothing changes with just one activity. The lives of the people in the evacuation center will simply continue from now one, and returning to the lowest level of their former daily lives will take at least 3 years. We will organize a charity event for our second ‘Series’ show on April 23 (Saturday). Although we cannot make any big changes, we will continue to support the people in the stricken area in our own way. Lastly, we could not have done a thing if it was not for the help and cooperation from our affiliated gyms and members. I am deeply grateful to the participants who extended their many hands out to the philosophy of chairman Caesar. Thank you very much.”
Through this support activity article, we wish to let you know about the actual condition, and sincerely hope that this will trigger more people into extending their hands out to reconstructing the stricken area. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.