Tiger Mask Donors Strike Again in 8 More Cities
posted on by Egan Loo
The "Tiger Mask" movement continued on Monday as eight cities reported new donations inspired by the manga/anime character Tiger Mask.
The movement began when a mysterious donor left 10 30,000-yen (about US$360) backpacks at a child guidance center in Gunma Prefecture on Christmas morning. The attached letter was signed "Naoto Date" — the alter ego of Tiger Mask, a manga/anime pro wrestler who fights for children in an orphanage. By Sunday, seven cities from the main island of Honshū to the southern island of Okinawa reported donations. On Monday, eight cities — for a total of 15 — reported the following donations.
Shizuoka, ShizuokaThe Shizuoka Home orphanage in Shizuoka City announced on Monday that it had received six backpacks at around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. A nearby luggage store in the same city had sent them at the request of a donor. The accompanying letter read, "I'm sorry for being late. Naoto Date." According to the store, the sender was a man about 60 years old who first called to see if the store was near the orphanage. He then went to the store at around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday to buy the six backpacks with 233,100 yen (US$2,800) in cash. The white-haired man concealed his face with a scarf, but he did say that he came from Tokyo.
The same orphanage had received 100,000 yen (US$1,200) in cash in the mail on Friday, but the staff speculated that the backpacks may have come from a second donor.
Hanamaki, IwateJust before 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, the Ito-Yokado store in Hanamaki discovered an envelope in its customer suggestion box. Inside was 100,000 yen and a letter that said, "Please use this for children with a future ahead of them. Naoto Date."
Miyakonojō, MiyazakiThat same evening, a plastic bag was left at the entrance of the Ishii Kinen Yūrinen center. Inside was five notebooks decorated with popular anime characters, pencils, and a letter from "Naoto Date" that said, "I'm sorry this is just a small gift, but it's from my heart."
Iwaki, FukushimaAt about 8:30 a.m. on Monday, a 13-year-old first-year middle school boy discovered a paper bag hanging from the front door knob at the Iwaki Ikueisha center. Inside was a 200,000-yen (US$2,400) "children's gift certificate" redeemable for toys. A letter from "Naoto Date" said, "I offer this somewhat belated New Year's gift. Please give everything you've got in studying and sports, and grow up to be wonderful adults."
Yokohama, KanagawaAt about 9:50 a.m. that same day, the Kanagawa Nakazato Gakuen center received a package in the mail from "Naoto Date." Inside were six pencil sharpeners, four sets of 24 colored pencils, and 10 dozen pencils. According to the enclosed letter, the donor empathized deeply with the Tiger Mask movement in the news and added, "I pray for a bright future and good health for the children."
Akō, HyōgoAt about 10:40 a.m., the Akō police received a phone call from "Naoto Date," who said, "I left backpacks at the entrance to your station." When the staff members went outside, they discovered four new backpacks in the nearby parking lot. The two black backpacks and two pink backpacks were in a box with the following writing: "A New Year's gift. Naoto Date." According to the staff member who answered the call, the donor sounded like he was in his 50s or 60s, and he said, "I wanted to bring them to an orphanage, but I didn't know where to find one."
Tottori, TottoriLater at around noon, a staff member at the Tottori Children's School discovered a cardboard box and an envelope in front of the administrative building. Inside the box were notebooks, pencils, pencil boxes, erasers, and other stationary supplies. In the envelope was a letter signed "from Naoto Date." In addition to quoting the lyrics from the Tiger Mask television anime, the letter wished everyone happiness and added, "Please tell the children that they are never alone and that the world has not abandoned them just yet."
Shimonoseki, YamaguchiAt about 5:30 p.m. in the afternoon, a staff member at the Shimnoseki Taihen Gakuen center discovered two backpacks and a DVD of Hayao Miyazaki's Laputa Castle in the Sky film at the school's entrance. (In the film, the two main characters are children who grow up without their parents.) The enclosed letter said in ballpoint-pen writing, "The appearances of Tiger Mask all over Japan moved me. But I am not Tiger Mask. […] Unfortunately, I could not provide more backpacks […] Study hard, make friends, and grow up to be Tiger Mask — a kind of hero I couldn't be." According to the staff, there was nothing at the entrance just one hour earlier. The facility has four boys and girls enrolling in elementary school this year.
Images © Ikki Kajiwara, Naoki Tsuji/Kodansha, Toei Animation
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