Tiger Mask Donors Return on 1-Year Anniversary

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Anonymous donors give toys, backpacks, food, cash to orphanages across Japan

The "Tiger Mask movement" that spread to almost every corner of Japan returned on its one-year anniversary with donations of toys, backpacks, food, and cash to orphanages and child welfare centers across Japan.

At a child guidance center in Maebashi City in Gunma Prefecture on December 22, a man in his 30s drove up to the center and dropped off 10 backpacks, then he left without giving his name. That center in Maebashi City was where the Tiger Mask movement began on Christmas morning last year.

In Gifu Prefecture, a staff member at the Mitani Gakuen orphanage arrived to see four large bags in front of the building that were filled with approximately 80 toys such as a baseball tossing machine, stuffed animals, and remote-controlled toys. The toys had been donated under the name of Naoto Date — the alter ego of the manga/anime pro wrestler Tiger Mask.

In Saitama City in Saitama Prefecture, an anonymous donor donated six red backpacks to a child guidance center on Christmas Eve. Backpacks and cash were also left at child guidance centers in Nara Prefecture on Monday.

In Miyagi Prefecture, which was hit hard by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster, an anonymous donor gave 10,000 yen (about US$1,280) and homemade dolls to a child welfare center with a note reading, "Please use this on the children who were victims of the disaster. From Ehime Prefecture's Santa Claus." Christmas presents were also donated to child welfare centers in Iwate Prefecture, which was also devastated by the disaster.

Christmas candy was donated to an orphanage in Aichi Prefecture, and in Nagano Prefecture, one donor gave 500,000 yen (about US$6,404) to an orphanage. In Toyama Prefecture, one man donated two boxes of yellowtail fish to an orphanage. The fish were accompanied by 10,000 yen (about US$128) in cash. In Hokkaido Prefecture, one donor gave crabs and scallops to the Hikarigaoka Gakuen orphanage.

The Tiger Mask donation movement began on Christmas morning last year when a person left 10 30,000-yen (about US$360) backpacks at a child guidance center in Gunma Prefecture under the name of Naoto Date.

Other characters who "contributed" to the cause included Momotarō, Ashita no Joe, Evangelion's Rei Ayanami and Ryōji Kaji, Haruhi Suzumiya, Crayon Shin-chan, Arsène Lupin, Kamen Rider, the real-life samurai warlord (and Sengoku Basara character) Date Masamune, Kyojin no Hoshi, Stitch, and Tetsujin 28-gō.

Donors under the names of the K-On anime character Yui, Doraemon, Mario and Yoshi of the Super Mario games, Anpanman, Ai no Senshi Rainbowman, Seigi wo Aisuru Mono Gekko Kamen, Hideto Matsumoto (X Japan's late guitarist hide), and Laputa - Castle in the Sky's Muska then helped push the number of donations to Japanese children's centers past 700 in January. A total of 620 backpacks and 24 million yen (US$290,000) were contributed between Christmas and mid-January. Then in November, another donor by the name of Ultra Seven donated one million yen (about US$12,809) to an orphanage in Hokkaido Prefecture.

Sources: 47 News, Mainichi Shimbun, FNN

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