Japan Relief Effort


Thanks to the initiative of some Willamette University and TIUA alumni, there is now an opportunity to contribute to a targeted relief fund for the specific benefit of TIU students who have been most affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Some of these TIU students may also be former or current students in the one-year American Studies Program at Willamette University and TIUA.  Some students who are from the areas most affected have lost family members, their family homes and businesses have been destroyed or their families have been displaced because of the various evacuation zones.  One can only imagine the disruption these events have caused in the lives of these TIU students and their families.

One WU alumnus has already made a pledge of $500 that will be matched by the company for which he works, and a number of other WU and TIUA alumni have indicated interest in contributing to this effort.

TIUA has established a TIU Student Relief Fund account and those interested can easily and securely make contributions to this japan_relife_2.jpg fund using a credit or debit card through PayPal. The funds collected will be transferred to TIU and TIU will manage matching the funds to the specific needs of the most affected students.  TIUA will provide updates about how the fund i s being utilized.

Thanks to everyone for the many ongoing demonstrations of support and solidarity for the TIU students and their families.

-- Gunnar Gundersen
Executive Vice President, TIUA

 Our Goal, $10,000!Fundraisers

If you would prefer to send a check, please make it out to Tokyo International University of America, 1300 Mill Street SE, Salem, Oregon, 97301, attn: Mr. Toru Tanabe, TIUA Business Manager.  Please indicate clearly on the check that it is for the "TIU Student Relief Fund."  TIUA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization.  Your donation is tax deductible.  TIUA will send you a receipt for your records.


Eric "Rick" Godsey, WU'94, Initiates This Fund

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, Eric "Rick" Godsey, Willamette Class of 1994, was trying to locate his former roommate, Kazushige Tarora, who is living in Japan.  Not having any luck, he contacted staff at TIUA to ask if they might help.  Because of the disaster, TIUA had been getting other similar requests.  They did help and Eric and Kazu were finally able to connect.  Eric didn't reach Kazu on the day of the earthquake, but he was able to get in touch with his other roommate that day, Yoshifumi Ichimori.

All of that got Eric to thinking.  He said, "This school (TIUA) has meant so much to all of us for such a long time.  I think it's a great time for us to show how much TIUA has meant to us all of our lives -- at least for me.  I know my life direction changed in so many ways because of living in Japan -- and I know all of you feel the same way."

Eric asked if TIU would be willing to have a fund that would help support current students whose lives have been affected by the disaster in Japan.  Through a few conversations, it was done.  The TIU Student Relief Fund was begun!

Eric adds, "I pray that all of us can give.  Giving through this way is much more personal, and provides support for current students to complete their studies while also giving us a way to reach out to alumni we may know who are picking up their lives.  Love you all - God Bless."


Shingi Nagano (TIUA'92) Shares His Experience after Tsunami

altMr. Shinji Nagano (TIUA'92), who lives in Sendai and recently experienced the Eastern Japan earthquake and who is from Kobe, watched the baseball game of Rakuten vs Nippon Ham in “Hottomotto Field Kobe” on April 22, 2011.  Shinji's home in Kobe was totally destroyed in the 1995 Kobe earthquake.  During that year, he visited the same baseball field many times to cheer on the Orix baseball team, which won the season with the slogan “Ganbaro (Let’s work hard) Kobe.”  “This time, from recovered Kobe, Rakuten (which is based in Sendai) will send hope to Tohoku (Northeastern) region” said Shinji while watching the game.

He was a staff member of the Kobe Institute of Computing located in Kobe.  After he got married in February of this year, he moved to Sendai where his wife’s parents live.  He was there when the earthquake hit.  There was no damage in his home, but when he watched the burning chemical complex and walked around the street filled with debris from the tsunami, the memories from the Kobe earthquake came back to him.

After the Kobe earthquake, he saw burning houses while he was evacuating his home.  “I was devastated with the burned down city, but my hometown strongly recovered.  I wanted to get courage from my hometown.”  He decided to visit his hometown again.

In the afternoon, he visited the school where he used to work.  He talked to sixty-five students about his experience.  Some of their remarks included, “I was scared with the very long shakes.”  “Cold weather hit the area right after the earthquake, and I was freezing with snow.”  “Many people are still suffering.  Please do whatever you can."  He asked for support.

In the stands of the baseball field, he held a sign board that the students gave to him.  It said, “Ganbaro (Let’s work hard) Tohoku (Northeastern region).  Connect Japan.”

On September 11, 2001, he also witnessed Ground Zero while he was staying in New York for business.  “I know many sad occasions, but I also know the strength of people.  Tohoku will surely recover,” he vowed. 

Click here to see the photos sent by Shinji of the Sendai area.

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Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment.  TIUA does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment policies, scholarship programs, and other TIUA administered programs and activities.  For the purpose of admission, all students must be formally admitted by Tokyo International University (Kawagoe, Japan) prior to making application to the American Studies Program at Willamette/TIUA.