Pearson College students Kenta Mori

Japanese students give back to their devastated homeland

  • May. 24, 2011 10:00 a.m.

If the tsunami that crashed over Japan had triggered a similar event on the B.C. coast, students at Pearson College would have had a front row view.

The ocean-side Metchosin campus cancelled classes in its floating building and kept to higher ground during the March 11 tsunami warning.

Though the local threat passed without incident, the overseas disaster was top of mind on the campus.

Four of the 200 students studying at the tight-knit international school are from Japan and knew people injured or perished after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and 30-foot wall of water devastated the east coast of their country.

“It was hard not to be there. I would have rather been in Japan and been a victim than here watching from so far away,” said Kakuho Furuakawa, 18. “It’s hard to help from here, but we had to do something.”

Furuakawa and his fellow Japanese students decided to start fundraising for relief efforts. They recruited support from the rest of the student body and together they started folding paper cranes—a symbol of peace in Japan.

“We handed out 1,000 pieces of origami paper and all week you’d see people folding cranes all over,” said Yukiko Watanabe, 17.  “It felt really good to know so many people were supporting us and our county.”

The students brought the cranes to their annual One World end-of-term concert, where they announced at intermission they would gave a crane to anyone who made a donation to the Japan relief fund. They collected $4,000 that night.

The students also held fundraisers on campus, and by the time they handed their donations over to the Canadian Red Cross they’d collected $5,700.

“It was incredible, we raised way more than we expected,” said Masashi Motohashi, 17.

In addition to the donations, Pearson students also sent personal messages of support to the people in Japan in dozens of languages in a video produced and translated by Kenta Mori, 18. The video can be found on YouTube by searching “Hope For Japan, Pearson College.”

In its May 1 operational update, the Red Cross said more than 126,000 people displaced by the disaster remained in evacuation centres. The organization is focused on building temporary shelters, as well as providing medical assistance a social support in the country.

Donations are still needed and can be made online at or call 1-800-418-1111.



Just Posted

Officer leads the flare in Saanich Police’s social media

Triangle dance latest addition to Saanich Police social media anthology

BC Ferries looks for more feedback on 25-year plan for Swartz Bay

Some suggestions already under consideration include a cycling route, waterfront park

U.S. college bribery scandal shines light on serious problem in Canada

Looking at the bigger picture of marginalization in universities

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation welcomes new leader

Teri Mooring will take over as president this summer

B.C. resident baffled about welcome mat theft

Security footage shows a woman and her dog taking the mat from the property on March 13

Victim succumbs to injuries suffered in Campbell River hit and run

The female pedestrian that was struck in a hit and run on… Continue reading

Trans Mountain court hearing: B.C. says it won’t reject pipelines without cause

Canada says the proposed amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act must be struck down

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

B.C. father fights for his life after flu turns into paralyzing condition

Reisig has lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements.

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

Night vision goggles tested for early detection effort

Vernon ordered to reinstate terminated firefighters caught having sex at work

City believes arbitration board erred, exploring options

Most Read