As many of you know, on March 11 the North-Eastern coast of Japan was hit by a M9 earthquake, the 4th largest earthquake ever recorded in history. The Northern region is devastated by the damage and half of the island faces shortage of energy. Additionally, a potential nuclear disaster can unfold at a power plant 200 km (128 miles) away from Tokyo, and aftershocks up to M7 are likely to happen in the following days. The situation is still far from stable and the economical repercussions will effect the whole nation.
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There are many organizations that you can donate to. (UPDATE: Japan Society has a relief fund where 100 % of your controbution goes to aid and Paypal has an interface to donate directly to some organizations.) There are many things you shouldn’t do too – like adding unnecessary noise to various social network services where there is already enough false information and fraud happening after the disaster.
Another thing you can do: support Japanese artists on tour.
Artistic life in Japan is hard enough even without a natural disaster. Most artists can barely survive from just their creative practice and only a handful have the opportunity to show their work abroad. Now they will face even more difficulties continuing their work and travelling. So, if you have ever been touched or surprised by Japanese music or art and you hear about a Japanese artist performing, please support by going to the show, buying a CD, and talking to them. I believe it’s the most direct way one can show support.
Japan Society in New York and Cafe Oto in London regularily showcase Japanese artists, mu:arts is a London based organization which produces Japanese traditional music events, JAAPAN is a French/Japanese agency that produce european tours for new Japanese artists, and Camera Japan is an annual Dutch Japanese Film festival. Your local university with an East Asian Studies department will likely host occasional events related to Japanese culture as well.