Thursday, January 20, 2011
You’re never too far from a cartoon character in Japan. Animated characters promote everything from baby food to the police. This year there’s a new trend for animated characters; promoting charity.
During the new year’s break, a man from Nagasaki anonymously donated several school bags to a children’s charity. He did this under the moniker, “Naoto Date” (Tiger Mask), a famous character from the animated series Kamen Rider. Since his generous act, there have been hundreds of cases of anonymous donations made to charities and organizations across Japan, all of whom adopt the names of popular animation characters.
This current fad has highlighted the fact that many Japanese want to donate to charities but lack the channels to do so. Most donations have been to organizations that help children. The ability to do this anonymously has also been a boon.
Anonymity and blending in with the crowd are something of a virtue in Japan. Doing good deeds in secret has accelerated this charitable trend. Using popular animation characters has made it an even more attractive prospect for many Japanese.
The current Tiger Mask fad actually occurred in the early 1970’s and was somewhat short-lived. With any hope, this trend will not only continue, but expand and make donations to charity a commonplace event.