It's no exaggeration to say that Friday's 8.9 earthquake in Japan is the biggest natural disaster to hit the land of the Rising Sun that most anyone can remember. If you're at all interested in Japan and Japanese culture, you've been seen the stunning video footage, the astonishing photos and the heartbreaking accounts of the damage, death and destruction caused by the earthquake, aftershocks and tsunamis.
Anime News Network is keeping a running list of anime and manga creators who have checked in to tell the world that they're okay.
But many manga artists want to do more than tell the world that they're okay -- they want to offer help and a message of hope in their own way: with their artwork.
Via Twitter, manga creator Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk, Vagabond, and Real) has been posting illustrations of Japanese people of all ages doing a simple thing: they're smiling. He's been posting these encouraging, charming and often heartwarming images with the hashtags #prayforjapan and #tsunami. Inoue has posted 38 illustrations over the past 24 hours and seems to be intent to continue as the spirit moves him.
Also via Twitter, shojo manga creator Arina Tanemura (The Gentlemen's Alliance Cross) has posted an illustration of one of her characters smiling, with some simple words of encouragement for her fans: "Hitori ja nai yo." (You are not alone).
Inspired by Inoue's efforts, Canadian comics creator Nina Matsumoto (Yokaiden) has also posted that she's taking illustration commissions to benefit Japan earthquake relief. For $25, fans can get "One smiling ink headshot of your original character (or other character of your choice) on approximately 4 x 6" lightweight cardstock paper," and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund.
UPDATE: According to Matsumoto, as of Sunday evening, she has received over 27 commissions, bringing her total donation to date to $675. She will be accepting commission requests until Monday, March 15, 2011. (via Guttersnipe)
Starting on March 13 at 8 pm PT, the organizers of Yaoi-Con will be offering various rare and one-of-a-kind items, all "signed by the artist, seiyuu or one of our previous guests" auction for Japan Earthquake Relief.
Street Sweets and JapanLA gallery in Los Angeles is hosting an Japan earthquake relief benefit art show / sale on Saturday, March 19 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm at JapanLA Gallery at 7320 1/2 Melrose Ave, with 100% of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross and Japanese Red Cross.
You can help too. Here are a few agencies that would appreciate your donations to help those in need in Japan.
- Japan Society Japan Earthquake Relief Fund
- American Red Cross
- Global Giving: The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund
- Mercy Corps / Peace Winds Japan
Are there other manga artists offering help for Japan Earthquake relief? Add your links and comments below!
Image credits: © Takehiko Inoue, © Arina Tanemura, © Nina Matsumoto