From WILL - News Headlines -

U of I Japan House Announces Earthquake Relief Fund

A fund-raising effort has begun at the University of Illinois Urbana campus to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The university's Japan House, together with the College of Fine and Applied Arts, have launched Illinois Japan Disaster Relief Fund through the University of Illinois Foundation.

Japan House director and Associate Professor of Japanese Art and Culture, Kimiko Gunji, said friends in Japan that she has been able to contact tell her they are all right, following last week's earthquake. But Gunji said she hasn't yet reached anybody in Sendei, one of the areas hardest hit by the quake, and Gunji said her friends in Japan tell her that the earthquake's impact is evident, even in parts of the country relatively unscathed.

Speaking of a friend who lived on the outskirts of Tokyo, Gunji said, "She said her condo shook (for a) long time, and all her china was all broken into pieces. And another friend who lived in Tokyo, told me that when she went to pick up her husband, it took her ten hours, just for the short distance, couldn't move."

Gunji said periodic, severe earthquakes are a fact of life in Japan, once that people prepare for: "especially people living in (the) Tokyo area. My sister lived in the outskirts of Tokyo. Always she had a whole bunch of --- stuff. If something happened, (this) is the stuff that's prepared. Water, and things like that."

But Gunji said last week's quake and tsunami were especially devastating.

Gunji said the private donations sent in for the Illinois Japan Disaster Relief Fund will go directly to support the people of Japan. She said they plan to work with the Japanese Consul General in Chicago, and the Illini Japan Club --- an association of U of I alumni in Japan --- to determine how best to spend the donations.

The College of Fine and Applied Arts has set up a web page for donations to the Illinois Japan Disaster Relief Fund. Donations can also be mailed directly to Japan House or the University of Illinois Foundation. Checks should be made out to UIF/Illinois-Japan Disaster Relief.

Illinois-Japan Disaster Relief Japan House 2000 South Lincoln Avenue-Urbana, Illinois 61802 Phone: 217.244.9934- Email: japanhouse@illinois.edu

University of Illinois Foundation 1305 West Green Street Urbana, IL 61801-2962 Phone: 217.333.0810 Email: uif@uif.uillinois.edu

Prof. Gunji will dedicate a traditional tea ceremony to victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami this weekend. The event is scheduled for Saturday, March 19th at 1 PM at the U of I Japan House, at 2000 S. Lincoln in Urbana. The public is invited, and donations to the relief fund will be accepted at that time.

Categories: Community, Education