Mighty Harajuku Project: fashion sector responds to the devastating earthquake
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The usual image of all major cities in the centre will see major dividing lines and Tokyo is no different. Therefore, in Tokyo you will have places like Edogawabashi where you have stunning parks and Chinzan-so is a place where the Japanese garden comes alive and old statues to the various Shinto gods can be found.
Alternatively, Harajuku is famous for fashion and even within Harajuku you will have notable brands and highly expensive fashion shops in the Omotesando Hills area. However, you can also find many fashion outlets which cater for individualistic styles, which flow with current fashion trends amongst the younger generation, highly experimental, and you will find many smaller exquisite fashion shops throughout Harajuku and the Omotesando backstreets area.
It may appear that the streetwise fashion youngsters are very distant from the wider society where conformity often dominates. Or if you see an individualistic young lady or boy who are dressed in a very striking way then it may appear that these individuals are obsessed by fashion and that they have little in common with the usual salary man in Tokyo.
Also, the streets of fashion in Tokyo may appear to be miles away from the rural areas of Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi. However, if you scratch under the surface then the vast majority of citizens in Tokyo, irrespective of age or fashion sense, are deeply shocked and saddened by the recent earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear crisis hanging over Fukushima.
Therefore, the fashion conscious in Harajuku have organized the “Mighty Harajuku Project” which is aimed at generating capital in order to help the people of Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and other areas hit by the recent tragedy which engulfed the north-eastern Tohoku region.
The “Mighty Harajuku Project” is the brainchild of Sebastian Masuda who is the founder of 6%Dokidoki. Sebastian Masuda cares deeply about Harajuku and 6%Dokidoki provides an abundance of brightly colored accessories and like Harajuku itself the company is vibrant and individualistic.
Sebastian Masuda was shocked by the events which engulfed the north-eastern-Tohoku region on March 11 and which continue to beset the region. This applies to the huge loss of life, the ongoing homeless problem, whole communities being destroyed, thousands of bodies being washed up along the coast, and the ongoing nuclear cloud hanging over Fukushima and creating a major radiation problem.
In Harajuku the creativity of this place which Sebastian Masuda genuinely cares about also uniquely provides its own distinctive community. Irrespective if this applies to locals, people who often visit Harajuku because of the buzz it creates or to workers who commute to Harajuku.
Therefore, Sebastian Masuda focused on all the positives and energy of Harajuku and came up with the “Mighty Harajuku Project.” The purpose of this project is to help the disadvantaged who have suffered so much since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11; and to give encouragement and support to people who utilize the energy and environment of Harajuku because so many people are still bewildered by recent events.
At first the staff of 6%Dokidoki, customers and others all chipped in and gave donations but this was just the initial stage. After this, Sebastian Masuda wanted to provide a positivity about Harajuku despite the recent worries and concerns and then to let other areas throughout Tokyo and Japan know that Harajuku is baring up and focused on the future – despite understanding the dire nature of events in Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi and the radiation fear which is felt by many.
Also, Sebastian Masuda wanted to reach out to the youth of Tokyo and to assure the younger generation that Harajuku was a haven amidst all the chaos, sorrow, anguish, and sense of foreboding.
This image of positivity which is based on care and support was also important to show the world because Harajuku is famous for fashion and an economic recovery is needed in order to help people who have suffered so much.
The “Mighty Harajuku Project” also shows you the heart of the younger generation and that fashion companies have a serious side which desire to reach out in times of need.
Therefore, this project is helping people who need assistance in order to overcome so much tragedy and at the same time it is creating positivity within Tokyo and Japan.
Also, it is important that the outside world knows that Japan is not only ticking but it is fighting back against adversity. Recently, tourist numbers are down and some business companies have pulled out of Tokyo in the short-term.
However, it is vital that the economy of Japan is supported and the energy of the “Mighty Harajuku Project” is a way of showing everybody that Tokyo is ticking and churning out fresh ideas.
At the same time, the people of Harajuku want to show their compassion and sense of solidarity because they know that you have so much pain and sorrow in places which were hit by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.
http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/?eid=508 (personal blog)
http://www.dokidoki6.com/ (Please visit this fashion website)
http://www.japanforum.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=2 (Harajuku fashion)