Ken Watanabe launches website to encourage solidarity in earthquake aftermath


Actor Ken Watanabe, 51, and screenwriter Kundo Koyama, 46, have launched a website named "Kizuna 311" to display messages of encouragement and support for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11.

Messages are currently being collected from Watanabe's famous friends worldwide, including Tom Cruise, 48, and Leonardo DiCaprio, 36.

On the English language version of the site, Watanabe explains, "In the past few days, the media has brought attention to the world of earthquake and devastation, much foreign press has warmly applauded our orderliness and solidarity under the catastrophic circumstances, and has encouraged us to recuperate from the calamity. We Japanese can take pride in our Kizuna, the solidarity that binds us. To overcome this painful catastrophe, we must find a way to unite and find our Kizuna among people."

The first video message on the site features Watanabe himself reading aloud from Kenji Miyazawa's "Succumb Not to the Rain." Also lending their official endorsement to the project are Watanabe's wife Kaho Minami, 47, Sayuri Yoshinaga, 66, Teruyuki Kagawa, 45, Tsurube Shofukutei, 59, Koji Yakusho, 55, and Jun Fubuki, 58. Each will take it in turns to present a video message to the world.

Watanabe says he will continue to approach celebrities and ask for their support for the project.

Kizuna 311 can be found at the following web address: http://kizuna311.com/

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Awesome. Moving message from Mr. Watanabe.

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huh is it me or does his english youtube video have no sound? :S

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love you ken

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Well done Ken, we love you. We are all thinking of the people in Japan. Japan is strong and will rise from this.

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I had no problem hearing Mr. Watanabe's heartfelt message in English when I watched it last night. As Mr. Watanabe encourages different segments of the Japanese community to contribute to the spirit of "kizuna" according to each's own talents and strengths, I'm wondering how the artistic community is responding. Specifically, what kinds of images are emerging one week later as a kind of rallying cry to further encourage unity and solidarity? Maybe an image of the mythical phoenix rising up with the "himomaru" (日の丸) in the background? After 9/11 in the US, we saw a great increase in the flying of the stars and stripes as a public show of unity and patriotism. And, of course, after the war escalated in the Middle East, yellow ribbons were everywhere to show support. Remember how after the devastation of the atomic bombing, the city of Hiroshima adopted the image of the resilient carp/koi to rally its community behind the new baseball team. And there are many other examples.

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Quote: "much foreign press has warmly applauded our orderliness and solidarity under the catastrophic circumstances,"

When I saw video after video of the Japanese people effected by this tradegy standing in line patiently waiting for their chance to buy food and other daily necessities I was not really amazed because this is the way of the Japanese people. They are a courageous - moral people who stand strong in the face of adversity and they will not accept defeat.

It has been a great many years since I have been in Japan but I have alawys had nothing but respect and admiration for their strength - untiy and willingness to help others even though they themselves may be suffering. Mr. Watanabe is another shining example of this.

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He is well-known in both Japanese and international movies. If Japanese investor can make a choice, he may take a lead for such charity campaigns at a large scale ...

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