Kumamoto Castle Restoration Donation Project
Basic Principle <Active Restoration>
This message is or will soon be available in Japanese; European languages such as English, German, French, Italian and Spanish; and Asian languages such as simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Hindi and Korean.
On 14th-16th April 2016, Kumamoto City and surrounding areas were struck by two major earthquakes.
The occurrence of two consecutive major earthquakes in such a short period of time is unprecedented even for Japan, which is known for its frequent earthquakes. Worse, the main earthquake struck while people were still clearing away the damage caused by the first quake which had occurred the previous day. This left dozens killed, thousands injured or homeless, and tens of thousands emotionally scarred.
One unfortunate victim of the earthquake is Kumamoto Castle. The castle is one of Japan’s Three Best Castles. In recent years it had become a popular attraction for foreign tourists, so much so that it was voted the best castle in Japan to visit by foreign tourists for two years running. The news of the earthquake must have come as a shock to many who have visited there.
Kumamoto Castle was built on the site of an old castle around four hundred years ago by the great fort builder Kiyomasa Kato. Kiyomasa Kato was both a military general who led Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s army on their invasion of the Korean Peninsula, and a genius in the field of civil engineering. He is respected throughout Japan as the man who helped form the abundant natural environment of present day Kumamoto, and is even revered as a god by some. His castle outlived the Tokugawa Shongunate, and then during the subsequent Meiji Era, some three hundred years after its construction, it played a large part in Japan’s largest ever civil war.
People visiting Kumamoto Castle are said to experience a range of emotions. Some may feel a connection with its tragic past, others feel pride in its majesty, while others still are captivated by its beauty.
The castle has a special allure not only for the citizens of Kumamoto City, but also for Japanese people in general. Its attractiveness stems from its pragmatic design, in which decoration is kept to a minimum, and the almost erotic beauty of the curves in its stone walls. The famous film director Akira Kurosawa was a particular fan of the walls, to the point where he was sure to include similar walls in many of his films.
Sadly, Kumamoto Castle suffered extensive damage in the recent earthquakes. The magnificent stone walls that cast such wonderful, romantic silhouettes on a moonlit night now lie in ruins. The turrets that stood proudly above those walls have fallen and turned to rubble. This must break the hearts of anyone who has visited and fallen in love with Kumamoto Castle.
Of course, natural disasters cannot be avoided. Throughout history, the Japanese people have faced countless similar natural disasters with discipline, reserve, restraint and unity. However, unless we start to make efforts to return to normality soon, we may give people outside of Kumamoto the impression that people in the disaster area are reliant on their help.
In reality, this is not the case. Unless an exceptionally large tsunami destroys an entire area, the majority of places located within a disaster area are somewhat functional. This holds true for Kumamoto. Less than 100,000 people were seriously affected by the quakes out of a population of around 800,000. In other words, 700,000 people are fit and ready to help the restoration efforts. Areas that have miraculously escaped major damage and are ready to help out outnumber those that have suffered serious damage. Unfortunately, many people are still suffering from mental and emotional damage, and so are unable to overcome the shock of the disaster.
We too are victims of the earthquakes. However, as victims we feel that people that are able to take action should take the initiative and act as leaders within the disaster area. We are willing to take on that role.
Fortunately, our offices have come out of the earthquake relatively unscathed, and our staff have all managed to avoid major injury. It would be easy for us to refrain from taking action out of consideration for those around us who have suffered severe damage; that, though, would not help anyone. We will achieve nothing by standing still.
Using the reconstruction of Kumamoto Castle as a symbol of Kumamoto’s efforts to revive itself, the Kumamoto Castle Reconstruction Project will appeal to, and collect donations from, the entire world. We are determined to demonstrate to people all over the world a model of hope, by contraposing the damage wrought by a natural disaster against reconstruction efforts based on wisdom, technology and the determination.
Unfortunately, though our will to reconstruct Kumamoto is limitless, our funds are not. For this reason, we need your help to complete our project. We are hereby seeking financial aid for the Kumamoto Castle Restoration Project.
The framework for the project are as below:
① The manner in which we will use all donations will be published on the
② Funds for our activities will be used from donation money.
Details of our activities will be published on the Internet.
③ Reports into our activities will be regularly published on the Internet.
Reports will be published once per month.
④ Once we start to receive donations, we may work in cooperation with
local municipalities, or, if we decide that the goals of the municipality conform
to the original principles of the project, may entrust the operation
of the project to a municipality.
Together, we can restore Kumamoto to the place that countless visitors adore.
Together, we can restore Kumamoto Castle to its previous splendour.
Together, we can make Kumamoto a symbol of hope for the entire world.
Please give generously to our cause. Thank you.