Courtesy Enson Inoue
Enson Inoue feeding a stray dog left behind after the earthquake and tsunami.
Thousands of lives were lost and destroyed in Japan after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred near the city of Sendai on March 11. With more than $275 billion in damages from the tsunami and earthquake, Japan still needs our help.
In an effort to help out, the Purebred Japan Fundraiser will feature reggae music from Bami and Bellywise, and local reggae bands Roots Covenant and Tribal Theory on September 3, at the House of Blues.
Shane Berry, talent buyer and entrepreneur, organized the first Purebred Japan Fundraiser in April at Winston’s and it was beyond successful. That event featured the bands Stranger, High Tide, Roots Covenant and Ablaze. C-Money from Slightly Stoopid and island reggae artist Anuhea also donated their time for the cause.
During tonight's event music will move your feet, but stories and photographs from mixed martial artist Enson Inoue will move your heart.
The focal point of the fundraiser, Inoue, is a one-man army leading a grassroots effort to help the victims of the tsunami and earthquake disaster. Inoue saw the devastation firsthand, which propelled the Japanese-American to do what was right in his heart to help his fellow countrymen.
“The devastation was unbelievable and there was no one there," said Inoue, " the only people that were was the army and they were clearing out the rubble and bodies."
The onset of the recovery saw the relief efforts focusing on basic necessities: food and clothing, shelter and medical needs. Inoue was able to visit evacuation centers and ascertain specific needs of the center while checking on a friend that lived in Fukushima.
“I got a gist of what I could do to help and I went back home and picked up water, food and what I heard they needed, " said Inoue.
Fans of the fighter were equally driven after Inoue described the scene of the hardest hit areas as detailed on his Facebook account and encouraged him to keep helping. Soon Inoue became an ambassador for the victims. Word of Inoue’s efforts reached his home state of Hawaii not long after and a local new station aired his story.
Known for his beautiful crystal and gemstone bracelets, Inoue’s customers and fans began donating money to his PayPay account. American On Line even picked up the story, an interview which lead to many more donations to his cause.
The influx of aid initially caught Inuoe off guard, "The next morning I wake up with a 100 plus emails from PayPal saying ‘You got funds, you got funds, you got funds’," said Inuoe, "within a 24-hr period I received over $12,000.”
However, that joy didn’t last long because PayPal made Inoue return all donated monies back to donors. He had $6,000 in legit business sales and PayPal asked him to relinquish those funds too.
“As far as people that made donations to my PayPal, PayPal made a big stink about it saying that I’m not a non-profit, so I had to return all the money,” Inoue continued “I have a lot of followers on FB and a lot of them canceled their PayPal accounts.”
Recovery efforts had been categorized into stages that effect victims and areas directly impacted. The first stage required food, water and blankets. The second stage was to provide clothing and personal amenities and the third stage was luxuries that included books and toys. The current phase that Inoue is seeking help for is evacuees being moved from the evacuation centers into temporary housing.
“Everyone is getting kicked out and almost forcibly moved out of evacuation centers and moved into temporary housing, " said Inoue. "The problem with this is that temporary housing is only for two years,” he added. “The family is getting $300 to pay for their utilities for two years.”
In addition to people, animals are also affected and require food and veterinarian help and Inoue has traveled to the radiation areas to feed the animals despite the dangers.
“The sad thing is about the cats and the dogs, the animals were abandoned. You’re talking about an animal that has dependent on human beings for love and affection, for food, care, grooming or for any kind of sickness to take care of them.”
Many countries, organizations and individuals have assisted Japan through this nightmare. Although the disaster has been removed from media circulation, help is still very much needed.
“With all the disasters that is happening in this world, that the Japan thing has gotten old and has fallen out of the media and has pretty much been forgotten.”
Inoue will have a DVD compilation of his relief efforts for Japan for sale at the benefit concert. In addition, proceeds from his bracelet sales are used to help the Japanese disaster victims.
Tribe of Kings will start the vibes with early warm ups, admission is $10 and doors at 6 p.m. on tonight at the House of Blues.