Dear Origami Crane Campaign Supporters,
The “for Japan with Love” campaign (or Origami Crane Campaign) was launched in April to fold several thousands of origami cranes (Senbadsuru) to show our support to the victims of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. This nationwide campaign involving Wells Fargo employees across the country as well as various local communities was a tremendous success – while we thought 10,000 cranes would be a stretch goal, we ended up with 30,000 cranes, tripling the original goal. For the Charlotte area alone, we ended up making 4,500 cranes. As a Japanese native, I can’t tell you how much I was moved by your generosity and kindness. The origami folding event hosted by International House in May was huge as we made more than 500 cranes. Once the effort was reported by Charlotte Observer, boxes with origami cranes inside began to arrive in my office from people I had never met. They just thought this was a great effort and wanted to help. And of course I remember that many of you folded many origami cranes at the fund raising dinner at Kalu restaurant in April.
While this effort meant to show our spiritual support, we were able to make financial contributions as well. Wells Fargo agreed to donate $1 per crane. As a result, this campaign resulted in the donation of $30,000 to American Red Cross!
I recently had a chance to visit Japan for business and used the trip to personally deliver two of the thirty bundles of 1,000 origami cranes to the victims in the impacted area. What I saw there was unimaginable. The damages were so significant and widespread that I could not imagine that they were real. I did some volunteer work to clean up debris, picking up toys and dolls, etc. I visited an elementary school where 78 died, 13 are still missing and only one survived. People are still living in shelters where the smell is extremely bad as they cannot remove dead fish. It will take years before they will be able to recover from the disaster. Please find attached some of the photos taken that day. So when I delivered the two bundles of thousand cranes to the victims at the end of the day and heard them say “arigatou (thank you in Japanese)”, I truly felt that our effort was worthwhile and made an incredible impact. I did tell them that those cranes are filled with a lot of hearts and souls from the people in the U.S., and am glad that I had a chance to communicate that directly to them. The remaining cranes were recently shipped to the local governments and shelters in Japan.
Please pass this note onto those who supported this effort.
Again thank you very much for your effort and kindness. Arigatou.
International House Board Member
Senior Vice President, Head of Cross Border Strategic Initiatives
& President, Asian Connection, Wells Fargo & Company