Share East Japanese Sprit with victims

By Kikki - Last updated: 木曜日, 6月 16, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

[From Ofunato city-my stricken home town]

-3 months since East Japan Great Earthquake & Tsunami Disaster-

J1 Leaguer, Ogasawara works for supporting victims

Mr. Mitsuo Ogasawara was so impatient for his second native town ‘Ofunato’ where was greatly damaged by the tsunami on March 11. He had spent his senior high school days there. Mitsuo Ogasawara (小笠原 満男, born April 5, 1979 in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture) is a Japanese football player, who currently plays for the J1. League team Kashima Antlers. A week later, he could visit his alma mater, Iwate Prefectural Ofunato Senior High School on March 18 while J1 League had stopped all games because of the East Japan Great Earthquake and Tsunami.

The J. League Division 1 or J1 League is the top division of Japan Professional Football League and is the top professional association football league in Japan. It is one of the most successful leagues in Asian club football and the only league given top class ‘A’ ranking by the AFC. Currently, J. League Division 1 is the first level of the Japanese association football league system.

He was at a loss which he should visit Ofunato or not, because he might be able to help nothing but just disturb victim citizens. He could not get anybody in Ofunato on the phone because line was no use. The whole picture of the disaster was not exactly given to him. TV and news gave him only pieces of disaster. ‘Watch exactly what it is and try to find how to help victim citizens.’ He finally decided to visit his stricken second home town. The stricken condition of his town really shocked him. There was only empty space where he used to visit and all roads he used to walk were vanished.

When he talked to some victims who lost their families or homes, they replied ‘I’m all right now.’ Something kind and warm character of ‘Tohokujin’ or people living in East Japan moved him and reinforced his determination. ‘I will be able to something for reconstruction of victims what I can do.’ As a J1 leaguer, he took a part in the charity game against the All-Japan team on March 29. Uniform he worn in the game was written in Chinese characters ‘東北魂’  or the East Japanese Spirit.

He is now playing as a member of Kashima Antlers at restarted J1 League. Mr. Ogasawara always wears a pair of embroidered shoes with the same loge ‘東北魂’. His thoughts always turned to East Japan and his second hometown. He is also working hard out of the field everyday for supporting victims. He personally sent soccer balls to stricken areas and promoted establishment of organization named ‘J Leaguers who have East Japanese Sprits’. Supporting activities, such as fund-raising and instruct lessons at soccer school at stricken areas, will be performed by the organization. ‘I like to encourage children to overcome difficulty. This is my new target.’ His firm determination as an East Japanese never wavered. ‘East Japanese are patient and will be able to overcome their difficulty.’ Although, reconstruction of stricken area will be very hard and steep path, he tries hard to support victims as an East Japanese.


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