The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan



Worthy Causes
This year’s event will help women, children, and the homeless

By Barbara Hancock and Kevin Naylor

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s Charity Ball funds most of the Tokyo chapter’s philanthropic activities, and is an outstanding way for members to give back to the community in which we live. The Chubu and Kansai chapters have charity walkathons that fund charities in their local communities.

Annual charitable giving by the chamber goes back to the 1995 Kobe Earthquake, at which time it raised about ¥35 million. It was then that the Community Service Advisory Council (CSAC) was established as a continuing chamber effort.

Every year, with recommendations from the chamber leadership, CSAC and the Charity Ball Committee select a group of charities to support, which are considered our “primary charities.”

Over the past few years, efforts have been focused on the recovery of, and rebuilding in, Tohoku. With our selection this year you will see that we are still looking to support the recovery through the JKSK and the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund.

At the same time, the chamber remains committed to supporting local charities, which also have high-priority needs that must be met.

We would like to take this opportunity to again thank our ACCJ member companies for their ongoing, generous support of the worthy causes, in spite of these challenging economic times.

It is due to these annual donations of time and funds that we can all take great pride in constantly raising the bar for our charitable efforts. Following are the charities selected as recipients of donations from this year’s Charity Ball.

Community Service Fund
The Community Service Fund is an ACCJ board-run fund with the mission to administer members’ contributions in support of deserving community service projects. The fund is also used for emergency requests that come in throughout the year.

Beneficiary projects include various activities of the American business family and youth communities, as well as selected Japanese social welfare organizations. The purpose of the grants is to assist in the community service goals of the recipients.

JKSK NPO (Empowering Women Empowering Society)
charity-postThe JKSK has its roots in an organization formed in 1887, when a group of top political and business leaders in Japan gathered to form the Joshi-Kyoiku-Shoreikai (Society of Promoting Women’s Education and Leadership).

The organization helped open a women’s school in Tokyo, which today has become the Tokyo Jogakkan Schools for Women.

With a group of friends, Mitsu Kimata, founding president of The Body Shop in Japan, decided to revive the spirit of the original JKSK so that women would be better prepared to take on leadership roles in every area of Japanese society. She formed the current JKSK and launched its operations in January 2002.

The ACCJ has supported work that the JKSK has been doing in the Tohoku region to promote the active involvement in various workshops and projects of women in the area. The group organized a Women’s Leadership Network to address immediate and long-term needs in several locations.

In the near future, the JKSK will bring a group of female Asian leaders to Fukushima to organize workshops. The goal is to share expertise and experience in handling crises, so that disasters such at that which occurred in Tohoku can be better dealt with and understood.

Mike Makino Fund
The ACCJ Mike Makino Fund for the Homeless is maintained by the ACCJ, for charities that focus on helping the homeless and hungry in Japan. Through the fund, the chamber has financially supported the “onigiri project,” in which volunteers distribute rice balls to feed hundreds of homeless people in Tokyo areas such as Ueno, Yoyogi, and Shinjuku parks.

As in the past, this year the Mike Makino Fund will support the Tokyo Union Church and the Franciscan Chapel Center, both of which sponsor and support the onigiri project.

As Paul Fukuda of the Tokyo Union Church’s Mission for Our Homeless Neighbors project recently noted, “It was found that two onigiri [per day] contained enough calories to keep these poor men and women alive until they could get back on their feet.”

Readers can watch a heartwarming video on the project and an interview with Fukuda on the ACCJ website.

The fund also supports the Sanyukai Homeless Center, which provides mental and physical care for those in need, medical care by volunteer doctors, as well as food, clothing, and shelter for the homeless.

The ACCJ Mike Makino Fund was named after the ACCJ’s dear friend and long-time contributor to CSAC, Shojiro (Mike) Makino.

Makino identified and vetted many of the charities the chamber has supported over the years and helped to establish the original ACCJ Fund for the Homeless. He passed away suddenly on October 10, 2009, at the age of 80. In naming this fund in his honor, Makino’s legacy lives on.

charity-post-1Smiling Hospital Japan
According to Smiling Hospital Japan’s mission, “Happiness helps healing.” The organization’s mission is to lift the spirits of children in the hospital, especially those who are very weak with low immunity levels, and those obliged to stay long periods.

It does this by engaging professional artists to provide entertainment.

Smiling Hospital Japan was established in February 2012 and became a registered nonprofit in December of that year. It started visitations the same year, and the concept has been well received by the children affected, their families, and hospital staff.

The ACCJ’s donation will help to fund a year’s worth of regular visits so the children have something to look forward to and can even participate in the programs that are presented.

Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund
charity-postTaylor Anderson was teaching English in the coastal city of Ishinomaki when the earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011.

The 24-year-old American woman had long wanted to become a bridge between the United States and Japan, a country that had intrigued her since childhood. Her dream was realized by becoming an assistant language teacher under the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme.

She taught at kindergartens and elementary and junior high schools, and was loved by her Japanese students because of her enthusiasm, dedication, and kindness. Although she was lost in the tsunami after helping to guide all her students to safety, Taylor’s inspiration and generous spirit lives on.

Her parents, Andy and Jean, believe she would have wanted them to carry on her dream and passion. They set about helping the children of Ishinomaki by creating reading corners in schools, inviting students to the United States, and implementing other projects. Alumni of her high school, St. Catherine’s in Virginia, were instrumental in raising initial funding.

To continue implementing these projects, the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund was established by her parents and supporters in Japan in December 2013.

In collaboration with nonprofit and other organizations engaging in Tohoku recovery efforts, the primary mission of the fund is to help students, schools, and families in the Ishinomaki area recover from the disaster.

charity-post-3YMCA Challenged Children’s Project (YMCA/ACCJ Ohisama Camp)
The YMCA Challenged Children Project began in 1987 in cooperation with the National Council of YMCAs of Japan and the Tokyo YMCA.

The project’s goals are to:

1. support through camps, the development of challenged children in order that they might develop self-confidence and skills for independent living and learning, and to support facilities for the challenged; and

2. support and promote integration of challenged children into mainstream society, by holding friendship camps, and to provide experience and training for current and future volunteers and professionals.

The funds raised by the ACCJ Charity Ball are used to support the YMCA/ACCJ Ohisama Camp, a Tokyo YMCA Center program held in late summer.

At the camp, an expected 40 children with conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, information processing disorders, and other learning/developmental disorders can enjoy the outdoors and participate in group activities.


Barbara Hancock is vice president of Media Sense K.K., and chair of the ACCJ Charity Ball Committee.




Kevin Naylor is a sales director at en world Japan K.K. and is vice chair of the ACCJ Charity Ball Committee.