Chairman Sasakawa Joins Cosplayers from Around the World to Promote Awareness of Ocean DebrisCleanup event held at Tokyo Tower
In recent years, cosplay has spread beyond Japan to become an activity that is popular around the world. On June 8, cosplayers from Japan and other countries gathered at Tokyo Tower in central Tokyo, dressed as characters from anime (Japanese-style animation), manga (Japanese-style comics), and video games to participate in the “Nationwide Cleanup Campaign by domestic and foreign cosplayers at Tokyo Tower,” as part of The Nippon Foundation’s Change for the Blue program. A total of 430 cosplayers, including representatives of countries including Italy, Mexico, and Taiwan, collected roughly 90 bags (2,700 liters) of trash in the area around Tokyo Tower.
Umigomi is a combination of the Japanese words for ocean (umi) and waste or trash (gomi), and refers to ocean debris consisting primarily of drifting plastic waste. One of the main themes of the day was to emphasize the fact that roughly 80% of ocean debris flows into the ocean from cities and towns, meaning that reducing litter on land is essential to preventing ocean debris from accumulating. It was also noted that globally, roughly 8 million tons of plastic debris flows into the ocean every year, and that if this trend continues, by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
Prior to the cleanup activity, a panel discussion was held featuring “Real Life Hero” Pulizia, a cosplayer from Nagoya who participates in cleanup events across Japan, Rikiya Takahashi of the gomi hiroi samurai (trash collecting samurai) modern samurai performance group “Issei Ichidai Jidaigumi,” which organizes cleanup activities in Sapporo, Hokkaido and Shibuya, Tokyo, and Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation. Under the concept of “Let’s start doing what we can today,” the panel discussed various issues related to ocean debris. Pulizia and Mr. Takahashi spoke primarily based on their own activities. Mr. Unno appealed to the cosplayers, noting, “Reducing everyday trash will not only make towns and cities cleaner, it will make the ocean cleaner as well. To resolve the problem of ocean debris, it is important to ‘first, know about’ the problem.”
After the discussion, cosplayers from around the world took the stage and were joined by The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa, who was dressed as Monkey D. Luffy from the manga series “One Piece.” Imitating the character’s voice, Mr. Sasakawa exhorted the cosplayers, declaring, “I am Luffy, and I’m searching for the pirate king. Lately, however, I see much trash when I sail the ocean. Trash from cities on land flows into the ocean. Today, with cosplayers from around the world, let’s start working to eliminate ocean debris!”
Public Relations Team
The Nippon Foundation
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