Gifts from 'comic heroes' help Japan's orphans
A children's welfare center worker in Nagano poses with donations that say the gifts are from "Naoto Date," the ring name of a comic character.
January 11th, 2011
11:32 AM ET

Gifts from 'comic heroes' help Japan's orphans

Children's homes and other social service facilities across Japan are reporting a rash of donations in the name of a 1960s comic superhero and other fictional characters.

Most of the anonymous donations are being made in the name of "Naoto Date," a hero of pro wrestling comics in the "Tiger Mask" series, which dates to the 1960s, according to media reports. In the series, the hero, an orphan himself, make donations to children's homes, according to a Reuters report.

The donation flurry began on Christmas Day, when 10 leather school backpacks, valued at several hundred dollars each, were left at a Tokyo child care facility.

This week, donors are giving under the names of other cartoon characters, according to a report in the Mainichi Daily News.

In Okayama prefecture Tuesday, backpacks were dropped off at a children's care home in the name of Momotaro (Peach Boy), a folktale hero, Mainichi reported.

"I was touched by the emergence of 'Naoto Date' across the nation. I hope all the kind people's wishes will spread across the country and that these gestures will brighten the future of children," a letter left with those gifts said. It was signed, "Your hero Momotaro, not Naoto Date," according to the Mainichi report.

At another facility gifts were left in the name of "Jo Yabuki," an old cartoon character, according to a Japan Times report.

Other donations across Japan on Tuesday included more backpacks, rice, fruits and vegetables and cash, Mainichi reported.

The donations are giving Japanese citizens something to find hope in during troubling economic times. Average citizens can be part of "a heartwarming story in a time of social anxiety," national broadcaster NHK report.

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Filed under: Japan
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Nighthhaaawk

    Maybe we need a little hope in the form of a superhero in the USA!

    January 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Marco Polo

    What is not mentioned in the story is that, "Naoto Date", the character in the Tiger Mask comic/anime, was an orphan. So, that is of some meaning in this story.

    Maybe the person donating these items was also an orphan?

    January 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brian

      Actually, it does say in the story that the character was an orphan.

      I've quote the relevent portion below:

      ------
      Most of the anonymous donations are being made in the name of "Naoto Date," a hero of pro wrestling comics in the "Tiger Mask" series, which dates to the 1960s, according to media reports. In the series, the hero, an orphan himself, make donations to children's homes, according to a Reuters report.
      --------
      Reading is fundamental.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GiveThemAVoice

    This is why we can't have this in the US: http://diasawyer.blogspot.com/2011/01/dia-sawyer-my-hope-is-that-one-day.html

    In case you don't want to look at the site, it is a story of gifts being bought for kids in Foster Care being opened and returned by DHS employees. Many in Foster care don't get much at all. If they do it is from the Foster parents who have taken them in.

    Why hasn't CNN covered this?

    January 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Romulan

    I love Mazinger and Mazinger Z.

    January 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mik

    Great story and heart warming, I just wonder if maybe some new comics are about to be published featuring the character and this generates interest and helps people, oh, I'm a cynical bar steward.

    January 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Wishes people could read before they post

    @Marco Polo: It does say that "Naoto Date" was an Orphan. Paragraph 2,"Naoto Date,"...an orphan himself, make donations to children's homes"

    January 12, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Masa D. Luffy

    I really love Tomorrow's Joe, so when I read this and heard someone with the pseudonym 'Joe Yabuki' was donating, I thought that was way cool. :)

    January 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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