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. Kimmie

    This story just made my heart smile.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jake

    simply awesome!

    January 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Superman

    Perhaps there is a chance of this catching in on in other countries. Where is Super Bank or Oil Person when you need them? Leave it to the people and not big business to help each other. Big business would probably slap a logo for advertising on the backpacks vice the simple gesture of good will! I'm really not a comunist or socialist...just a general observation.

    January 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      The big corporations would rather invest their charitable donations on other countries. Isn't that right Mr. Gates?

      January 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • AD

      You mean to tell me corporations would do things like spend 2 million dollars to advertise a 100k donation to a charity? Tell me it isn't so.

      January 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • levend

      Bill Gates is at least trying to help what are you doing?I hate people who whinge and whine, I ask what are you doing to help? Nothing probably so until you start doing something you don't have the right to complain.

      January 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • sleestak

      @Jon,

      In the future, you might want to do a bit of research before posting. My wife is a teacher at a high school that received $1 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as part of tens of millions of dollars invested right here in the USA with the goal of improving public education. They also support other charitable causes here in the USA. So yeah, you really come across as a fool.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Karen

    The best things in the world are done without any need for a Thank you!

    January 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GuerillaGorilla

    I've made donations in a similar manner. Of course the donations were character appropriate (provided it wasn't trademarked) with the programs...

    January 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tiger Mask

    Let's get the story correct. The whole phenomenon began when the 10 Rucksacks were delivered to the prefectural offices located in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo, not in Tokyo itself.

    It's good to see that the donations are actually going directly to the facilities or programs instead of so-called NGO/NPO's that tend to have "expenses" before anything is distributed out...

    January 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jojo

    nice story. dont mind the psycho haters posting their hate filled drivel.

    January 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The executive director The O'garra enterprises inc.

    This is a very admirable gesture to further the events that some of us are called to be part of in our very long time may the green diamond lead us to continue our quest for victory over the axis of evil forces.

    January 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. j.wainland

    Every. Opportunity I have I donate what I can to children that are not as fortunate as others If the money is not avaIlable I donate my heart to do what I can to help children. Any time what ever it is that you can give of yourself or financially is a wonderful thing. I loved hearing something positive. My hat is off. To all those who give. With their hearts

    January 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dirty White Trash

    Can somebody please ! Pass the POPCORN !!!..

    January 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DarkLogic

    Now, if only people in the US were as philanthropic as the people who did this...

    January 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marlin

      Please dont troll.

      January 14, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • sleestak

      @DarkLogic

      You might want to do some research too. The USA tops the list of charitable contributions, at almost $29 billion/year. The next highest – France – has $16 billion less, at about $13 billion.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_charitable_countries

      The Google search that found that info took me about 5 seconds. Do some research to avoid looking like a knee-jerk America-hating fool.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      DarkLogic – Respect the Sleestak! Do you live in the Land of the Lost Research?

      January 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ktkt

    this story made me smile. its great to hear that people still do things knowing that they wouldn't recieve something in return. but the children recieving the gifts will have a BIG smile on their faces, and will remember this forever. donations were supposed to be like this. somehow it changed. thats sad.
    I'm just hoping that this trend lasts and that other people in other countries start the same trend so that children have a chance to smile. also, a childs smile can change the future for all of us.

    January 11, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bad driver

    I'm in the mood for sushi....

    January 12, 2011 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. Yams

    When I was 8 , idolizing superheros was cute. Now at 40, not so cute.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • sleestak

      I feel sorry for you, so old while still so young.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • THX

      If it makes people happy and isn't hurting anyone, it's perfectly fine to have fun. It's called being 'young at heart' – something the world could use a lot more of these days. There's more than enough cynicism and Scroogery out there. Something should balance it out.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mr774

    タイガーマスクがついに全国制覇だそうです。
    以下は日本で有名な某掲示板のカキコより。

    これ最初に始めた人、頭いいな。
    たった一人で始めたことがあっと言う間に全国に広まったw
    「やらない善よりやる偽善」

    January 12, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
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