Team Japan, Kalamazoo College’s newest student organization, held two events this quarter to raise awareness about post-tsunami Japan. Senior Yuka Kutsumi, who is originally from Japan, started the group after a visit from her father gave her a new perspective on the March events.
While visiting K, Kutsumi said her father stayed attentive to the Japanese news. She said he told her that as a citizen of Japan, he feels it is his social obligation to grieve with the victims of the affected area.
“What I knew was just through the media here; I didn’t even know the atmosphere of Japan,” said Kutsumi. “I wanted to be a messenger between Japan and here.”
Team Japan’s first held a memorial service in Stetson Chapel where they observed a minute of silence for victims of the tsunami, discussed how Japan prepares for tsunamis and started an open discussion about the usefulness of nuclear power plants. They group also hosted a fundraiser on the quad and raised $734 for the Japanese Red Cross by selling bubble tea and hosting a raffle.
Kutsumi wanted more people to understand that Japan is functioning again. “I want to [clarify] the misunderstanding,” she said.
Though the name will change, the group has decided to continue next year as a Japanese cultural club.