“I heard about Ippon Matsu Beer from one of my customers,” said Shoji Kobatake, the proprietor of a brew pub in Tokyo. He was referring to the charity initiative inspired by the “miracle pine” that remained standing among 70,000 other trees that were tragically washed away by the tsunami on March 11, 2011. Inspired by that symbol of hope, New York-based designer Kota Kobayashi embarked on a project to raise money for victims by selling his home-made beer to friends and acquaintances. “I was honestly moved by the fact that they are doing what they can to help people that are so far away from them,” said Kobatake.
Two years ago Kobayashi held a fundraiser in Tokyo with the help of Kobatake. Import restrictions made it difficult for Kobayashi to bring his New York brew to Japan so Kobatake brewed Ippon Matsu Beer for the event. A charity auction took place with many brands and artists contributing items to be auctioned off to raise funds for Tohoku. One of the collaborators was Tokyo Bike, who donated 3 bikes to the charity auction, and 1 bicycle to be ridden 500 km up to Rikuzentakata in order to deliver the funds. 8 riders took turns and the entire process was documented in a fantastic video that was shown at the 5-year fundraiser that took place in New York last week.
If you’re in Tokyo you can still attend the Tokyo fundraiser happening once again at Pizza Slice happening this weekend on March 12, 2016.