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“Tiger Mask” Strikes Tenrikyo Orphanage

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Tenrikyo tends to be largely ignored by the Japanese media, so it was noteworthy to see a Tenrikyo-related facility being mentioned in an article on Asahi.com. It appears that the “Tiger Mask donation phenomenon” has even found its way to Tenri Yotokuin Children’s Home.

Below is a translation of the online article. (Click here for the original article in Japanese.)

“This Tiger Mask was actually a group of senior pupils who redistributed stashed snacks”

January 24, 2011 20:57 JST

Snacks and stationery were found in front of an orphanage housing young children in Tenri City, Nara Prefecture. A letter attached to the donation was signed “Date Naoto,” the main character of the manga “Tiger Mask.” The snacks happened to be the same kind that are usually handed out in the orphanage. The stationery goods happened divulge the names of its previous owners in full view. Older children living in the same facility had made a small yet thoughtful gift to their underclassmen.

The facility in question is Tenri Yotokuin Children’s Home (Director: Nakajima Michiharu). The children’s home houses 71 children between two and 18 years old that include victims of abuse.

The gifts were found on the morning of January 20 in front of the entrance of the Ume and Sakura (Plum and Cherry) wings, where 16 children between the ages of two and six live. There were snacks, picture books, as well as stationery such as rulers and triangles. A letter attached to the gift read as follows: “To Tenri Yotokuin Children’s Home (Ume and Sakura). We heard that there were many young children living here. After watching the news and reading the newspaper, we wanted to help too so we brought these items. Please keep doing your best. Date Naoto (Tiger Mask)—four individuals—and Date Naoko—one individual plus two from junior high, two from 6th grade, and one from 5th grade.”

Only a child from the Yotokuin Children’s Home would know the names of the wings as Ume and Sakura. The letter looked as if it was written by someone in the higher grades of elementary school or the 1st year of junior high. The snacks were the same kind that just had been passed out earlier. By turning over the rulers that been covered with some correction fluid, one could still see the names of older children living in the same facility.

Four days earlier on the 16th, another “Tiger Mask” had shown up. A junior high school student visited the children’s home with her mother and expressed their wish to make a donation. They anonymously left otoshidama envelopes containing 4,000 yen, stationery, and snacks.

Director Nakajima had said, “They must have been inspired this gesture by the junior high school student who was about the same age as they were. I am very happy they have cultivated a kindness toward younger kids and refrained from eating their snacks at an age when it’s not unusual to want to eat more than one’s share.”

This story was presented at a section meeting at the Japan Teachers’ Union‘s National Conference on Educational Research held in Ibaraki Prefecture. (Masutani Fumio)

translated by TR Translation Staff

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