Backpacks for Japan

UPDATE: Backpacks for Japan is still accepting financial donations to assist with the cost of shipping donated items to Japan. If you would like to make a donation contact Dr. Tomoko Iwai ( or email CJS and we can forward your message.

The message below comes via Dr. Tomoko Iwai in the EALL Department.

Dear all,

I’m sure many of you have already done your share to help out the victims of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan.

I ran across another way people are helping the victims in Japan and thought some of you may be interested. The Girl Scouts and others at Camp Zama, the US Army Base in Kanagawa, Japan are putting together backpacks filled with toys and other items for the children in the shelters.

I decided to send this to you because the other day I saw a picture of Japanese children in one of the shelters playing with a handmade sugoroku (Japanese board game). There were five or six kids huddled around this letter-size piece of paper. Having two kids of elementary school age, I thought those children need toys so that they can play especially in this trying time.

There is a contact person for this project in Hawaii. Major Nathan Ledbetter of the United States Army (and current UHM graduate student in Asian Studies), who used to be stationed at Camp Zama, is sending boxes to Camp Zama and will accept any donations (cash or toys, stationary, etc.) to include in the boxes. The items will be delivered by the members of the United States Armed Forces to the shelters in the affected areas.

All the second-graders at Manoa Elementary School are also writing cards to the Japanese children and doing extra chores at home to earn money to give to this cause.

If you would like to donate, you can contact Major Nathan Ledbetter ( I will be in contact with Major Ledbetter so you can contact me as well. Major Ledbetter asks that the donation be made on or before April 15th so there is enough time to pack and send the boxes.

Here is the website for the Operation Backpacks: the website has suggestions for what to donate.