Three things changed that. The first was a video I saw of an entire village, on fire, literally being swept away by flood waters. I’d seen tsunamis topple buildings before, turn over cars and such, but a whole village? The second came when fifty of the workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant chose not to evacuate, but to stay behind and face lethal doses of radiation in a futile attempt to stop the meltdown. Their level of sacrifice and bravery underlined, for me, the seriousness of the situation in a way nothing else could. The third came when I read the post of a nineteen-year-old college student named Matt Funk on Twitter.
Matt was looking for artists to illustrate several short stories he had written. He planned to collect them for a charity anthology, called “Fairy Tales for Japan”, and sell the book through his website. I volunteered but, soon after, logistical problems forced Matt to call it off. I understood the problems he faced but felt Matt’s idea deserved another shot. With his permission, I picked up the project. It turns out that I didn’t understand as much as I thought I did.
I tried to maintain Matt’s direction but made a few changes. First, was to shelve the idea of doing a print run. It’s costly and, if the sales were weak, we might not cover the cost, leaving nothing to donate. However, selling the book as a digital download would almost completely eliminate the expense, allowing us to donate all proceeds toward Japan.
The second change was to broaden the types of material accepted to include poetry, fairy tales, action, modern day, children’s and adult stories, as well as stand-alone artwork and spot illustrations. The only stipulation was each submission had to relate to Japanese Folklore in some way. The book was renamed “Fables for Japan,” to reflect the diverse body of works being collected.
Lastly, the scope and timeline for the book was expanded. It was divided into three smaller books and spaced out over a year, allowing us a somewhat timely release to start raising money but keeping us flexible to accommodate busy freelancer schedules.
While we faced many obstacles along the way, a year later we had finished all 3 volumes of “Fables for Japan” and raised just over $2000.00. We donated that money to the International Medical Corps who continue to work with various groups in Japan, treating and helping to relocate the thousands still displaced from the Fukushima meltdown. Oh yeah, and my second son was born with the release of the 3rd book...it was a busy year for me.
With the books complete and the sales tapering off, we decided to make them available to everyone for free. These books are our memorial to those who lost their lives in the quake of 2011 and to those who have carried on.
I will be posting the individual stories and artwork on this site, one story a week, for all to enjoy. I hope that you subscribe to this blog and come back each week to enjoy a new story. And if you can't wait, you can always download each book in PDF version HERE!
A lot of love went into this project and we hope you’ll enjoy and appreciate these tales. All we ask is, if you are able, to please make a donation in whatever amount you can afford to the International Medical Corps at the following link:
Jason Temujin Minor
February 15, 2013