EMI Artists, Songwriters Raise $940,000 for Japanese Red Cross Disaster Relief
EMI Artists, Songwriters Raise $940,000 for Japanese Red Cross Disaster Relief

As the depth of the Japan crisis becomes better known, the nation's music industry continues offering help.

Johnny & Associates, the powerhouse Japanese music management company/agency, announced that they have canceled all domestic concerts by their artists in March because they will lend gratis transport and power unit trucks to disaster-stricken areas.

The cancellations total 18 shows by 6 artists including Tokio, Tackey & Tsubasa, Hey! Say! JUMP, and Tomohisa Yamashita.

The agency, which has seen tremendous success with boy bands like SMAP and Kat-tun, released a statement saying: "If it helps the disaster relief effort in the affected areas we are prepared to lend (the buses and power generators) for emergency transport, carrying relief supplies, providing electricity to hospitals, and the like."

Johnny & Associates will also donate 2000 liters of diesel fuel that had been earmarked for Tomohisa Yamashita's concerts.

Since the crisis started Japanese idol superstar Ayumi Hamasaki has been constantly retweeting useful information for people affected by the disaster, and with 400,000 followers his dispatches could be very useful.

A Japanese music website recently revealed that Hamasaki will collaborate with the fashion magazine ViVi to sell T shirts with the profits going to the relief effort. The shirts will be themed around hope.

The popular rapper Verbal, a member of chart-toping band m-flo as well as Teriyaki Boyz (who have worked with Pharrell and Kanye West, among others) told Billboard that he was going to take billboard space earmarked for promoting his first solo CD, "Vision Air" (Avex) and rework it to benefit victims of the crisis.

He says he "has spent all his time thinking about (the victims)" since the quake and will release for free his new single "We Are One" (not included on his album). The rapper will encourage fans to lay their own messages of unity, or pleas for help in finding loved ones, over his rhythm and distribute the track as they see fit.

He added he would use the billboard space to give away physical copies of the single, and promote the concept of his 'open source' track, which he stressed should be used to aid earthquake victims as each person sees fit.