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News Sugihara Museum in Lithuania saved


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Last October, it was reported that the museum dedicated to the "Japanese Schindler", Sugihara Chiune, in Kaunas, Lithuania, was on the brink of closure due to a lack of funds during the coronavirus pandemic. A tour conductors’ group and the museum’s operator jointly launched a crowdfunding campaign, which had raised some 5.4 million JPY as of 9 October toward its goal of 8 million JPY.

In total, the campaign managed to rake in over 10 million JPY which were handed over last Tuesday in an online ceremony held in Japan and Lithuania.

Miura and Lithuanian ambassador to Japan Gediminas Varvuolis were among the Dec. 15 ceremony attendees in Tokyo. In Lithuania, Japan's ambassador Shiro Yamasaki joined Ramunas Garbaravicius, director of the private "Sugihara 'Diplomats for life' foundation" that runs Sugihara House, and who accepted the donation certificate. "We thank you for extending the hand of help. Everyone in Japan who gave us support, you are true friends," Garbaravicius stated. Sugihara House's collection includes an explanation of the late diplomat's deeds, and usually attracts about 20,000 visitors a year -- about 85% of them Japanese. However, with its doors temporarily closed due to the pandemic, there have been no paying visitors, threatening the museum with permanent closure.That's when Miura, whose job includes organizing tours to Lithuania, set about launching the crowdfunding campaign. The collected monies will all go to running Sugihara House. Donor comments left on the crowdfunding site included, "Mr. Chiune Sugihara is the pride of all Japanese people," "I want to go (to the museum) someday, so please stay open," and "Together, let's keep protecting the bonds between our two countries forged by those who went before us." Some 70% of the donations were apparently from people who had visited Sugihara House before. There was even one donation from a primary school third-grader.

Our article on Sugihara Chiune will be published this month. :)
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