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Crowdfunding donations to rebuild Shuri Castle after fire top 100 million yen in 2 days

Messages in support of the rebuilding of Shuri Castle are seen on a board set up at a concert venue in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, on Nov. 3, 2019. (Mainichi/Tadashi Sano)
The inside of Shuri Castle complex that was consumed by a fire is seen in the Okinawa Prefecture capital of Naha on Nov. 2, 2019. (Mainichi)

NAHA -- Crowdfunding donations for the reconstruction of Shuri Castle, which burned down in a predawn fire on Oct. 31, had topped 100 million yen as of around 6 p.m. on Nov. 3, just two days after the donation drive began.

The Naha Municipal Government took to online crowdfunding on Nov. 1 after the main hall and other buildings of the popular castle in the city of Naha in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa were reduced to ashes. While the initial 100-million-yen target was quickly achieved, the city will continue to accept donations through the end of March next year.

Separately, a charity concert to raise funds for the castle's reconstruction was held in front of a commercial complex in the heart of Naha on Nov. 3.

The concert was organized by a group of volunteers who wanted to provide some form of assistance in the wake of the blaze. Centering on young people, the volunteers included musicians living in Okinawa Prefecture and students at the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts located near the castle. During the show, participants staged traditional Ryukyu performing arts, and some of the shoppers crowding the facility over the three-day weekend made donations.

Haruhi Nakazato, 19, a student at the university and a member of the Okinawan music vocal group Nenes, was among those calling for donations. "I hope there will come a day when we can see Shuri Castle once again," she said.

Visitors to the event attached cards bearing their messages of support for the reconstruction efforts to a board set up at the venue.

(Japanese original by Tadashi Sano, Kyushu News Department, and Takayasu Endo, Naha Bureau)

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