We had hoped to be launching this new branch of the #SaveShenmueHD tree under happier circumstances, but nature recently had a cruel twist of fate in store which reminded us all how quickly life can be turned upside down and inside out.
In April, the month of our fiftieth Shenmue Tweetathon, a series of earthquakes up to 7.0 magnitude struck Japan, killing dozens and leaving thousands without homes. Fathers lost their sons, daughters lost their mothers, and entire neighborhoods were left sleeping in their cars and tents beyond the rubble.
The wide scale tragedy has brought back raw memories of an even bigger earthquake just five years ago, which unleashed a catastrophic tsunami that in turn caused a level 7 nuclear meltdown at a flooded power plant.
Then as now, vast numbers of evacuees relied on volunteers, officials, and international support to help them cope with losing everything they had. The strength of community and the kindness of strangers is never more apparent than in times of crisis.
However, evacuation centers following the tsunami were sadly unable to house pets alongside their owners, leaving many animals abandoned in the exclusion zones. Forced to fend for themselves, domesticated cats struggled to survive while the feral population grew out of control.
That’s when the Japan Cat Network stepped in, opening a shelter to rescue and neuter strays before hopefully rehoming them to a safe and loving environment. Like Ryo Hazuki and his young friend Megumi, these volunteers have shown a heart of gold, and we believe that by acting without hesitation to do the right thing, they embody the true spirit of Shenmue.
And so it’s with great anticipation that we officially launch the Shenmue Heart of Gold campaign, with a fundraiser to help the Japan Cat Network continue the great work they do on behalf of each one of us who frequented the Tomato Convenience Store – every single day – to pick up virtual dried fish and virtual milk for a virtual kitten we named either Mimi, Tama, or Chibi.
Did we mention the shelter has a real cat named Chibi? Check their website and see her for yourself!
But on your way there, stop by the fundraising page to learn more about the campaign, meet its official four-legged royal ambassador, and see what you can do to help:
The irrepressible energy of the Shenmue fan community can prove to the world once again that there is light at the end of even the longest tunnel, and passion conquers adversity every time. An especially important message for Japan right now.
So let’s demonstrate that famous Shenmue Heart of Gold and together we can pay forward to others just a little bit of that Shenmue III feeling we were gifted last year.
Starting where the game did: with the feline friends we love, and those who kept close to them when their families no longer could.