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Madison:  First Lady Tonette Walker and the sister-state organization Wisconsin-Chiba Inc. announced today the Wisconsin-Chiba Japan Relief Project, organized to raise money for Japanese relief efforts, on behalf of the people of Wisconsin.

“The recent devastation of the earthquake and related tsunami has been deeply painful to observe,” said the First Lady. “When I learned that Wisconsin’s sister-state Chiba had been affected by the disaster, I couldn’t help but be moved to action.”

Since 1990, Wisconsin has shared a warm sister-state friendship with Chiba, Japan. Wisconsin-Chiba Inc. and the First Lady, who is serving as Honorary Chairwoman of the Wisconsin-Chiba Japan Relief Project, have collaborated to create a Wisconsin-specific fundraising project, represented by a unique logo, to join in the support for the Japanese relief effort. 

“With much thought, we have developed a beautiful and culturally sensitive logo to represent Wisconsin’s support for the Japanese relief effort. The two kanji symbols together form a compound word meaning friendship and are symbolically positioned to show Wisconsin’s support of the Rising Sun,” said Kevin Crawford, President of Wisconsin-Chiba Inc. “We think the artwork does a great job of visually telling the story of Wisconsin’s care for our Japanese friends who are suffering in so many ways.”

The Wisconsin-Chiba Japan Relief Project will be an ongoing effort to raise both awareness of, and money for, Japan, through various fundraisers and initiatives. One hundred percent of donations made to the Wisconsin-Chiba Japan Relief Project, collected by Wisconsin-Chiba Inc., will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross.

“Our hearts go out to our friends in Japan during this difficult time,” said Walker. “We are asking people in Wisconsin to please make a contribution to the Wisconsin-Chiba Japan Relief Project to show Wisconsin’s unified support for Japan.”


Description of the artwork:

The letter ‘O’ of the word Wisconsin represents the Rising Sun of the Japanese flag. Embedded in the middle of the word ‘Wisconsin,’ it symbolizes the arms of the people of Wisconsin embracing their friends, the people of Japan.

The Rising Sun in this image is supported by two kanji symbols, characters in Japanese script.  The kanji on the left means ‘friend’ while the kanji on the right means ‘like.’ The two kanji together form a compound word meaning friendship and are symbolically positioned to show Wisconsin’s support of the Rising Sun. 

The triangular set up of the Rising Sun over the kanji for friendship symbolizes ‘many, many’ or ‘much’.  In this case, many, many warm thoughts of friendship and love on behalf of the people of Wisconsin in support of our dear friends in Japan. 




Products ranging from t-shirts and sweatshirts to coffee mugs and bumper stickers, which feature the project’s logo, are available for purchase at


Tax-deductable donations in the name of the Wisconsin-Chiba Japan Relief Project should include a note in the memo, be made payable to Wisconsin-Chiba Inc., and be sent to the attention of Kevin Crawford, President of Wisconsin-Chiba Inc., 2210 Woodland Dr., Manitowoc, WI54220.

About Wisconsin-Chiba, Inc.:

Wisconsin-Chiba Inc., is a sister-state organization which promotes educational, cultural, science, and technological exchanges, creating bonds of friendship and understanding between the people of Chiba, Japan and Wisconsin USA. Wisconsin Chiba Inc. was established in 1990 after the signing of the Sister-State agreement. Governors Tommy G. Thompson (Wisconsin) and Takeshi Numata (Chiba) joined their respective states in 1990 as "sister states," creating a business, cultural and educational partnership. Wisconsin Chiba Inc. is an entirely non-profit, tax exempt, volunteer organization.