DASH Island is a small island TOKIO will try to transform into a home, it was announced on August 31, reports Chunichi Sports.
The preview for the new project was revealed on their September 2 episode of variety show “ザ！鉄腕！DASH!! (The! Tetsuwan! DASH!!)”, and will start on September 16.
It has been reported the five members first stepped onto DASH Island on August 29, which is a several-hour plane trip and boat trip from Tokyo. The island covers about 0.45 square kilometres of land, and its highest peak is 174 metres above sea level. A few hundred people had lived on the island decades ago, but it has been abandoned since 1965.
TOKIO had spent 11 years making DASH Village in Fukushima, right until last year’s Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear accident which had forced the team to evacuate from the area. The area is part of a planned evacuation zone, which has made it difficult for the five to even visit the village.
Instead, the members will use the skills they’ve learnt over the past 12 years to try and create a mini Japan on their island.
“I’m excited like a little kid being put in this environment which is just teeming with adventure. There’s no running water, electricity, or area we could use as a base. We’re really starting from nothing, and I wonder what kind of DASH Island this is going to become…I think we’ll get a lot out of this,” Tatsuya Yamaguchi said.
Taichi Kokubun, who explored the island’s coast, said he was excited to find traces of old life.
“I’ve found so many interesting places and things made by the people who used to live here.”
Masahiro Matsuoka, who went through the island’s forest, said he was confident there were enough resources to keep the group alive.
“The mountain is quite high and steep. Around the base it’s like a jungle. But there are a lot of things in the mountains and the sea that we might be able to eat so I think we’ll be alright.”
Tackey & Tsubasa, Hey! Say! JUMP, and TOKIO members went to the three prefectures most devastated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami on March 25 to hand over 720 million yen’s worth (about 8.7 million US dollars) of donations, reports Sports Hochi, Sankei News, and Chunichi Sports.
Members from each group traveled to Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures to deliver the money raised through Marching J to each prefecture’s governor. According to Johnny’s & Associates, since the charity was set up a year ago, more than 920 million yen has been raised. This time, 720 million yen is being handed over, and the remaining 200 million yen or so will be handed over in May when the donations collected during KAT-TUN’s tour, scheduled to finish on April 28, can also be added to the lot.
It has been reported Hideaki Takizawa and Tsubasa Imai visited Iwate prefecture to hand over a portion of the donations. Takizawa has a special connection with the area, which he visited a number of times while filming NHK’s Taiga drama “義経 (Yoshitsune)”, and had even visited it by himself last year as a volunteer. On March 24 the two had visited Rikuzentakata and saw the famous one Japanese pine tree which survived the tsunami, and met some of the locals.
“I could see how strong-hearted everyone in Tohoku is. It’s something that makes you stand tall,” Imai said.
“A lot of the debris has been taken away, and I feel like I’m seeing how united the Japanese have become. It’s really encouraging,” Takizawa said.
Iwate’s governor also thanked the two for coming, and had said in turn the Johnny’s talents were encouraging the young people in the area so much more by visiting the area in person.
The two also visited Ofunato, which was where one of the power supply cars Johnny’s usually use for concerts was sent. The agency had lent out a number of these cars for free after the earthquake to help supply electricity to areas destroyed by the tsunami. One local told the two talents how much it had meant to the 300 people staying in their evacuation centre.
“When the power supply car arrived on March 19 and made the light’s turn on, there was a roar of applause throughout the hall. It was a special light in the dark for all of us.”
It has been reported Hey! Say! JUMP’s Ryosuke Yamada, Yuri Chinen, Hikaru Yaotome, and Kota Yabu had visited Miyagi prefecture to hand over another portion of the donations.
“I hope this money will help build a future for the children who lost their parents in the earthquake,” Yabu said.
“My dad and brother (living in Miyagi) had told me how bad things where up here. People who live in cold areas like this are perseverant, and I hope they can aim for the future at their own pace,” Yaotome said.
TOKIO’s Shigeru Joshima and Tatsuya Yamaguchi surprised locals when they came on stage during a music event in Fukushima prefecture to deliver the final portion of donations. Their group has been going back and forth between Tokyo and Fukushima prefecture to develop DASH村 (DASH village) for their TV show for more than 10 years.
“Fukushima is our second home. But to get to DASH village now, we need special permission,” said Joshima.
“We won’t let it end here. TOKIO’s also going to hold on strong to hope,” said Yamaguchi.
TOKIO’s upcoming single “KIBOU” will be released as a double single with “羽田空港の奇跡 (Haneda Airport no Kiseki)” on February 29, reports Daily Sports Online.
“KIBOU” was supposed to be released on February 1, and is being used in mail delivery service Yamato Transport’s TV commercial. Record company J Storm has commented the release date had been delayed because the commercial’s TV spot had been delayed.