Noble goal of promoting music education shadowed by personal needs.

To celebrate the Japanese online shopping website Zozotown’s most profitable New Year’s sales this year, billionaire CEO Yusaku Maezawa generously doled out one million yen (US$9,229) to 100 random people over the Internet a few days ago.

And so Japanese Twitter user and music teacher @komashin502 could not believe his eyes when he received a direct message from the CEO. Currently living in Amman, the capital of Jordan, he teaches music to Palestinian refugee elementary school kids and aims to lift their hopes up through the wonders of music.

▼ What a lucky thing to happen to a nice guy!
(Translation below)

The message reads:

“Hello, I am Maezawa, the real thing! Thank you for showing interest in my campaign. I will get straight to the point: you have been chosen!!! You may not believe it, but it’s true. Congratulations!!!

Please make good use of the one million yen! Schools are fortunate to have musical instruments. Great is the power of music.

Feel free to tweet this message in your feed and state what you will spend it on. I hope it will be used for significant things. I will wire over the one million yen, so please reply back to this message with your bank account details.”

Having received Yusaku’s blessings, @komashin502 realized he could do a lot for the Palestinian refugees suffering from the Arab–Israeli conflict with the money gained:

“I’ve finally calmed down, but my hands are still shaking. I won’t be using this money for myself, but instead to help restore music education to Palestinian refugees. The children over here deserve aesthetic cultivation just like in other countries.”

▼ Netizens and even the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Japan applauded his noble act.
(Translation of excerpt below)

“As the difficult situation continues, such news is very encouraging. We express our utmost gratitude. We hope that the refugees will have excellent opportunities to cultivate their aesthetic sensibilities, and we will pray for you, too.”

Two days after @komashin502’s charitable pledge, however, he had second thoughts about parting with money.

▼ He explained his situation in a long series of tweets. (Translation below)

“I know I will be criticized for this, but I have decided to use this money for myself. It will go towards maintaining my daily life and relieving some stress. First, I have no savings and I intend to repay laptop and training loans. I cannot frivolously spend my money. People who have debts would understand me, as such loans stick with us for a long time.

Second, I have a girlfriend and I want her to understand that I am saving up money for the two of us. I want to meet her.

Next is Arabic, something which I felt was needed for me to learn. In order to keep attending classes, I am currently surviving on 30-yen instant ramen. When I enroll in the next course, my finances will take a hit from the tuition fees.

I also require a printer and an electronic keyboard. These are rather expensive items, but will certainly help my work at school or at the office.

The last is my donation to the school, which would make up more than 500,000 yen. I will discuss this with my employers, but this would be poured into music education funding and hopefully replace old musical instruments.”

Netizen reactions were mixed, with some sympathizing with his plight while a few condemned his decision:

“Maezawa should just contribute directly instead.”
“I feel sorry for both the kids and him.”
“So he used charity as an excuse to get the money?”
“You’re not serious about donating at all, because you would have set aside money for the refugees first and not the other way around.”

While @komashin502 was not wrong to prioritize his own needs, he should have carefully thought it through before raising the consulate’s and people’s hopes up. After all, he would certainly not appreciate it if Yusaku Maezawa suddenly went back on his word and refused to dole out that one million yen.

Source: Twitter/@komashin502, Twitter/@PalestineEmb via Kinisoku
Top image: Pakutaso