Love Livers also turn down any compensation for their generosity.

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing, so is Japan’s mask shortage. Facial coverings remain incredibly hard to find at retail stores, with shipments selling out as soon s they arrive, and a government program to distribute masks to households has faced criticism for both the unimpressive quantity and quality of the masks provided.

The situation just got a little better in the town of Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, though. On April 13, Numazu mayor Shuichi Yorishige received an email from a party saying “We heard that there are people in Numazu who have been infected with the coronavirus, so we are worried and want to donate masks.” The offer wasn’t coming from elsewhere in the prefecture of even somewhere in Japan, though, but from a group of concerned individuals in China.

Though Numazu has a population of about 185,000 people, it doesn’t have anywhere near the international recognition of Tokyo, Kyoto, or Japan’s other must-visit travel destinations. However, Numazu is very much on the radar of anime otaku by virtue of being the setting of high school idol singer series Love Live! Sunshine!!, and the email offering the masks came from a group of Love Live! fans, or Love Livers, as they’re called, living in Shanghai.

Love Live! Sunshine!!

The Shanghai Love Livers collectively bought 10,000 masks, which they then shipped to Japan. The shipment arrived in Numazu on Thursday in boxes bearing a message borrowed from the lyrics of Love Live! Sunshine!! sone “Omoi wa Hitotsu ni Nare.”

“Our hopes are one
Wherever you are
We believe in the same tomorrow”

– From your friends in China

▼ Yorishige stands next to the shipment while holding a sign thanking the donors.

“On behalf of the people of Numazu, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” tweeted Yorishige, and other Japanese Twitter users also expressed their gratitude and joy at the unexpected anime-triggered generosity.

“Otaku are the best!”
“This is the power of otaku energy.”
“Thank you, Chinese Love Livers!”
“Anime has no national borders!”

As a token of the town’s gratitude for the mass, which are being distributed to public health and medical facilities, the Numazu city government offered to send their otaku benefactors some Love Live! Sunshine!! merch. However, the Shanghai Love Livers declined the offer, since all they wanted to do was help, and in doing so becoming another example of how difficult times can inspire us to acts of deeply touching kindness.

Sources: Twitter/@YorishigeNumazu via Hachima Kiko, Shizuoka Shimbun SBS
Top image: YouTube/Lantis Channel
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