Vicious racist attack prompts an outpouring of love and support for the victim.

Tadataka Unno, a New York-based Japanese jazz pianist, was assaulted by eight youths at a subway station on 27 September. It’s now unclear whether the 40-year-old, who suffered serious injuries, including a broken collarbone, will be able to return to performing again.

According to the New York Police Department, the incident occurred at around 7:30 p.m. at a subway station near the victim’s house. When Unno disembarked at the station after work, he was suddenly set upon and hit by a boy, who appeared to be a teenager, at the ticket gate.

Unno managed to escape outside the station but was chased and beaten by a group of about eight boys and girls. During the attack, he heard them saying the word “Chinese”. The suspects have not been arrested.

Following the incident, Unno was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance, which had been called to the scene by an eyewitness. He was found to have a broken right collarbone and bruises over his entire body. Though his injuries aren’t life-threatening, it’s not known when he’ll fully recover and he remains unable to perform and in pain over a week after the incident.

Unno recently became a first-time father in June, and he hasn’t been able to hold his son since the attack due to the pain from his injuries. The stress of the unprovoked attack also puts a question mark over whether he’ll be able to return to performing again, which is how he earns money to provide for his family.

▼ Unno performing in New York

While Unno became the unfortunate victim of a racist attack, people around the world responded with an outpouring of love and support. A GoFundMe campaign was set up by Unno’s friend and colleague, drummer Jerome Jennings, who describes Unno as “one of the kindest and gentlest souls”.

The campaign, which has now ended, raised US$89,611 in funds to help pay for Unno’s emergency medical bills, physical and mental therapy, and moving expenses to allow him and his family to move to a safer neighbourhood.

Unno said he’s unable to leave the house due to the mental and physical trauma from the attack, but he has expressed his heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated, saying he feels overwhelmed by their love and support.

This year has been a tough and stressful one for everyone, so it’s nice to see an outpouring of love to counteract racially charged acts of violence and division like this that have been occurring around the world. The best way to fight hate is with love and that’s something we need to practice now more than ever.

Source: Asahi Shimbun via Hachima Kikou 
Featured image: Pakutaso
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