Nozomu Tokugawa, co-owner of Chado-En tea company, has roots in Hiroshima and has lost both family and friends to nuclear radiation. "When I heard about the earthquake, tsunami and power plant radiation, it became a mission to find a way to help the Japanese people overcome this catastrophic pain," he says.
Chado-En is branding an honorary tea with the symbolic, sacred cherry blossom and donating 100 percent of the profits from its sale to raise relief funds for those affected by the earthquake, tsunami and power plant disasters. Profits from sales of the tea, called Sakura Karigane, will go to Second Harvest Japan, a nonprofit organization that has provided food and other aid to people in Japan since 2000. In addition, the founding family behind Chado-En plans to donate $10,000 in matching funds.
Sakura Karigane, a blend of Karigane tea and Sakura (cherry tree) leaves, is high in the amino acid derivative L-theanine, known to promote alertness and calm. "With Sakura Karigane, we want to encourage a sense of hope and rebirth and enable people not to focus on devastation, but to turn that energy toward powerful healing," says Chado-En co-owner Donna Tokugawa. "Part of our passion is to use our teas to affect the world in a positive way, and, right now, our goal is to support Japan through this challenging restoration."
Sakura Karigane tea comes packaged in a rice paper bag depicting the cherry blossom and the tagline "Help Japan Blossom." Tea may be purchased through donation amounts of $20 to $500. The tea's production has been heavily discounted to ensure maximal donations go to Japan and to continue supporting Japanese tea farmers, whom the Tokugawas will visit later this spring. Their specialty business, Chado-En sells premium Asian teas under the brand Cha-no-Aji or The Taste of Tea.