Donation to Amnesty & MSF for the Black Friday
Because business should also be about doing the right things
The “Black Friday”, followed by its web version “Cyber Monday”, also known as the BFCM period has become the most iconic day of the consumerism doctrine: no matter if you need it or not, buy, always buy and buy more.
As responsible Budoka, and very consistently with the type of product we sell, high end / highly durable handcrafted products, we have evolved to the point where we refuse to support this doctrine any longer. This is the reason why we have decided not to offer any special deal during this period and our November discount will stay active until the end of the month as usual.
However, we know that it’s a period where we are all stimulated and our desire to purchase is significantly higher than usual. This is why we have decided to donate as much as 15% of our sales to charities. We will present our actions in detailed in this article.
As said above, to go against the consumerism doctrine. But let’s go into details.
Mass production and excessive consumption have led to a catastrophic reduction of available natural resources on one end, and to a never-ending human exploitation.
Our industry has reached the cliff and is threatened to simply disappear within a few decades, for several reasons:
- The lack of high-quality natural resources (timber for wooden weapons for example).
- The lack of young craftsmen with vocation, because of the price war that pushes craftsmen to keep their price too low for a comfortable living, and are sometimes even requested to match the prices of products coming from China.
- The lack of awareness of the situation from both sellers (such as Seido) and buyers who often end up buying cheap products made in very low wages countries such as Pakistan or Vietnam, which on the long run weakens the Japanese industry.
Seido has always been aware of those flaws and is fighting against them on a daily basis.
Firstly, by offering products that are fairly priced, very strictly selected, and presented for what they are, with much details but no superlatives.
Secondly, by publishing articles and videos about the situation of the industry, showing craftsmen in their entirety, their qualities, but also their weaknesses and doubts.
Thirdly, by providing as much support as possible to the craftsmen, consulting with them, and offering them an insight into how highly respected and independent craftsmen are in some countries. This has led to an increase in the prices of wooden weapons last year and of Iaito this year that we were calling for.
And finally, by not selling any products made in China, Pakistan or Vietnam. Not that we boycott those countries, they have to have a part in large-scale production, but simply because we consider that it is not our field of expertise, we do not know enough, and we do not have the resources to ensure which working conditions are taking place in their factories. Thus, we categorically refuse to take the risk of promoting child labor in any way.
This situation is the result of a globalized world, with its pros and cons. We do believe in globalization, if we did not, we would not be selling worldwide.
However, we also believe that increasing the level of awareness of the population and capitalizing on one of the core values of many Budo, empathy, are indisputably the best ways to help make the world a better place.
Therefore, instead of betting on huge profits generated by huge discounts during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period, we have decided to offer you the opportunity to contribute to a better world, with us.
MSF's Website: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was founded to contribute to the protection of life and the alleviation of suffering out of respect for human dignity.
Doctors without borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières per its original French name, is an international humanitarian non-governmental organization that provides medical care in more than 70 countries.
Irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation and very careful about its independence and impartiality, MSF receives very few fundings from governments or intergovernmental organizations.
One day, during a discussion with Christian Tissier Shihan about political discordances in Aikido, he said: Let’s remember that we’re only doing Aikido. It’s useful, but we’re not that important. We’re not soldiers, firefighters or doctors, we’re not saving lives. We’re just doing Aikido.
Among us, Budoka, who never thought about using its technical abilities to save their girlfriends, wives or kids? Who can say it never came to mind? And yet, to the vast majority, the situation never happened and never will.
Unlike us, MSF doctors chose to risk their lives in conflict and bio-risk zones, not to kill, but to save lives. We believe that, as Budoka, it is also important to remember what the consequences of actual war are. Helping MSF, the most unsung heroes of modern history is our way to do it.
Amnesty's Website: https://www.amnesty.org
Our support to Amnesty International requires some additional explanations, but let's just start by stating the obvious: a better world is a world in which the Fundamental Rights of everyone are respected.
The main actions we support from Amnesty International are, of course, child’s rights protection, and protection of liberty of speech, especially for journalists.
Contrary to some popular belief, Japan also has its flaws when it comes to human rights, concerning both refugees and freedom of speech.
Japan does not have a strong culture of charity and donations, and Amnesty International is an incredibly small organization in Japan. For this reason, we are happy to provide some support and help raising awareness on controversial topics that may agitate the country.
Goals & Guarantees
Last year’s discount was fairly limited, as per our usual moral perspective, but we did incredibly well during the BFCM. Not by any account, we hope to sale as much as we did last year with this initiative.
We understand the many concerns that it may raise, such as “well, I’ve been a faithful customer, they could reward me for that!” or “will they really give the money to those NPOs?”, or again, “I don’t like Amnesty or MSF, I’d prefer to have the choice to whom I give my money”.
Let’s address some of those concerns:
We should reward our faithful customers first.
Yes, we should! And we actually do: with our review campaign system and our personalized quote system for orders over 60,000 YEN. We are talking about a short-term campaign that is not directed at our customers here, but at the concept of exaggerated consumerism symbolized by the BFCM.
Will we really donate this money, and how much?
Those of you who know us, via social networks or even personally, know that our lives are based on such actions and certainly have no doubts, but we completely understand that some may have doubts. In today’s world, it’s often wiser to doubt about everything marketers and commercials say.
So, let’s be straight: we will publish the receipts so you will know that we did donate, and how much we donated to each organization.
Giving you the choice
This is a tricky one. Japan not having developed a culture around charities, there are very few NPO recognized by the government that are well known outside Japan.
This time, we’re not giving you the choice. We will donate half of the total sum to Amnesty and half to MSF.
However, if you have ideas or recommendations, go ahead, send us an email with your motivations and we will make the necessary research to see if it can be implemented in a future event.
The actual goal, in numbers.
Last year, we registered about 400 orders during the BFCM alone. This is more than twice the usual number of orders we usually receive at this time of the year.
If we do as good as last year, we plan to donate about 900,000 YEN, that is 450,000 YEN to each association.
To conclude, if you’ve read this article entirely, we owe you a huge thank you! It’s the sales period and you probably have other places to go to make your purchases… but we’re really glad you stayed and read our commitments. We hope that we’ve convinced you! If we didn’t, please drop us an email and tell us why! We’re human beings and Budoka before being commercials, we need your feedback to grow and improve!
Note that in case of an order cancellation/exchange requested after the end of the Charity events, the donated amounts will not be refundable.