Take our user survey here!

Gekka T-Shirts: Supporting Orphans Through Art And Design

Look good and support a worthy cause at the same time with Gekka clothing and accessories, an Osaka-based group of artists on a mission to change the world

By 5 min read 1

After the March 2011 earthquake, Gekka co-founder Jon Chamberlain knew that he wanted to help those affected in some way but he didn’t know where to start. More than 1000 children had lost one or both their parents as a result of the disaster – there had to be a meaningful and lasting way to make a difference…but how?

‘At the time, I kept seeing heartbreaking footage on TV and wanted to help but I was limited to donating what little money I had. I wanted to make a bigger effort to support the cause but I didn’t know where to start’, he says.

Researching online led him to a number of different charity organizations and collaborative opportunities, but it was a chance meeting when Jon needed some custom clothing made that eventually gave him the idea for Gekka.

‘I’ve always had an interest in graphic clothing and I really liked the idea of creating something real and art-driven, and at the same time helping victims of the earthquake. When I needed some custom t-shirts made, I was introduced to Erik Svare. We spoke for a while and learned that we had a lot of the same feelings about helping children and wishing we could do more.’

20% of Gekka’s proceeds go direct to Japanese children’s charity Ashinaga

And so Gekka was born. Based in Osaka, Gekka creates its clothing from out of Erik’s original brand shop, Viva La Mort, with the collaboration of a growing group of international artists. All of Erik’s designs are drawn by hand, which are then transferred onto silk screens, and afterwards printed onto a range of Gekka products.

Gekka is an artist collective that creates unique designs onto a variety of original clothing and accessories. A mesmerizing mix of cool, bold graphics and intricate eastern imagery, Gekka’s designs are one-of-a-kind artistic collaborations inspired by life and travel in Japan.

Right now Gekka is running a fundraising campaign via crowd-funding site Indiegogo, offering up original Gekka designs with the aim of raising enough money to get the company off the ground.

Jon and Erik hope to use the money to spread awareness about their brand and mission, as well as give back to the community by using locally sourced fabrics and manufacturers. Having raised just over half of their $10,000 goal, they need donations to make the possibility of Gekka a lasting reality.

Check out their campaign page and you can browse Gekka’s unique designs hand-printed on anything from a postcard to a tote-bag to a watercolor print, as well as their range of limited edition t-shirts and hoodies for kids and adults. One lucky donator can get their hands on a Crosley Radio portable turntable customized with Gekka artwork. There’s even a 5-day personalized tour of Japan with Jon and Erik, including transport, accommodation and the entire Gekka collection for the most generous donator out there.

Since 20% of the price of each product goes to Ashinaga, by buying a unique Gekka creation you’ll be donating to help orphaned children through one of its worthy education-support programs. An entirely non-government funded organization, Ashinaga aims to remove the barriers to education that many orphans face by providing not only financial but also emotional support through interest-free loans, educational camps and low-cost residential facilities.

Ashinaga has so far raised around $1 billion and helped over 95,000 students around the world to graduate. Recently the organization has also been working extensively in Uganda, caring for children who have lost parents to HIV and AIDS and offering scholarships for study at Japanese universities.


In Japanese, Gekka means ‘Under the Moon’. For Jon and Erik the name is deeply connected to the work carried out by Ashinaga, whose support surrounds children with the continuing love and light of their parents.

‘As the parents of the orphaned children are no longer tangible; the sun is out of view, but still in existence. It’s power and light are real, and though it’s heat can’t be directly felt, it can still be seen and appreciated by the reflected light on the moon,’ goes the analogy.

With just two weeks left of fundraising, the team need help for the final push. They’re also looking for continued support as Gekka grows.

‘Our goal is set at $10,000 USD but breaking through that goal is what we hope for. I want people around the world to wear our brand and showcase our logo as a badge of honor; knowing they did a lot more than just buy a piece of clothing’, says Jon.


You can donate from anywhere in the world and Gekka will deliver internationally – just go to Gekka’s fundraising page, find a product(s) you like, choose if you want to add an additional donation and pay. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, sharing the page with your friends and family will help Gekka gain exposure and raise the profile of Ashinaga so that children can receive the education that they deserve.

For the future, Jon and Erik hope that more and more artists and creatives from all over the world will get involved in Gekka projects and at the same time discover the beauty and inspiration of Japan. 
As Jon says, ‘This campaign shows anyone interested throughout the world that yes you can come to Japan and create something great if you try. There’s no telling how big we can make this. Human kindness knows no bounds’.

For more information and to donate check out Gekka’s fundraising page or follow them on Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA - Privacy Policy - Terms of Service

  • Jon Chamberlain says:

    Hello everyone and thank you for taking the time to read about us. If you have any questions about us please don’t hesitate to ask!



Team Up With HandsOn Tokyo

Volunteering with HandsOn Tokyo is a fun, easy, and a great way to give back to Tokyo in a direct and meaningful way.

By 2 min read


A Caring Heart In Tokushima

HEART is a registered NPO no-kill animal shelter based in Tokushima that offers accommodation in return for volunteering.

By 3 min read 4


5 Ideas for Freshening Up Your Lessons

Try these ideas to give your lessons a boost in fun and excitement.

By 3 min read 1