Bricks Helping Japan – LEGO charity auction for earthquake & tsunami relief

At The Brothers Brick, we’ve decided to try to do something to help out the people affected by the recent earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, but we need your help too.

Help Japan

You may have noticed that all of the advertising banners on the site have been replaced by links to donate to the Red Cross. That’s a start, and we certainly encourage everyone to do so. In addition, though, we’re auctioning off LEGO creations to raise more money for this important cause. If you’d like to contribute a creation to be auctioned off, please use the form on the Creations for Charity website.

If you’re interested in seeing what’s available right now, see the active auctions. More are to come!

16 comments on “Bricks Helping Japan – LEGO charity auction for earthquake & tsunami relief

  1. mahjqa

    Er. Nice logo design, but there may be something you’ve overlooked; the cultural significance of the flag you’ve based the logo on.

    “It was used as the war flag of the Imperial Japanese Army”
    “The flag was used in overseas actions from the Meiji period to World War II. When Japan was defeated in August 1945, the flag was banned by Allied Occupation authorities”
    “This flag is often considered offensive in China and Korea, where it is considered as a symbol of Japanese militarism and imperialism.”

  2. Dan Post author

    We considered the possible bad negative interpretations, but hoped that we altered it enough that people would see it as rays of hope coming from the brick, rather than wartime connotations. The brick is in the corner, not the center.

    In Nannan’s words from our discussion, “Even if people make the connection to the military flag, they should know better that it’s not our intention to evoke such association. The alternate design might get overlooked as just a plain red brick, since we’re posting the graphic against white anyways.”

  3. jyeackle

    Great looking design, heart in the right place, but the execution is not well thought out for what you’re aiming for.

    The offset Hinomaru with sun rays was and is again the official flag of the (Imperial) Japanese Navy. This was my first though when I saw the image, that it was for some LEGO WW2 Japanese Navy MOC or something. While not quite as offensive for some as the overall war flag (the centered one), ANY Hinomaru with sun rays is representative of Imperial Japan to anyone that knows the history or was involved in some way with or was one of the millions of victims that suffered under the flag.

    I don’t feel I should ‘know better’, when in Japan itself the controversy over even the non-sun rayed Hinomaru is still strong, and was only made the official flag around a decade ago due to this controversy even between Japanese folk. I have to ask why did it take words to describe the intent of the flag? An image should speak for itself I believe. Rays of hope were not the first things I thought of, and I still cannot see rays of hope even after you told me what they are — I see what looks like a Japanese Naval ensign.

    I can think of many similar designs using a red 2×2 brick (or even a 2×2 circular tile/plate) that can evoke what the designer intended without reverting to the use of Imperial linked symbology. Why not 4 4×4 quarter circle plates, forming a red circle on white with the top right one offset a bit away from the other three? Maybe with a simple word, like “help” or “donate” below it, or with a white red cross symbol in the offset plate. I know your heart is in the right place, but please reconsider and save this awesome design for use in the future with a Japanese Naval MOC or something.

  4. Dan Post author

    Again, the “know better” comment refers to knowing the Brothers Brick and our intentions. Did you really believe that with the topic “Bricks Helping Japan,” our intent was to upset people?

    I would ask that you please try to think of this as something different, and remove yourself from the negative connotations.

  5. yoderism

    Help! I can’t see the forest, for trees are blocking my view. I think this is a great cause, I hope I can help in some small way.

  6. jyeackle

    Hey Dan, I don’t really believe you wanted to upset people which is why I hoped to make that clear when I wrote that I know your heart is in the right place. I don’t post here, but I’ve been a reader for years, and I only spend my time like this when it’s something I care about, and I apologize by not using the Contact Us which I didn’t see until today when looking for some sort of account link.

    I’ve used that to sent the rest of my response so it doesn’t clutter up the comments here. To Yoderism, it’s sometimes just not that easy but I agree with your second sentence whole heartedly.

    To give an idea of what I had in mind:

  7. gambort

    We are declaring war on tsunamis here at TBB.

    More seriously there is not a flag in the world (OK possibly East Timor and a few others) that hasn’t pissed off someone at sometime. Sometimes an asthetic choice must be made.

    EDIT: Although I do think your point about perception in colonised Asia is valid.

  8. Solo

    Two of Japan’s three Self-Defense Forces currently use variants of the Rising Sun flag and they are both a major part of the ongoing relief effort, so it’s a very fitting image to use for this charity auction.

  9. GOELKIM07

    Whoever designed this banner is totally out of mind.
    I believe Dan right?

    You are keep saying that it is not your intention to upset people and simply want to rasie the money for the auction.
    Then why not simply replace something else?

    The sign (Whether it is red brick or circle) is equivalent to use NAZI symbol to the Jews.

    Not like Germany, Japan still try to hide what they had done to Asia that caused much pain.

  10. LEGOMAN999

    Hey Dan

    Check this link

    Why not use this banner next time for any events in EUROPE?
    Oh, is this banner offend you? Now You should know better.

    I do not care what Japanses still use their army or navy right now. it does not justify the sign of imperial symbolism. Like the Japanese are trying to hide thier nuclear problem currently, they have tried to cover their shame.

    I recommand to use jyeackle’s banner not to provoke other Asian folks.

  11. Andrew

    People need to get off their soap box and focus on the good that we’re trying to do here. The feedback is valid, but you’re clearly not giving any benefit of the doubt to the underlying intent of the effort.

    That said, we’re going to look past the combative tone of your comments and we’ll consider finding an alternative design.

  12. Dan Post author

    Wow, there’s nothing like waking up and finding thinly veiled accusations of racism in your inbox. I took a little time at work before replying, so as not to be reactionary.

    I’d like to tell you a little bit about how this image came about, and to be used here.

    I created this more than a month ago (that’s before the problems in Japan) for use on a bag. I intended to represent creativity bursting from the brick. At the time, I asked my wife what she thought of it, and she said it was cool, she’s also Chinese. Her father saw it on my computer, while visiting our new baby, and liked it. He’s a very active Chinese human rights activist.

    When I suggested to the other Brothers Brick that we start this charity effort for these disaster victims, Nannan suggested that an image would help. I sent around the brick burst image, saying it was available. Andrew mentioned that it was similar to a ww2 flag of Japan, and wondered if it might be a problem. Nannan (who is Chinese) said that he thought it would be fine, and made the comment I quoted above. None of us really had time to make something new, so we went ahead.

    When we first got a negative comment about the emblem, we started discussing changing it, although the fact that the complaints didn’t come from Asians made us wonder if folks without personal feelings might be over reacting. I also went and asked my in-laws if the image was offensive, and they said no.

    Even so, we decided that we should probably change the image. We certainly would rather have people focus on doing good than on a fight over a graphic. However, we’re all also busy people, and the process of creating a new graphic combining helping Japan with Lego somehow is not easy. In fact, managing the donations and auctions as they come in has taken all of my free time, and kept me from some of my parental duties already. We can’t just take a logo from some other website, because we don’t want to be sued for copyright infringement.

    I’d like to thank jyeackle for the constructive nature of his post. Those who have pre-decided that I’m a racist asshole, and post with vitriol make me unlikely to see past their attack to any truth in their message.

    If anyone has an alternative graphic (to which they own the rights) that we may use, we’d love to see it.

  13. lluisgib


    I have applied yesterday a creation using the contact form (the auction form did not run). ow many time does it take to arrive to you?

  14. Dan Post author

    Lluis, I got your submission (it takes about a day to get to me) and will be listing it soon. I have some catching up to do this weekend, but will be at a wedding all of saturday. Rest assured, it will be listed soon.

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