Daddy-Long-Legs, the most famous work by American writer Jean Webster, was a popular novel published in October 1912. The novel tells the story of a girl named Jerusha Abbott, an orphan whose attendance at a women's college is sponsored by an anonymous benefactor. "Ashinaga" means "long legs" in Japanese. The organization was inspired by, and named after, the anonymous donor described in the Daddy-Long-Legs novel.
In the style of the novel, Ashinaga developed the first anonymous donation system in Japan, in which donors are called "Ashinaga-san." At Ashinaga, the donations of Ashinaga-san support orphans ("orphan" is defined as a child who has lost either one or both of their parents); the organization also supports children who have a parent with a disability that prevents them from working.
Ashinaga receives no government support; it is funded solely by contributions from private individuals and companies.
One of the core elements of the Ashinaga philosophy is that orphans support each other. For financial support, Ashinaga students conduct streetcorner fundraising campaigns twice a year across Japan. In order to provide emotional support, we facilitate close relationships between orphaned children supported by Ashinaga, particularly via summer camps for orphans held every year throughout the country. Another aspect of the Ashinaga philosophy is that people do not have to have special skills or qualifications to be able to take care of orphans emotionally.
We hope to share and spread our spirit not only throughout Japan, but also around the world. We believe these philosophies apply across national boundaries. Orphans can indeed grow up and become involved in supporting other orphans in return for the love they have received. This is how Ashinaga perpetuates itself. We believe that love lost can only be replaced other love--that found between all orphans.