A brainchild of animator Tsuneo Goda, Project: Holding Hands was launched to reach out and comfort kids who were affected by the earthquake, through the use of well-known and familiar characters like Pikachu, Doraemon, Toro, Domo, and more.
The project started out with only 18 characters, but the number grew to almost 50 characters as the campaign progressed, including American and English characters like Snoopy, Elmo, and Thomas the Tank Engine. The end result is a unique, one-of-a-kind image showing all these characters holding hands.
The Project: Holding Hands website offers several variations of this image, from the portrait version you see here, to landscape and banner versions. The banner version is the best one, as it shows everyone holding hands in one continuous single line. This banner image was also used on special Sanriku Railway trains from April 1 to September 30, 2011.
I never thought I'd see Pikachu holding hands with Elmo from Sesame Street, or Thomas holding hands with the Power Puff Girls...Thomas doesn't have hands though, so they're just touching his frame, heh. I can't identify most of the characters, since they are popular only in Japan. Hello Kitty seems to be missing; I guess she wasn't available, LOL.