TACLOBAN CITY- Veteran Japanese actress and television host Tetsuko Kuroyanagi vowed to ask her countrymen to continue giving assistance to the victims of Yolanda.

Kuroyanagi made this promise during her June 20 visit to this city and nearby town of Tanauan, Leyte, where saw first-hand the “strong determination” of the victims of super typhoon Yolanda, particularly the children, to return to normal.

The 81-year old Kuroyanagi, the first Asian to be named as ambassador of goodwill by the Unicef (United Nations Children Fund) in 1984, visited bunk houses at Abucay District and at the Santo Nino Elementary School in Tanauan.

“I was so moved and encouraged on the strong determination of the people to go on living. I visited families living in small houses-and its very hot-and they were all smiling, especially the children,” Kuroyanagi, considered to be one of the most influential personalities in Japan, said in a press conference held at the Unicef office in Tacloban.

According to her, she was pleasantly surprised that despite on what happened to them, the victims could still managed to smile, an indication that they could have overcome their trauma due to the tragedy.

“The Filipino people are very sweet and smiling. This rumor is really true. I saw it myself during my visit,” she said.

She said that the victims hardly complain on the “very difficult environment” they lived in as they could still manage to smile and survived Yolanda considered to be the strongest typhoon to make a landfall in the world.

Kuroyanagi said that she was moved and affected when she saw on television the damage caused by Yolanda reason why she decided to visit the country.

She also said that what added her motivation to visit the country was when she learned that of the 14 million people directly hit by Yolanda, more than 5 million of them were children, the main client of the Unicef.

While Kuroyanagi has been a Unicef ambassador of goodwill for 30 years now, this is her first visit to the Philippines. Aside from Tacloban, she also visited Cotabato City, an armed-conflict area of the country.

The Japanese Unicef ambassador disclosed that she would present a documentary she made during her visit to Tacloban to her countrymen and appeal for them to donate.

“When I return to Japan, I will present a documentary I made here in the Philippines, especially the children; how they survived. I am very sure that the Japanese people will be moved on this,” she said.

And at the end of the program, she would appeal to her countrymen to donate for the victims of Yolanda. She said that all the monies would go straight to the Unicef.

Kuroyanagi hosts a one and half hour daily afternoon show, “Tetsuko’s Room” which has been on air for 38 years now, and said to be among the most popular television programs in Japan.

The Unicef credited her for making their organization popular and well-known in Japan.

She was said to have raised $50 million to the causes of the Unicef.