Even as we speak, Japanese officials are still in the midst of both averting a nuclear meltdown and rolling out rescue operations, in the wake of one of the worst disasters to hit Japan. This is without a shadow of a doubt, a most dire moment where hope and optimism are most needed. And it is with great admiration and gratitude that legendary mangaka, Takehiko Inoue (井上雄彦), delivers.

Legendary mangaka and the creator of award-winning manga like Vagabond and Slam Dunk, Takehiko Inoue (井上雄彦) has been working on delivering a most inspiring message of hope to the victims of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and its subsequent tsunami in Japan on March 11th. Since the morning of following day (March 12th), Inoue has been tweeting pictures of ordinary Japanese people smiling with the Twitter hashtag #prayforjapan and #tsunami. Meant to inspire hope and to cheer up victims of the unprecedented disaster, these black-and-white images were created by Inoue, using the Zen Brush app on the iPad. Till date, more than ninety pictures have been posted at Inoue's Twitter account. While there is absolutely no doubt that these are some gorgeously rendered pictures, knowing the encouragement and hope they inspire makes the viewing experience all the more uplifting.

Hit the jump to view a handful of the pictures collected in the Inoue' Smile campaign thus far.


























Source: Takehiko Inoue's Twitter account

For those interested in support the victims of the disaster, head over to our coverage on the aids available for details on the charity drive currently in process.

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