Haru San is among a number of foreign volunteer soldiers helping Ukraine repel the Russians.
Although the Japanese government has strongly condemned Russia’s invasion, it has called on its citizens to refrain from going to Ukraine for any reason.
Other Asians have also been volunteering in Ukraine, but unlike Haru San, most of them are serving in humanitarian roles.
Among them is restaurant owner Yashwi Tripathi from Bhopal, India. He considered leaving Ukraine at the start of the war, but eventually decided to stay put, as he has lived in the country nearly all his life.
“It was a very difficult decision, because when the war started, I was here with my family but eventually I took my mum to Warsaw. We left for a couple of weeks, and that was the time when I actually made my decision (to remain in Ukraine),” he said.
The number one reason for staying back is work, he said.
“I have four restaurants here and we have a team of about 60 people. So basically those are my people and I feel responsible for them,” Mr Tripathi said.
“And second thing is that I perceive Ukraine as my homeland. So I was trying to help as much as I could possibly.”
Mr Tripathi has been providing food to soldiers and people in need, collecting money to buy winter clothing for troops and helping at animal shelters.