CLEVELAND– A rapper from Japan found himself stranded in Cleveland, even robbed on inner-city streets and activists have turned to the I-Team to find out if anyone can help.
Ryo Muranaka said he sold everything to travel 6,000 miles from Japan to Cleveland’s east side. He did it dreaming of meeting and performing with his hip-hop heroes: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. But he caught the attention of activists when they found him alone, broke and even robbed of his luggage.
We spoke to him using an interpreter function on his phone. We asked why he came to Cleveland, and he answered, simply, “Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.” A super fan, but he also admitted coming here the way he did was super risky.
“I thought I could get in the US in exchange for my CD,” Muranaka said. “No. No plan. One-way ticket.”
James Norton and Kwas Bibbs saw a stranger in great danger. So, they took him in to get him help, but his temporary permission to be in this country has run out. They said they’ve had no help from government agencies or private organizations.
“You might have a reputation for a negative neighborhood, but there are good people in the neighborhood,” Norton said.
“Cleveland has a reputation of violence and drugs and all this other stuff, but Cleveland has a soul,” Bibbs said.
The FOX 8 I-Team started calling everyone from people with ties to Bone Thugs-n- Harmony, to lawmakers, to lawyers. We quickly found no simple solution to this. We learned, with each passing day, the Japanese rapper runs more of a risk of being arrested by immigration officials and thrown out of the country.
The offices of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Marcia Fudge told us they’d look into this to see if there’s anything they can do.
Norton and Bibbs said he did briefly get to meet Layzie Bone, one member of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. We’re told Layzie Bone put him up in a hotel for a short time, but the band has been on the road.
Through it all, the rapper still has hope.
“I was born in Japan, and I am going to die in the United States,” he said.