The American Red Cross confirmed yesterday that Sandra Bullock made a $1 million donation to Japan disaster relief efforts.

It's the highest donation yet by a Hollywood star in an uncharacteristically slow response by celebrities to open their wallets. As USA Today reported, only $49 million has been raised so far by American charities, compared with the more than $296 million that was raised in the first seven days of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Part of the reason may lie with perception as Japan, the world's third largest economy, is largely perceived as being able to fund recovery efforts without outside assistance. 

"Japan is a highly developed industrialized nation and doesn't appear to be in great need. Haiti and Indonesia, these are countries that were for the most part very poor countries,"Patrick Rooney, director for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University told the newspaper. "You see these disasters hitting and think, 'Oh gosh these countries really need something.'"

While Bullock's may be the highest to date, other big names have been making a push to recruit donations from their large social media bases. Lady Gaga's Twitter efforts have brought in close to $1M - with $250K raised in 48 hours thanks to sales of her "Pray for Japan" wristbands.

The "Bad Romance" singer also helped Eric Schmidt take his online campaign from $3,000 to $70,000 in donations after tweeting that the Google CEO would match the first $100K in public donations to Citizen Effect.

Even movie studios are getting involved. Earlier in the week, Warner Bros. announced that they were pulling the film "Hereafter" from Japan's theaters because of a highly-realistic scene recreating the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The film's DVD hit U.S. shelves on Tuesday, with Warners allocating a portion of all sales for relief efforts in Japan.

[UPDATE] Actress/musician Demi Lovato has also reported as making a $1M donation! Charitable organizations have also revealed that many celebrities have chosen to remain anonymous with their donations; so the number participating in relief efforts may be much higher.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Sandra Bullock donates $1M for Japan disaster relief
Gift is the largest yet by an American celebrity to help people hurt by the deadly earthquake and tsunami.