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Japan Info Flash
April 2012
Published by Consulate General of Japan in New York / Japan Information Center

Japan - U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial

The cherry blossom, or sakura in Japanese, is one of the most popular symbols of Japan and one of Japan's national flowers. Sakura may also be Japan's greatest gift to the United States. In 1912, Japan gave a gift of cherry trees to the U.S. to celebrate the friendship shared by our two countries. The sakura that came to NY were planted in what is now known as Sakura Park that same year. Today, sakura are planted in parks across the country and have become a living symbol of Japan-U.S. friendship. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of this gift of sakura to the U.S. from Japan.

A variety of events commemorating the cherry blossoms and Japan-US friendship are held for this historic occasion. One is the Nationwide Cherry Blossom Tree Planting Initiative. In cooperation with Japanese Consulates across the country, the Embassy of Japan in Washington DC has taken the initiative to promote the planting of flowering cherry trees in a number of cities across the U.S. as part of the Centennial celebration. It is our hope that the planting of beautiful cherry trees will further deepen Japan-U.S. friendship. The young trees to be planted in this initiative have been provided by the nonprofit conservation organization American Forests. The initiative has been funded by support from private sector organizations. In the New York Consulate's jurisdiction, plantings have been planned in 7 places (see the list below for details).

There are many cultural events related to the Japan-U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial. You can find a complete event list on our website. Through May 6 you can enjoy, "Poetic Pastimes: Japan and the Art of Leisure" at the Newark Museum, which showcases more than 150 pieces of fine and decorative arts from the 17th through the 20th centuries. The Japan Society continues to have a special series of "Sakura – spring renews, beauty blooms". The Nippon Club also has special lectures and exhibitions related to sakura. There is a Kirié exhibition in the lobby of Empire State Building from April 3rd to April 30th in celebration of the Japan-U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial, too.

As every year, there will be several Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festivals such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sakura Matsuri, Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival, JAA 8th Sakura Matsuri, White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival, and Philadelphia Sakura Sunday. The Centennial Celebration; Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival will also be held in Sakura Park where the first sakura were planted. Japan Day@ Central Park will focus on Sakura Centennial this year as well.

We hope you can enjoy Japanese culture and the feeling of the spring season!!


Projected Sakura Tree Planting Locations
City Planting locations include: Planting date Organizers include:
Buffalo, NY Japanese Garden in Delaware Park, Buffalo Olmsted Parks
The Japanese garden in Delaware Park was completed in 1974 in a partnership between Japanese and American landscapers and garden designers.
April 27 Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
New York, NY Sakura Park
In 1912, cherry blossom trees arrived and were planted in the park with the help of Dr. Jokichi Takamine and The Nippon Club. In 1960, to celebrate the sister-city ties between Tokyo and New York, Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko (now the Emperor and Empress of Japan) attended an official ceremony.
April 14 New York Parks and Recreations, etc
Central Park
Central Park, a place of rest and relaxation for New Yorkers, has many cherry trees and includes two 100-year-old cherry trees. Japan Day @Central Park, which has been held annually since 2007, has seen the planting of even more cherry trees in Central Park.
April 11 Japan Day, Inc. New York Parks and Recreations Central Park Conservancy
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) was founded in 1910 and the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden was completed in 1915. Since planting of the first cherry trees in 1921, BBG visitors can enjoy more than 220 Japanese flowering cherry trees of more than 30 different species. BBG hosts the annual Sakura Matsuri, the largest cherry blossom festival in the Tri-State Area.
April 11 Brooklyn Botanic Garden
CUNY LaGuardia Community College
The great-grandfather of one of the faculty members of CUNY LaGuardia reportedly contributed to the gift of cherry blossom trees 100 years ago.
April 24 CUNY LaGuardia Community College
Philadelphia, PA Fairmount Park, Shofuso
Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) hosts the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. The Festival benefits the JASGP Community Tree Planting Project, which seeks to beautify the Philadelphia landscape by annually planting and maintaining cherry trees in Philadelphia parks. JASGP has planted cherry trees to supplement the 1,600 flowering trees donated by Japanese government as a gesture of friendship in 1926.
April 15 Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia Shofuso
Pittsburgh PA North Park in Allegheny County Park
Pittsburgh Sakura Project started planting cherry trees from 2009 to strengthen bonds between Japan and the U.S.
April 29 Pittsburgh Sakura Project



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