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Scidmore cherry tree a symbol of Japan-U.S. friendship, planted at U.S. Japanese language center

By Yoshihiro Tanaka

 

A ceremony was held on March 15 to plant a sapling of “Scidmore cherry blossoms” at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute Japanese Language and Area Training Center in Naka Ward, Yokohama City. The cherry tree has been grown at the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery in the ward and is now a symbol of Japan-U.S. friendship. U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty was among the participants of the event.

 

The Scidmore cherry tree originates from “Washington’s cherry trees,” which Japan donated to the U.S. in 1912 at the proposal of the late American writer Eliza Scidmore. A sapling grown by grafting it onto the Washington cherry trees was planted in front of the gravestone of the Scidmore family in the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery in 1991. Since then, the cherry tree grown there has been known as Scidmore cherry blossoms.

 

The sapling planted on March 15 was grown by grafting it onto the Scidmore cherry tree and was presented by the civic group “Scidmore sakura no kai [Scidmore cherry blossoms association].”

 

Ambassador Hagerty thanked Kanagawa Prefecture for hosting U.S. military bases. He said, “Cherry blossoms remind me of a long history of friendship between Japan and the United States.” Also at the ceremony were Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa and Yokosuka Mayor Katsuaki Kamiji.

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