The Cherry and the Japanese

The cherry tree, with its pale blossoms that flutter earthward each spring, is one of the images most deeply associated with Japan by the Japanese themselves. The trees bloom throughout the country—and elsewhere around the world—as a symbol of springtime and the Japanese spirit. This series looks at episodes from the history of the Japanese people’s interaction with these beautiful trees.

Sylvan Symbols of US-Japanese Exchange on the Potomac River

Japan’s spring rite of cherry-blossom viewing has a counterpart in Washington DC. A stand of cherry trees that originated as a gift from Tokyo a century ago stretches along the Potomac River. It stages a pageant in pink in March and April that is hugely popular with residents and tourists alike. And the blossoms serve as a reminder of the resilience of the US-Japanese relationship.

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