Cherry Blossom Queens

29 May

Did you know that there are Japanese 桜 (cherry blossom) trees in Washington DC?
And that they have an annual Japanese-style cherry blossom festival when the flowers bloom in the spring?

And did you know that those trees were a gift to America from Japan about sixty years ago?

Well…did you know that both Japan and America crown a Cherry Blossom Queen every year?
It isn’t a beauty contest type of competition. Each state in America and each prefecture in Japan enters a young woman into the competition based on community service that she has done.

And then the country’s Cherry Blossom Queen is chosen by a random draw.

Every year the U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen comes to Japan and meets the Japanese Prime Minister along with the current Japanese Cherry Blossom Queen.

Last year, the 2012 U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen was an African-American woman for the first time.
She made headlines in Japan!

The 2013 U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen, Mary Anne Morgan, just came to Tokyo and met Japanese Prime Minister Abe and 2013 Japanese Cherry Blossom Queen, Chiori Kobayashi yesterday.

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6 Responses to “Cherry Blossom Queens”

  1. Musings June 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    No I didn’t know about the American cherry blossom queen. I do know that Hawaii used to have a Cherry Blossom queen contest. I don’t know if they still hold it.

    I think most of those trees from Japan ended up diseased though right?

    • tokyo5 June 1, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

      Are the trees in America from Japan sick?
      What happened?

      • Musings June 2, 2013 at 2:46 am #

        No the trees we have now are fine. However the original trees were diseased or something and had to be burned. The US didn’t want to tell Japan and hurt their feelings so they burned them in secret and planted just a few that were OK.

        Here’s a link which I don’t quite have time to read, but seems to tell the whole story.

        http://www.history.com/news/the-drama-behind-100-years-of-washingtons-cherry-blossoms

      • tokyo5 June 2, 2013 at 9:33 am #

        You should read that entire article … it’s interesting.

        It doesn’t say that the original gift of trees from Japan were burned in secret and only a few planted … it says that when Japan learned that the original 2000 trees all had to be burned, Tokyo gave a second gift of over 3000 trees that were in perfect condition.

        Also the grave of an American woman who was instrumental in the trees being planted in Washington DC is in a foreigners cemetery in Yokohama, Japan … with one of the gift trees relocated near her grave.

      • Musings June 3, 2013 at 4:50 am #

        Ahhh… no kidding. I guess Art and I saw it on a PBS special or something like that. Thank you for reading the story and telling me. I’m so busy organizing my China photos that I’ve got blinders on.

      • tokyo5 June 3, 2013 at 11:47 am #

        You should read it when you get a chance. It was interesting.

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