The Library of Congress to Celebrate Apr 9 Japanese Culture Day, Japanese Cherry Trees

A Collection of Famous Artists’ Paintings from 1894. Color woodblock book. Credit: Japanese Collection, Asian Division of Library of Congress

Washington/CMEDIA: As part of the citywide National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Library of Congress (LOC) will celebrate this special season with Japanese Culture Day on Saturday, April 9th as a free public event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Jefferson Building, reported LOC.

Featuring this public event are taiko drumming, karate demonstrations, an origami-making activity, kamishibai storytelling, and a display of Japanese woodblock prints from the Library collections. All activities are free and open to the public.

Japanese cherry trees gifted from the city of Tokyo in 1912 are celebrated each spring in Wahington D.C.

More information on Washington’s cherry trees, the historical significance of cherry blossoms in Japan, and their continuing resonance in American culture and for Washingtonians, in particular, is provided by exploring the exhibition Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship or this recorded event from the Library’s Asian Division, “A Story in Layers: Japanese Woodblock Prints.”

Some very interesting information was reportedly provided by Rob Gimpel, Gardener Assistant Supervisor, who added that these trees are Yoshino Cherry, or Japanese Flowering Cherry, which is a hybrid of multiple species, not a single species. Cherry trees are from the genus Prunus, which has over 400 species and includes plums, peaches, apricots, and almonds, in addition to all of the species of cherry. Rob also added that since the climate in D.C. is roughly comparable to the climate in Tokyo, other native varieties of cherry trees already grow here. These two trees are taken good care of, said Rob because of their historical importance.

As decided by the National Park Service, it replaced plantings along the Tidal Basin within the last 30 years with the original gift trees including the LOC. This was followed by cuttings taken from our cherry tree, propagated, and planted back at the Tidal Basin thus enabling the Library to support the future of the cherry blossoms around the city.

Those in Washington, D.C. on April 9th, are encouraged to join free of cost LOC for Japanese Culture Day, entry to which is ticketed.

LOC will also organize online two cherry blossom-themed events. Mari Nakahara, co-author of the book Cherry Blossom: Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress, will lead two webinars:

On April 6 at 7pm, in a webinar titled “Object Lesson: Exploring Cherry Blossom Varieties,” Mari will offer a close-up exploration of exquisite watercolor illustrations of the 1912 gift of cherry blossom trees from the city of Tokyo to Washington, D.C. to enhance auience’s visual recognition of cherry blossoms each spring.

On April 7 at 7pm, in “Object Lesson: One Man’s Life Dedicated to Peace,” Mari will introduce the Library collections related to former Japanese Ambassador Hirosi Saito, in which his granddaughter Tomiko Kagei will also join the conversation.

Established in 1800, LoC is the world’s largest library and the main research arm of the U.S. Congress as well as a home of the U.S. Copyright Office, offering access to the creative record of the United States and from around the world both on-site and online.​​