Japan-America Society of New Hampshire Celebrates Blooming of Portsmouth Cherry Trees with
Pecha Kucha “Suddenly, Bloom!” on May 8 and Cherry Blossom Package at Wentworth By the Sea Hotel
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (April 15, 2014) – In 2012, the 100th anniversary of the gift of the iconic Washington DC cherry trees to the US by Japan, the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire learned that those famous trees were a direct result of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty, negotiated in Portsmouth NH in 1905, ending the Russo-Japanese War.
Research showed that the Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, who facilitated the cherry tree gift, described in his autobiography a desire to thank the US for its role in ending the War. That conclusion resulted in a 2012 op-ed in the Washington Post by the Ambassador of Japan to the US and Portsmouth’s addition to a list of 32 cities nationwide who received cherry trees descended from the Washington trees in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the diplomatic gift.
In 2012, the Japan America Society of New Hampshire began planting those trees at key sites related to the Treaty history, as a living memorial to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and the citizen diplomacy involved in reaching the successful conclusion. Although President Theodore Roosevelt never came to Portsmouth, having promised Japan and Russia that he would not be at the table, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906, for orchestrating the negotiations.
In 2013, the JASNH organized a Cherry Blossom Tea with the author of The Cherry Blossom Festival, highlighting the blossoming of the trees planted the year before at Wentworth By the Sea Hotel (where the 1905 delegations stayed), the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (where the Treaty was signed) and Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth’s historic neighborhood. Additional trees are being planted around the city and throughout New Hampshire. These young trees join a display of cherry trees planted in 1985 on the banks of the South Mill Pond below Portsmouth City Hall. Those trees, which typically bloom in early May, were the gift of Nichinan, Japan, Portsmouth’s Sister City because the lead Japanese Treaty negotiator, Baron Jutaro Komura, was born in Nichinan. Students from Nichinan visited Portsmouth last October and with the Japanese Consul General helped dedicate a plaque placed near cherry trees planted at Portsmouth High School.
In conjunction with the blooming of the cherry trees and its historic role in the Treaty, each year Wentworth By the Sea Hotel & Spa offers a “Cherry Blossom Festival Package” available April 1 through May 30. Based on availability, the package includes luxury accommodations, champagne and chocolate-covered cherries delivered to the guestroom and breakfast for two. Rates start at $199 per night. The online booking code is FVJ. Reservations at www.wentworth.com or 888-252-6888
In 2014, JASNH and 3S Artspace are also hosting a Pecha Kucha night at Strawbery Banke on May 8. This performance form, that originated with a circle of young architects in Tokyo, gives each participant the chance to show 20 slides, with 20 seconds narration for each slide. The theme for the cherry tree Pecha Kucha is “Suddenly, Bloom! Out of adversity, great change, growth, and beauty can arise.” The free event takes place in the Strawbery Banke Visitors Center, 14 Hancock Street in downtown Portsmouth NH, starting at 7 pm. Food and drink available for sale through The White Apron Café at Strawbery Banke.
“The cherry trees are famous as the symbol of friendship from Japan, a gesture of people-to-people diplomacy,” said Charles B. Doleac, president of the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire. “The Japan America Society of NH showcases Portsmouth’s own cherry trees – that are directly associated with the Treaty and the iconic Washington trees to keep the spirit of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and its many branches of citizen diplomacy alive. Each year, the Portsmouth Cherry Tree event celebrates our historic friendship with Japan with a different variation on the Cherry Blossom Festival theme.’”
For more information on the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and the citizen diplomacy mapped by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail, please visitwww.PortsmouthPeaceTreaty.org The Portsmouth Peace Treaty exhibit at the John Paul Jones House Museum opens for the season May 1st and will be open 7 days 11-5, through October 31. Free copies of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail map are available at the Museum, Wentworth By the Sea, the Greater Portsmouth Chamber and the Discover Portsmouth Center.
About Wentworth By the Sea Hotel & Spa (www.wentworth.com)
A member of Historic Hotels of America, the AAA Four Diamond Wentworth By the Sea Hotel & Spa commands the island of New Castle, NH's oldest settlement, next to the Distinctive Destination® of Portsmouth, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The only New Hampshire hotel on the Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure lists of “Best hotels in the world,” Wentworth by the Sea, Marriott Hotel of the Year, is just an hour north of Boston with easy access from I-95 and Manchester NH or Boston airports. The 161 guestrooms & suites blend historic elegance with 21st century convenience. Each guestroom has a water view and conveys the authentic New England sense of place for which the resort has earned its sterling reputation. The 10,000 sq. ft. conference center includes the original Grand Ballroom and the Treaty Boardroom. The hotel reopened in 2003 following a $30 million restoration that added the 10,000 sq ft Spa at Wentworth. Two intimate restaurants – the 2013-debuted SALT Kitchen + Bar and the seasonal Latitudes offer imaginative cuisine. Amenities that include indoor and outdoor pools, nearby ocean beach, fitness and business centers, WiFi and an unwavering commitment to guest service make Wentworth By the Sea one of the great resort hotels of NH, New England and the world. For information and reservations, www.wentworth.com , 603-422-7322. Toll-free: 888-252-6888.