Red Sox Press Release
Consul General of Japan in Boston to Present Cherry Blossom Tree to Red Sox
Gift Also Marks 100th Anniversary of Japan’s Original Cherry Tree Gift to U.S.
BOSTON, MA – In honor of Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary, the Consul General of Japan in Boston, Takeshi Hikihara, will today present the Boston Red Sox with a cherry blossom tree during the pre-game ceremony before tonight’s game against the Seattle Mariners. Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino, Manager Bobby Valentine, and Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will accept the cherry blossom tree on behalf of the organization.
In addition to celebrating Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary, the gift also marks the 100th anniversary of Japan’s original gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, to Washington, D.C. in 1912. The cherry trees in Washington, D.C. have become a symbol of the warm relations between the two countries.
“It is a very happy coincidence that this year is not only the 100th anniversary of the Fenway Park, but also of the planting of the 3,000 Japanese Cherry Trees in Washington D.C.,” said Consul General of Japan in Boston, Takeshi Hikihara. “I am glad that we are able to come together to celebrate these wonderful occasions in Boston and strengthen our friendship. Japan and the United States share many common cultural values, including a great love of baseball, and Fenway Park is indeed a treasure to both Japanese and Americans living here.”
The cherry tree, which the Red Sox will plant inside Gate B at Fenway Park before placing it on Yawkey Way when it has grown, is a graft produced from the trees that bloom in Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin.
“We are honored by this gift from the Japanese people to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “As we embark on the next century in one of the great cathedrals of sport, we look forward to further strengthening our relationship with Japan through our mutual love of baseball.”
The gift also symbolizes the deep gratitude of the Japanese people for the assistance and generosity in helping victims of the March 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The Red Sox Foundation raised and donated $1.3 million to the Japanese Red Cross after the disaster. The sum included Japanese player donations from Hideki Okajima and Junichi Tazawa, as well as a $1 million donation from Daisuke Matsuzaka, and $50,000 from the Foundation.