Downtown concert to celebrate blossom tree donations

LOS ANGELES - Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles will host a cherry blossom centennial concert this Friday, Nov. 2, at 4:45 p.m.The concert will be preceded by a plaque unveiling at 4 p.m. to mark the donation of 24 cherry trees to Grand Park by American Forests. Japanese R&B group Heavenese will perform at the free concert, which lasts until 6 p.m. "Grand Park is 'the park for everyone,' an oasis of green space in the heart of L.A.'s civic center," said county Supervisor Gloria Molina. "So when American Forests and the Japanese Consulate of Los Angeles approached Los Angeles County with the gift of two dozen cherry trees, we knew this symbol of goodwill and friendship between Japan and the U.S. would fit in perfectly at Grand Park." The year 2012 marks the centennial anniversary of the original gift of cherry blossom trees from Japan to the U.S. - and some of the original trees from 1912 still bloom every spring at the Tidal Basin along the Potomac River near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The original gift was made possible by the contribution of many people, including then U.S. First Lady Helen Taft; journalist and world traveler Eliza Scidmore; renowned Japanese chemist Dr. Jokichi Takamine, famous for his pioneering research on adrenaline and takadiastase; and Tokyo mayor Yukio Ozaki. In 1909, Ozaki made a gift of 2,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C. However, all had to be destroyed when found to be infested with harmful insects. In 1912, another 3,000 cherry blossom trees were presented - and the first of these were planted at the Tidal Basin by First Lady Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador Chinda, on March 27, 1912.

********** Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29