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Nashville Cherry Blossom Conference 2021
Matsuo Bashō, arguably the most famous poet of Japan’s early modern period, wrote:
春の夜は
桜に明けて
しまひけり
A lovely spring night
Suddenly vanished while we
Viewed cherry blossoms
(Matsuo Bashō, Sam Hamill trans., The Essential Bashō, Shambhala Publications 1999 pg. 109.)

The cherry blossom represents an ethereal aspect of existence that has been popularized in Japanese studies. Interestingly, the Japanese cherry blossoms in America also symbolize persistence and an enduring friendship. As early as 1885, Eliza Scidmire proposed that Japanese cherry trees be planted along the Potomac waterfront. Her persistence seemed to have paid off 24 years later when First Lady Helen Taft, Dr. Jokichi Takamine and the mayor of Tokyo facilitated the acquisition of 2,000 cherry trees. Persistence, however, is not just about the passing of time. As the trees were inspected in 1910, it was determined that they were infected with pests and were destroyed. A second shipment of 3,020 trees was shipped, and on March 27, 1912, the first two cherry trees were planted on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. For over 100 years, these cherry trees have represented the enduring friendship of the United States and Japan.

Tennessee also continues to have a strong relationship with Japan. In 1981 Nissan Motors broke ground for its Smyrna facility, and since 2009 over 100 cherry trees have been planted annually to signify the state’s enduring connection to Japan. This year in the lead-up to the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, Austin Peay State University, alongside partner universities in Japan, will host presentations on the cherry blossom and its significance. We welcome all to come and participate in this web-based event.

ナッシュビル桜カンファレンス 2021
9-11 am JST, 水曜日, 4月7日

Apr 6, 2021 07:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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