101 Japanese cherry trees have been planted in Springfield Park and Daubeney Fields by Hackney’s Tree Musketeers and Hackney Council staff, after a donation from the people of Japan.

The trees are some of 6,500 given to the UK by Japan, and planted across the country in parks, gardens and schools to celebrate Japan’s relationship with the UK.

The planting was also made possible by support from Thames Water and the Kings Park Moving Together programme.

In Springfield Park, the Sakura trees have been planted at the bottom of the park close to the River Lea, with the trees in Daubeney planted around the path at the northern end of the park by the River Lee Navigation.

All of the varieties of cherry trees to be planted as part of this project are of Japanese origin. The trees planted in Hackney are from three varieties: ‘Beni-yutaka’, ‘Tai-haku’, and ‘Somei-yoshino’, which have been chosen for their variation in colour, timing, and historical significance. For example, ‘Tai-haku’ is a large, single white blossom variety, which became extinct in Japan but was reintroduced to its homeland by Britain’s Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram in 1932. 

The Duke of Gloucester is patron of the Japan Society which aims to improve understanding of the cultures, societies and businesses of Japan and the UK.

The Duke of Gloucester said, “What better way to commemorate the long standing friendship between the people of the United Kingdom and Japan, than the planting of Japanese cherry trees that will live on for future generations to enjoy. I would like to congratulate all of those involved to make possible such a worthwhile project.”

Yasumasa Nagamine, Japanese Ambassador to the UK said, “We hope that people all over Britain will join with us in embracing this chance to deepen mutual understanding, thus helping to create an enduring legacy. Yet the Sakura Cherry Tree Project will not just represent the lasting impact of the Japan-UK Season of Culture but will be a wider celebration of the cordial ties between Japan and the UK. Just like our relationship, these trees will grow stronger as they mature and, each year when they blossom, I hope they bring joy to people across the UK and remind them of the deep friendship between our two nations and peoples.“

Keisaku Sandy Sano, Founder and Joint Chairman of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project Team said “The response we have had from all across the UK, from Guernsey in the south to the Orkneys in the north, from parks and schools across the UK has been amazing. It is testament to the strong relationship between the two countries, and we hope the trees will be a lasting tribute to that.”

Takashi Tsukamoto, Joint Chairman of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project Team said, “Many Japanese corporations have decided to, through the Japan-British Society, generously donate to this project to celebrate a long friendship between our two nations. I am deeply grateful for all the efforts and support given by people and corporations both in Japan and UK to this project.”

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