Centennial Tree Planting Ceremony Commemorates
100th Anniversary of the Gift of Cherry Trees from Japan to the U.S.
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March 27, 2012
March 27, 2012, Washington, D.C./Parsippany, NJ – Today, chief executives from Daiichi Sankyo joined the National Cherry Blossom Festival and American and Japanese dignitaries in Washington, D.C. to mark the 100th anniversary of the gift of cherry trees from Japan to the United States. During the ceremony, a tree was planted, which was grown from cuttings taken from the second generation of the famous cherry trees at the Tidal Basin.
A century ago today, then-First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees along the Potomac River. The gift of trees are the result of a cultural partnership between the U.S. and Japan fostered by, among others, Dr. Jokichi Takamine, the first president of the company that would become Daiichi Sankyo. Best known to the world as the scientist who isolated the hormone adrenaline, Dr. Takamine helped organize a gift of 3,000 cherry trees in 1912 from Tokyo to Washington, D.C.
Since 1912, more than 3,750 cherry trees have been planted on National Park Service land and throughout the region.
Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar are among those who participated in the ceremony, which was hosted by the National Cherry Blossom Festival Board Chair Susan Norton and President Diana Mayhew, along with descendants of those involved in the original gift participated in the ceremony. Takashi Shoda, President and CEO of Daiichi Sankyo Group and John Gargiulo, President and CEO of Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., also attended.
“The cherry trees were a gift of international friendship,” said Diana Mayhew, President, National Cherry Blossom Festival. “They represent rebirth, renewal, and are a sure sign of spring in Washington, DC. Each year when they bloom, we are reminded of the visionaries in 1912 whose perseverance and dedication continues to unite people from across the world.”
Organizing and shipping 3,000 cherry trees from Tokyo to the U.S. 100 years ago was certainly not easy, nor was it one person’s sole accomplishment. It was the result of philanthropy, collaboration, and friendship of many partners: Eliza Scidmore, the first female board member from the National Geographic Society, First Lady Helen Herron Taft, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo, Dr. Jokichi Takamine, and Japanese government representatives.
Daiichi Sankyo, a global pharmaceutical company, is the Chair of the Centennial Host Committee for the 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival, and has worked with the National Cherry Blossom Festival for the past two years to shape this centennial celebration. Daiichi Sankyo has a unique connection to the cherry blossoms. A video about Daiichi Sankyo and the NCBF is available.
“Dr. Jokichi Takamine was our company’s first president, the scientist who isolated the hormone adrenaline, and a forward thinker who understood how a simple act of generosity and collaboration across cultures could develop into something of great importance,” said John Gargiulo, President and CEO of Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. “This is the wonderful legacy of Dr. Takamine. His support of this bold and enduring initiative, and his desire to collaborate and partner with others on a global stage, continue to be the foundation of how we conduct our business today.”
While today’s event was much different from the one a century ago, the trees’ legacy that has endured over time. According to John Malott, Ambassador of The Japan-American Society of Washington, D.C., “The planting of a tree is an act of faith in the future, and what these people did a century ago is still with us today. Hopefully, we can continue to build on that same legacy.” More information on the National Cherry Blossom Festival can be found at www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
About Daiichi Sankyo
The Daiichi Sankyo Group is dedicated to the creation and supply of innovative pharmaceutical products to address the diversified, unmet medical needs of patients in both mature and emerging markets. While maintaining its portfolio of marketed pharmaceuticals for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and bacterial infections, the Group is engaged in the development of treatments for thrombotic disorders and focused on the discovery of novel oncology and cardiovascular-metabolic therapies. Furthermore, the Daiichi Sankyo Group has created a "Hybrid Business Model," which will respond to market and customer diversity and optimize growth opportunities across the value chain. For more information, please visit www.daiichisankyo.com
Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, is a member of the Daiichi Sankyo Group. For more information on Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., please visit www.dsi.com.
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