Approximately 100 sakura (cherry tree) saplings were planted in New Jersey today, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic gift of Japanese flowering cherry trees from Tokyo to Washington D.C. in 1912.
More than 75 Daiichi Sankyo employee volunteers partnered with the Morris County Park Commission staff to plant the trees as part of the company’s Employee Volunteer Day in the community.
Cherry Lane is a one-quarter mile stretch of cherry trees along Central Avenue that runs through the center of the park.
The concept for Cherry Lane was created by Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and the Morris County Park Commission.
Dr. Jokichi Takamine, the company’s first president and the renowned chemist who was the first to isolate the human hormone adrenaline and to develop taka-diastase, a digestive enzyme, orchestrated the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington D.C. as a symbol of friendship between our two nations.
“We are as proud today as we were a century ago to be a part of this historic philanthropic initiative,” said John Gargiulo, President and CEO, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
“We believe engaging our employees in the planting of cherry trees is a fitting way to commemorate the legacy of the gift of trees nearly a century ago. Dr. Takamine’s forward-thinking support and desire to collaborate with other cultures set the foundation for how Daiichi Sankyo would approach its business, which continues today.”
Organizing and shipping 3,000 cherry trees from Tokyo to the U.S. in 1912 was certainly not easy or one person’s sole accomplishment.
It was the result of a combined vision many partners: Eliza Scidmore, National Geographic Society’s first female board member, First Lady Helen Herron Taft, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo, Dr. Jokichi Takamine, and Japanese government representatives.
This gesture of goodwill was honored in a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, when First Lady Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees at the Tidal Basin.
Daiichi Sankyo donated funds to the Alliance for Morris County Parks, the non-profit fundraising entity for the Morris County Park Commission to purchase the majority of the trees.
One-third of the trees planted today are legacy trees donated by Daiichi Sankyo and grown from cuttings taken from the second generation of cherry trees, which currently line the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Daiichi Sankyo worked with The National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Morris County Park Commission to transport the legacy trees to Central Park of Morris County.
“We are grateful for Daiichi Sankyo’s tree donation and volunteer participation here at Central Park of Morris County,” said David Helmer, Executive Director of the Morris County Park Commission.
“As is the case in Washington, D.C., the gift of cherry trees will become a defining symbol of spring here in Morris County and a visual reminder of a strong public-private partnership.”
While the centennial celebration of the original gift of cherry trees gave the company a special opportunity to add a unique dimension to their corporate giving, the company’s on-going philanthropic work focuses on supporting healthcare, science, and education initiatives.
Official website: www.daiichisankyo.com