According to Hiroaki Kawamura, Ph.D., chair of the language and culture department, the home of the Consul General of Japan without a cherry tree in the yard seemed incomplete. So it was in a gesture of friendship, that Kawamura, Katherine Fell, Ph.D., UF president, Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik and a delegation of business and community leaders from Findlay brought a tree to Michigan on May 5, 2016.
Back in June 2015, at the invitation of then Consul General of Japan Dr. Kazuyuki Katayama, a Findlay delegation traveled to his residence in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan for dinner and discussion about Findlay’s strong relationship with Japan. During the discussion, Katayama mentioned that the cherry tree that welcomed visitors to his home had not survived the harsh winter. Over dinner, a plan was launched.
“We decided that the City of Findlay and the University would replace the tree in the spirit of friendship building,” recalled Kawamura. “We didn’t realize it would take nearly a year to accomplish this.”
Since the Japanese government owns the Bloomfield Hills property, approval to plant the tree needed to come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was granted in February 2016. The Findlay delegation traveled back to the home of the Consul General on May 5, 2016, with shovels and warm wishes ready. The group enjoyed the tree planting, a reception and dinner with Consul General and Mrs. Mitsuhiro Wada.
A plaque installed near the tree, displayed this fitting sentiment:
“With a Commitment to Everlasting Friendship Tomodachi (friends): Findlay, Ohio and Japan.”