On March 11th, 2011, a major earthquake struck off Japan’s Northeast Coast. A terrifying tsunami followed, creating devastating damage and nearly 20,000 dead or still missing. This was one of the darkest times for the Japanese people. But at this moment of darkness, support from the American People created a light of hope.
Through Operation Tomodachi, US military forces provided immediate assistance. Partners across the United States government quickly arrived with expertise and critical supplies. And across America, individuals and communities provided donations and support.We will never forget the people who prayed for us. We will never forget the children who sent us heartfelt letters. We will never forget the spirit of friendship that sent a ray of hope across the ocean. On this, the 10 year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Japanese People would like to once again say to our American friends:
The Embassy of Japan is proud to sponsor three Art in Bloom sculptures for National Cherry Blossom Festival that celebrate the spirit of enduring friendship between Japan and the U.S. We are honored to announce that this trio of sculptures is on display at the Smithsonian Gardens.
(From left to right) The first sculpture is “Renewal Blossom” by local D.C. area artist Ameena Fareeda whose traditional floral motifs serve as symbols of renewal and resilience that speak to both the fleetingness of time and brighter days to come. The artwork pays homage to our heritage and speaks to how we emerged resilient after The Great East Japan Earthquake through the support from our U.S. Partners. Ten years later, this bond between Japan and the U.S. continues to thrive as a truly
The second sculpture is “Blossoms on the Mall” by local D.C. area artist JaybirdsArt which celebrates the unity of two cultures spanning over a century. Japanese cherry trees, gifted to the U.S. from Japan more than 100 years ago, blend in harmony with iconic Washington landmarks to bloom every year as a celebration of our joint legacy as Allies and Friends. The sculpture perfectly depicts the deep roots of our partnership and our continued commitment to the lasting ties that we share through Japan and the U.S.’s #UnshakableFriendship.
The final sculpture is “Chiyogami Compilation” by local D.C. area artist Peijisan Art. This piece is a vibrant take on blending traditional and modern techniques and materials. Its collage approach celebrates the coming together of two unique cultures into a beautiful partnership and working as Allies, Partners, and Friends to create a bright united future. It captures the collaborative spirit of the #UnshakableFriendship between Japan and the U.S. and the beauty that emerges from this bond.