Sakura: Enduring Symbols of Friendship
Over the last one-hundred years, Washington’s cherry blossoms have become widely emblematic of Japan, its people, and American appreciation of Japanese culture. Hybrid traditions evolved as visitors flocked to enjoy the glowing blossoms. In 1927, school children re-enacted planting the 1912 trees—a precursor to the first Cherry Blossom Festival in 1935 which, after suspension during World War II, became an annual event along with the crowning of a Cherry Blossom Queen and Princesses. Since their arrival in 1912, the sakura trees have been a renewable source of delight, bringing communities, families, and individuals together in annual celebration.
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National Cherry Blossom Photo Contest
In 2011, FotoDC hosted its first photography contest in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. In an open call, photographers were invited to submit photographs of the blossoms and festival in three categories—Events, People, and Landscapes. The photographs on view are among the winners and honorable mentions selected in each category by jurors David Hicks, Kim Hubbard, and Jayme McLellan before being acquired by the Library on the occasion of this Sakura exhibition. An Truong’s festival parade shows sunlight glowing in floating lanterns near the Washington Monument. Community and family are celebrated by Leah L. Jones, who captured a mother enjoying her daughter’s first time at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Bernard Chen’s exquisite portrait of a Tidal Basin cherry tree brings us full circle, connecting the original planting of the trees in 1912 to our continued enjoyment of them today.