Celebration of the first cherry blossom season of the 200 trees at Langelinie Monday 15 May 2007

Original text: Helle Nebelong (English translation by Embassy of Japan)

Photo: Tim Henningsen and Amalie Nebelong

In 2006 Copenhagen Municipality was given 200 Japanese cherry trees by the Danish Honorary Consul in Hiroshima, Mr Seiichi Takaki on the occasion of H. C. Andersen's 200 year birthday. The first cherry blossom season of the trees in Langelinie Park was celebrated with a fine little ceremony on 15 May. In Japan "hanami" which means "flower-viewing" or "admiration of flowers" is celebrated every year.

The new trees in Langelinie Park burst into blossom on Sunday 7 May, and the full bloom of light pink flowers could be enjoyed for a week. The cherry blossom front - sakura zensen in Japanese - is both capricious and transient.

The Technical and Environmental Mayor, Mr Klaus Bondam welcomes HH Princess Elisabeth to the celebration of the first cherry blossom season of the trees in Langelinie Park. Princess Elisabeth is the patroness of the Denmark-Japan Society.

Mayor Klaus Bondam bid everyone welcome and in his speech, which he held in English in honour of the Ambassador of Japan and his wife, he said, inter alia:

"At the moment the cherry flowers came out, the citizens of Copenhagen immediately began unfolding their picnic blankets underneath the treetops on the grass next to the monument of the naval hero Ivar Huitfeldt. A new annual event - sakura hanami - has reached Copenhagen thanks to a Japanese baker's appreciation of many years of relations with Denmark."

H.E. Ambassador of Japan Mr. Gotaro Ogawa held a speech in Danish in honour of the mayor and he said, inter alia:

"I am sure that the cherry trees will become a symbol of the friendship between our two nations, and please allow me to propose that from next year, when the trees come into blossom, one could arrange some kind of friendship event which could take place under the beautiful blossoming trees."

Goodwill Ambassador Mr. Peder Holm, who represented the Japanese donor of the trees, Mr. Seiichi Takaki, thanked Copenhagen Municipality on his behalf for having accepted the cherry trees and planting them at Langelinie. "Mr. Takaki hopes that the people of Copenhagen and the many guests to the city will enjoy his gift," concluded Mr. Peder Holm.

H. E. Ambassador of Japan Mr. Gotaro Ogawa and Mrs. Machiko Ogawa

Ladies attired in kimonos and Japanese drum music created a new exciting atmosphere in Langelinie Park

The proficient Danish drum group from Valby - Seido Taiko - struck up a festive mood both before and after the speeches. The group has been training for several years and has even been to Japan to be taught by Japanese drummers.

The exciting boom of the drums and the accompanying cries in Japanese from the young drummers gave the celebration an especially powerful quality.

The Seido Taiko drum group from Valby provided impressive entertainment

The first celebration of the cherry trees is over. HH Princess Elisabeth takes her leave of H. E. Mr. Ogawa

Time for a group photo of the Japanese ambassador and the elegant ladies in kimonos under the cherry trees which have nearly finished flowering. In one year they will blossom again!