A seed planted several years ago at a meeting of the California Japanese American Alumni Association reached fruition this weekend, with Saturday’s formal dedication of a Japanese cherry tree grove at the West Circle of the Berkeley campus.
“This grove of cherry trees,” reads the plaque installed at the site, “stands as a legacy to the graduates of Japanese ancestry in recognition of their contribution to our society and as a tribute to the educational excellence of the University of California.”
According to the West Gate Cherry Tree Project website, the flowering cherry tree, or sakura — well-known to visitors of Washington, D.C. — is celebrated throughout Japan, and is part of the Japanese culture and heritage. Both the culture and the heritage were on display Saturday, as gatherers — including project donors and alumni of Japanese descent — were treated to musical performances by San Jose Taiko and Public Affairs’ own Shirley Wong, a Berkeley graduate herself, who played the koto.
The grove will be managed by UC Berkeley Capital Projects.