On July 16th, the board of directors of the America-Japan Society Inc. unanimously adopted the resolution to request the mayor of Setagaya City, Tokyo, to take appropriate measures regarding the residence where Mr. Yukio Ozaki resided.
- Former Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki, the “Father of Democracy” of Japan, is the man who gifted the famous cherry blossom trees from Tokyo to Washington D.C. in 1912. His former residence, located at 30-16, Gotokuji 2-chome, Setagaya-Ku, was built in 1907. (Meiji 40). It is a precious Western-style building built in Japan’s Meiji era. It is said that Mayor Ozaki donated the cherry blossom trees with the budget of the Tokyo city because he wanted to express the gratitude towards the US for contributing to the conclusion of the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japan war. Later in 1950 when Japan was still under occupation by the Allies, Mr. Ozaki was invited to the US Congress, which resolved the appreciation for his effort to have donated the cherry blossom trees.
- The possibility of the demolition of the former Ozaki residence is now a concern amongst people related to the Japan-America Society of Washington, D.C., and the Sakura festival. They are asking if there is any way it could be preserved.
- As time is pressing, we are asking the mayor to explore the ways to avoid the dismantling of the house including designating it as a cultural property.