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Since Taft and Chinda’s historic planting more than a century ago, the United States has adopted certain aspects of the hanami tradition. It is, in part, due to the fact that the Cherry Blossom Festival continues to draw large crowds — about 1.5 million annually — not just from the local area but also from all across the nation and the globe.“The National Cherry Blossom Festival signifies the start of spring and is the nation’s greatest springtime celebration,” said Nora Strumpf, communications coordinator of the festival.The Washington Post reported Japan gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the United States a hundred years ago, and the trees still grace the nation's capital.But the spring season has yielded to the bloom of nationalist sentiment in East Asia that is gaining traction with the most recent remarks."We don't want to get into a war of words with Japan and South Korea, but we want to assert a fact: Many historical documents confirm that the cherry blossom's place of origin is in China," He Zongru said.The Chinese spokesman said South Korean claims to the trees are also questionable.In March, South Korea had claimed the flower's DNA could be traced to Jeju Island, off the southern coast of the peninsula."None of this is Korea's business," he said, according to the South China Morning Post.

“The custom of arranging viewing excursions of the cherry blossoms dates back at least that far.” The blossoming of sakura was also significant because it marked rice-planting season, when one of the country’s most valuable crops is sowed.

Hitzig, who also serves on the board of directors of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, has been with the Society for over a decade.

Before then, he was immersed in Japanese culture when he lived abroad as a language teacher in Nagaoka City, Niigata.

Zhang Zuoshuang, an official at the Botanical Society of China, said 50 out of 150 types of cherry blossom trees could be found in China.

On March 27, 1912, two women stood in West Potomac Park in Washington, D. According to Kevin Doak, a professor and Nippon Foundation endowed chair in Japanese studies at Georgetown, there is another significant subtext to the burgeoning relationship between the United States and Japan.

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