Created 9-Apr-07
Modified 10-Apr-07
Visitors 1079
50 photos
The 2007 Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony

Celebrating the 95th anniversary of cherry trees on the Tidal Basin --- March 27, 1912 - April 8, 2007

The National Park Service, National Capital Region and the National Conference of State Societies are joint sponsors of this annual event. Lighting the historic Japanese Stone Lantern on the shore of the Tidal Basin has been a highlight of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC since 1954. Thousands of local visitors and tourists come each year to view the majestic beauty of more than 3,000 cherry trees that bloom along the Tidal Basin, near the Washington Monument and throughout Potomac Park. Fifty-three years ago on March 30, 1954, Japanese Ambassador Sadao Iguchi presented the lantern to the people of Washington DC. The presentation celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first peace treaty between Japan and the United States of America. This week observed the 152nd anniversary of the same treaty. Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy signed the treaty document almost exactly 152 years ago on March 31, 1854. This lantern is one of two stone lanterns that stood outside a temple called the To-ei-zan Kan'eiji in the ancient city of Edo. Today Edo is called Tokyo and the lantern was moved from Ueno Park where it stood from 1651 until 1954. The lantern has now stood at the shore of the Tidal Basin for the last 53 years. The lantern symbolizes friendship and peace between Japan and the U.S. It was carved by Japanese stone workers 356 years ago. A worn inscription on the lantern refers to a date on the calendar of ancient Japan that is equivalent to November 20, 1651 on the Julian Calendar then used in Europe and colonial America. The lantern weighs two tons and stands 8 1/2 feet tall. This type of lantern was used to honor the Shoguns of the Tokugawa period. It is the oldest freestanding man-made stone structure in Washington DC that is outdoors and not in a museum. It was first lit in Japan only 31 years after English pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and 125 years before Thomas Jefferson wrote America's Declaration of Independence.

Categories & Keywords
Category:Lifestyle and Recreation
Subcategory:Festivals
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:ceremony, cherry blossom, commemoration, festival, people, spring, washington dc

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