Growing Friendship

Alex Hara is a Japanese-born businessman living in Dayton, Ohio. When a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami shook his homeland in 2011, he watched the devastation on television helplessly from thousands of miles away. Though saddened by the events, he was inspired by the rapid response of the American military and the willingness of the American people to donate their money, products, and time to people half a world away.

This was the birth of Operation 1000 Cherry Trees.

Why 1000 Cherry Trees?
A Message from The Chair

It happened on March 11 2011. A massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan. The photos displayed on the television were totally unbelievable, and I felt as if I was watching a science fiction movie.

As a Japanese living in Dayton, Ohio since 1979, I still felt a strong affinity for my homeland half a world away. I was touched by the generosity of the citizens of the Dayton area in this time of crisis. Later, I learned that millions of dollars had been donated by the people of the United States. I also learned that it was US military that first arrived at the devastated area. Twenty thousand men and women in uniform were deployed, in the largest peace mission of the US military.

Knowing how grateful the citizens of Japan are for that help in their darkest hour, I conceived “Operation 1000 Cherry Trees” as an opportunity to give something back. The cherry blossom is a potent symbol that illustrates the fleeting nature of life and represents the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.

This year, I’ve made it my mission to purchase, plant, and nurture 1000 cherry trees here in the Dayton area – a reminder of the strong bond of friendship that still exists today between the United States and Japan.

I’d like to express my condolences to those who perished and lost their livelihood in this tragedy. And I ask you to join me in this effort, so the citizens of Ohio will always be reminded of the thankfulness of a grateful nation.