A tree planting ceremony was held at the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden on the morning of Saturday, October 28, 2017. The tree was dedicated in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Springfield and Isesaki, Japan. The two cities have enjoyed a meaningful friendship over the years based around the Springfield Sister Cities mission of “Peace through People.”
Sixteen delegates from Isesaki visited Springfield for the occasion from Wednesday-Sunday, October 25-29. Six delegates were general Isesaki citizens while 5 were city officials and 5 were gardeners. The gardeners spent much of their visit improving the Meditation Garden within the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden. Isesaki was instrumental in the development of the Stroll Garden, and it continues to be a great partner in maintaining its beauty and authenticity.
The tree planting ceremony began with traditional Japanese dancing by Kizuna Japanese American Friendship Club. Remarks were made by leaders from Springfield Sister Cities, Friends of the Garden (FOG), and Springfield-Greene County Park Board – each indicating appreciation for Isesaki’s friendship and ongoing support. The Isesaki gardeners and city officials followed with their remarks, echoing gratefulness for their relationship with Springfield and the importance of “Peace through People.”
The tree, a Japanese maple donated by Myron Royce Gardens of Ozark, was dedicated near the entrance to the Meditation Garden. Groups took turns ceremoniously shoveling dirt to plant the tree.
Attendees stuck around after the ceremony to enjoy the beautiful Stroll Garden and the great work completed by the Isesaki gardeners.
“Tree planting renews three decades of Peace through People”
by George Freeman, FOG Board Member and Ozarks Living Editor
For many of us, to imagine a friendship that stretches half-way around a troubled world requires a leap of faith and courage born out of a desire to build bridges, not barriers, on a theme of “Peace Through People.” It is not to be taken lightly.
Three decades later, the people of Isesaki, Japan and Spring?eld have labored to build such a relationship. It is through the serenity of a sublime garden that the two cultures have come together.
Master gardeners from Isesaki have traveled time and again to share centuries of skill, most recently symbolized in the planting of one more tree in the name of peace. May it continue for a millennium.