Tokyo Cherry Trees Visit

Co-founders of the Zhou Enlai Peace Institute, Xiao Fang Zhou and Michael North, visited Tokyo in May, 2012.

They were hosted by Olivier Urbain, Director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, and his wife, Yoko Urbain. The purpose of the trip was to learn about the life’s peace work of the renowned Japanese philosopher, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda.

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The Zhou Enlai Peace Institute presented an original book of photographs of famous cultural sites in China, including Zhou Enlai’s birthplace in Huaian, to Dr. Ikeda, through a mutual friend. We visited the headquarters of Min-On Concert Association, and beautiful Soka University, where two famous cherry trees were planted to honor Premier Zhou Enlai and his wife, Deng Ying Chao, in 1975 and 1979 respectively.

The cherry trees continue to flourish.

We took tours of educational exhibits, and held long, fascinating conversations about two men of peace — Dr. Daisaku Ikeda and Premier Zhou Enlai — whose paths crossed in Beijing long ago. We considered how their legacy may be respected and renewed in the 21st Century.

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photos of cherry blossoms at Soka University, outside Tokyo, spring 2012;
 Shingo Horiguchi