$30K Raised for Japantown’s Cherry Blossom Trees After Vandalism
At the start of the year, two of Japantown’s Cherry Blossom trees in front of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California were destroyed, down to their trunks.
“This was not simply a passerby trying to break a branch off for fun. Someone took their time to break off and remove every single branch. Some of the larger branches were at least 3 inches thick in circumference and the trees were 12 to 15 feet tall”, said Paul Osaki, Executive Director
Oddly, a third tree was vandalized similarly two years ago.
On Friday, January 8, The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with the costs to replace the trees. After a week, nearly 600 people had donated to the cause, raising more than $30,000, vastly more than The Center’s fundraising goal of $5,000.
The Center planted the original Cherry Blossom trees to commemorate the visit of the His Majesty and Her Majesty of Japan in 1994. They were the first cherry blossom trees to be planted after the SF Redevelopment Agency removed all of the cherry blossom trees that were originally part of Japantown.