TOYOTATIMES

Morizo's Musings | “Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) – Sign of a Fresh Start”

TOYOTA NEWS 2019.04.17

Morizo checking in again!

A cherry blossom tree found in the garden at Kiichiro Toyoda’s home found at the Kuragaike Commemorative Hall, is in full bloom. Today I would like to talk to you about cherry blossoms, and their significance to the Japanese people. In a previous post, I introduced my feelings as I testified at a congressional hearing in the U.S. to address the massive recall issue originating in the U.S.

Precisely one year after the hearing, on February 24, 2011, I invited Mr. Inaba and Mr. (Jim) Lentz, friends who stood by me as we fought, had come to Japan from the U.S., and I invited them to join me in planting the cherry blossom tree.

Sakura, a flower well-known around the globe, has a very symbolic status, both within Japan, but also as a symbol of Japan for many.

Toyota is a global company, but it was born and raised in Japan.

Seeing the similarity, I chose to plant a cherry blossom tree.

But we didn’t stop there; as we thought of our customers as well as the friends who support Toyota, we decided to also plant three kinds of flowers around the cherry blossom tree.

The first of the three flowers is kodemari (Spiraea cantoniensis).

The kodemari is the flower of Kosai City in Shizuoka Prefecture, the hometown of Sakichi Toyoda, and is said to represent “grace.”

The second flower we planted is wild rose. It means “rising up from adversity.”

The third and final flower is thistle. It represents “security.”

Cherry blossoms bloom beautifully, but quickly shed their petals.

One reason the tree is so popular in Japan is because of the fleeting beauty of the cherry blossoms; every season we wait to see them bloom, enjoy them while they are out, and feel sad when they fall and blow away. The feeling of seeing falling petals made me reminisce about the loneliness I felt before the congressional hearing.

However, we were supported by those friends and customers of Toyota.

I recall distinctly recognizing that both Toyota and I were protected by many people.

This led me to think about how much I wanted to work together with our employees, partners, friends, and customers as one to help Toyota fully bloom again. This desire on my behalf was sincere.

Although it blossomed a little later than the somei-yoshino (Yoshino cherry blossom trees), the cherry blossoms in the garden at Kiichiro Toyoda's house quietly bloomed exquisite flowers this year.

For me, the cherry blossoms of Japan also signify a “fresh start.”

When I come to the garden here at Kiichiro Toyoda’s house, it brings back memories of my

friends and the feelings of gratitude that I have for them, both then and now.

This feeling leads me to commit to continuing to do my best for someone other than myself, filled with deep feelings of gratitude.

A cherry blossom tree in the garden at Kiichiro Toyoda’s home at the Kuragaike Commemorative Hall

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