How Denmark Inspires

The Annual Sakura Festival, a Flowering of Japanese Culture in Copenhagen

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By Helen Russell

The annual Sakura festival organized by the Japanese community in Copenhagen is a must-see for the Japanophile in Scandinavia. Two hundred cherry blossom trees were donated to Denmark in 2005 by Japanese businessman Seiichi Takaki—of the Andersen Institute of Bread & Life, a Japanese baked goods company based in Hiroshima—to mark the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen. The trees were planted in Langelinie Park, near the famous statue of H C Andersen’s Little Mermaid—and their glorious flowering every spring is now celebrated with a festival of Japanese culture.

“It’s a beautiful event and wonderful to see the two country’s flags flying side by side—both red and white,” says organiser Kazuko Mayer. “Through the festival, we’ve introduce the Japanese culture to Danes, and they have embraced it.”

This year, on April 25-26th 2015, the park will play host to traditional dance displays, haiku recitals, handicraft demonstrations, stalls selling authentic Japanese food and drink, and even - rumour has it - a karaoke contest. Langelinie Park is situated between Gefion Springvandet and the Little Mermaid statue on Copenhagen’s waterfront.

sakurafestival.dk

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Photographs courtesy of Noki Nok.