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APSU joins Japanese Universities at Nashville Cherry Blossom Conference

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – Cherry blossoms have much deeper meanings than their external beauty. The flower represents an ethereal aspect of existence that is popular in Japanese studies. Japanese cherry blossoms found in America share the meaning of persistence and enduring friendships.

Japanese Cherry on the Austin Peay State University Campus. (APSU)
Japanese Cherry on the Austin Peay State University Campus. (APSU)

In 1885, Eliza Scidmire proposed Japanese cherry trees should be planted along the Potomac waterfront in Washington, D.C. Years later, U.S. First Lady Helen Taft, Dr. Jokichi Takmine, and the mayor of Tokyo fulfilled that proposal with 2,000 cherry trees.

Tennessee continues a strong relationship with Japan. In 1981 Nissan motors began work for its Smyrna facility. Since 2009, over 100 cherry trees have been planted each year to honor the state’s continuing connection to Japan.

At this year’s Nashville Cherry Blossom Conference – 7:00pm-9:00pm April 6th via Zoom – students from Austin Peay, Komatsu University, and the Prefectural University of Hiroshima will host presentations exploring the deeper meanings of the cherry blossom and the Tennessee-Japan connection.

There will also be guest presentations from a teacher in Nagoya, Japan, and Austin Peay State University alum, Justin Randall, who is teaching in Japan. After the event has concluded, APSU President Michael Licari and the Consul General Kayoko Fukushima of the Nashville consulate will give remarks.

“We are really excited to hold this conference and enjoy the participation of our Japanese colleagues,” said Dr. David Rands, associate professor of history and philosophy and director of Asian studies at APSU. “While the pandemic has reduced our ability to physically meet, Asian studies at APSU has taken advantage of our technological tools and is developing strong connections with our partners in Japan.”

If you are interested in attending this event, register here.


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