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Gift of precious Peace Lantern to be presented to Kew Gardens by Portland Japanese Garden

Japanese Landscape, Thursday, 8 December 2022

  • Portland Japanese Garden to dedicate a Peace Lantern for the first time outside of Japan
  • Dedication overseen by world-renowned landscape designer Sadafumi Uchiyama
  • Message of hope inscribed on lantern calls for the ‘light of everlasting peace’
  • RBG Kew welcomes the gifted ‘source of great pride’ and important addition to Kew’s Japanese Landscape

On Thursday, 8 December 2022, Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden will present a masterfully crafted Peace Lantern to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The lantern’s dedication is part of Japan Institute’s Peace Symposium, “Peacemaking at the Intersection of Culture, Art, and Nature”, co-presented by Kew and open to the public at Guildhall in London on 6 December.

The Peace Lantern is inspired by one which Portland received from Mayor Ryōzō Hiranuma of Yokohama in the years following World War II. The Peace Lantern broadcasts a hopeful message for the future and Japan Institute has commissioned one of Japan’s greatest living stonemasons to create a masterfully rendered replica of the original.

This presentation to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew will be a historic moment – it is Japan Institute’s first presentation of a stone lantern to a community and its people outside of Japan. Prior to London, the institute has gifted peace lanterns to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tokyo. These three lanterns have been prominently displayed at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial ­Park, within the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum Square, and on the grounds of the International House of Japan in Tokyo.

Richard Deverell, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says: “Receiving this important symbol of peace is a source of great pride for all of us at RBG Kew.  We have always sought to leverage the power of nature and our stunning living collection to make a positive impact in our shared world. The lantern will be a beautiful and important addition to the Japanese Landscape here at Kew Gardens and we hope that visitors will come from far and wide to enjoy it and learn about its important meaning. Our connection to Portland and other botanic gardens the world over is a vital part of our work, sharing knowledge and resources to protect and restore nature for generations to come.”

The yukimi doro (stone lantern with tripod legs) is stylised in the snow lantern form: the lantern’s firebox is directly underneath a broad sloping roof resembling a traditional Japanese hat made from kasa (rush). In English, a message of hope is inscribed in capital letters: CASTING THE LIGHT OF EVERLASTING PEACE.

The Peace Lantern’s installation in Kew’s Japanese Landscape will be overseen by fourth-generation Japanese gardener and internationally acclaimed landscape designer, Sadafumi Uchiyama. Uchiyama serves as Chief Curator of Portland Japanese Garden and is Director of the International Japanese Garden Training Center.

Steve Bloom, CEO of Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden says: “Japan Institute was borne from what we have witnessed at Portland Japanese Garden for nearly 60 years – the intersection of culture, art, and nature can help provide a better understanding of ourselves and one another. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a global leader in the field of public gardens and is proof that these kinds of institutions can be a catalyst for vital community-building and social change. In recognition of these shared values, we present a gift of a Peace Lantern as a tangible symbol of cultural diplomacy, friendship, and peace.”

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