Japanese Stone Lantern
Presented to the city of Washington on March 30, 1954, this stone lantern symbolizes the enduring cultural partnership that re-emerged between Japan and the United States after World War II. Its twin still stands in Tokyo's Ueno Park amid a grove of cherry trees.
Part of a gift of giving cycle that began in 1912 with Japan's donation of cherry trees. This lantern commemorates the 100th anniversary of Commodore Matthew Perry's historic mission to Japan.
The National Park Service and the National Conference of State Societies (NCSS) have conducted the Lantern Ceremony since 1954. Every year, the lantern is lit by the Embassy of Japan's appointed Cherry Blossom Princess. The audience counts down from five, and like the Olympic torch, the lantern is lit in an exciting traditional event that signals the arrival of spring and represents one of the more beautiful times in the Nation's Capital.
This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival honors the 100-year anniversary of the gift of trees (Image taken by Patrick R. Kane on 23 Mar 2012 with Canon EOS 5D at ISO 100, f11.0, 1/30 sec and 70mm)