Co-creating a brighter future with stakeholdersPass on the heritages of Japan to the next generation under the Japanese spirit of greater harmony
Decline of cherry trees at Mt. Yoshino in Nara Prefecture
We received a certain phone call at the end of March 2008. It was a request of the following content coming from Yoshino Town in Nara Prefecture: "The cherry trees of Mount Yoshino are losing their vitality. If we don't remove the dead trees and plant new seedlings, we will lose the cherry trees. Since the founder of Daiwa House Industry is from this Yoshino area, won't you give us your help?"
Mt. Yoshino in Nara Prefecture is famous for its cherry trees. It has approximately 30,000 cherry trees, mainly of the Shiroyamazakura variety, and was registered as a World Heritage in 2004. The cherry trees of Mt. Yoshino were donated in ancient times for use as lumber to build the main temple of Kimpusen-ji Temple, and has been cherished for more than 1,300 years as a sacred tree that appeases the spirits and brings down the gods. However, the cherry trees of Mount Yoshino are now in a dangerous situation, due to environmental changes of recent years and from the decline in the trees' vitality. As this area is the place of origin of our founder, Nobuo Ishibashi, we began activities starting fiscal 2008 to support the conservation and restoration of the cherry trees in Mt. Yoshino.
Decline of cherry trees nationwide
As we began activities to preserve the cherry trees of Mt. Yoshino, we learned that an increasing number of cherry trees in Japan were nearing the end of its life span. Many of the cherry trees that we see are the Someiyoshino variety, which has a life span of about 50 to 60 years. Thus, the many trees that were planted during the same period after World War II are coming to the end of their life span. We believe that this decline of cherry trees, which hold a dear part in the hearts of the Japanese people, is a serious problem for our society.
And thus, we gave thought to what we could do to help this situation, in our position as a business that holds offices at various locations nationwide, and that conducts business activities under the concept of living in harmony with the local community. As a result, we started the Sakura Project from 2010 together with the children who are our next generation under the slogan of "sakura wo tsunagu [let's pass on the cherry trees]."
Passing on the cherry trees to the next generation
Our founder, who grew up among the trees of Yoshino, loved nature more than anything, and also had a deep love for the Japanese spirit and culture. In order to pass down the cherry trees, whose flower is symbolic of Japan, to our future generations, as well as the beautiful landscape that had been cherished to this day, we are conducting research on the cherry trees of Mount Yoshino, as well as conducting volunteer activities at the site. Our volunteer activities involve collecting seeds from the mother tree of the Shiroyamazakura cherry trees, which has been growing in Yoshino since ancient times, and developing healthy saplings from these seeds to give rise to a new generation of cherry trees. We are working with the local people and providing long-term support in order to protect the beautiful landscape of Mount Yoshino, where the entire mountain becomes gorgeously painted with cherry tree blossoms during its flowering season.
Inheriting and passing down the Japanese spirit of greater harmony
Through our activities to protect the cherry trees of Mt. Yoshino, we learned that cherry trees cannot maintain its beauty without the help of human hands, and that it requires both time and effort. The cherry trees that we see before us right now exist because of the continuous efforts that were given to these trees by the people before us. In our long history, cherry trees have grown alongside the hearts of the Japanese people. Cherry trees that have been invested with the efforts and hopes of the people have a unique and mysterious appeal to us all.
We, who have been born and nurtured in Yoshino, will continue the baton that has been passed down from earlier generations. The DNA of our founder, that honor the spirit of the Japanese people, will be passed down to the future by our involvement in cherry trees through the Daiwa Sakura Aid. By passing down the cherry trees to the future, we will continue activities that will help pass down the culture and traditions that Japan should be proud of to the future generations.
Philosophy of Daiwa Sakura Aid
[Activities] Daiwa Sakura Aid
This project links our projects to preserve the cherry trees of Mount Yoshino with our Daiwa Sakura Project, a project operating under the keyword of cherry trees [sakura] to give students in pre-schools and elementary schools the opportunity to come into touch with Japanese instruments and plant cherry trees. The activities help pass down the wonderful Japanese spirit that has been cherished by the people, such as in the environment, culture, history, and tradition, to future generations.
Donations for cherry trees are collected at the site.
CD production and sales
A part of the sales are used in activities to preserve cherry trees.
Cherry tree photo exhibit
Landscapes of Mount Yoshino are introduced through a photo exhibit.
Issuance of the pamphlets "Sakura" and "Sakura no Kyokasho"
These pamphlets are created with mainly visuals to share our deep sentiments toward the cherry trees.
Activities to preserve the cherry trees at Mount Yoshino
Efforts to protect the cherry trees in Yoshino of Nara Prefecture, which is the place of origin of our founder, Nobuo Ishibashi, was started in fiscal 2008 upon having received a request for support from the local people. A cherry tree development orchard was created in Mt. Yoshino by working together with the Yoshinoyama Hoshoukai. Efforts to grow Shiroyamazakura cherry tree saplings from seeds are being conducted six times a year with participation by our employees.
This project started in fiscal 2010. Most of the activities are held toward elementary schools and kindergartens nationwide, and provide students with an opportunity to perform and experience Japanese instruments, as well as to plant cherry trees. It gives the children of our future a chance to learn about the wonderful and beautiful aspects of the Japanese culture by giving them a real and hands-on experience, while also helping them to learn about the natural environment and the importance of life by nurturing the growth of cherry trees.
Planting a memorial tree to commemorate the 60th anniversary In commemoration
The founder of Daiwa House Industry, Nobuo Ishibashi, was born in Kawakami Village in the Yoshino District of Nara Prefecture, and went on to establish our company in Osaka on April 5, 1955.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of our company, a young cherry tree was planted in Kawakami Village, which is considered the place of origin not only for our activities to preserve the cherry trees at Mount Yoshino, but also the place of birth of our founder.
Yoshino Town, Nara Prefecture
Chairman Higuchi (photo right) received a letter of gratitude for the support that our company has provided over the years from Mayor Kitaoka of Yoshino Town (photo left).
* The title of the person is as of 2015
Our project of planting saplings that started in fiscal 2010 has now entered its sixth year, and the first sapling that our Group's employees nurtured from its seed has finally been returned to Mount Yoshino. A commemorative plate made of Akahada-yaki pottery was presented by the potter, Takaaki Takeda.
Kawakami Village, Nara Prefecture
In cooperation with the Kawakami Village, our company is planting trees for the purpose of creating a beautiful landscape for the future in the residential area of what was formerly the Shiraya area, which was abandoned by the people after the landslide that occurred during dam construction work. Two Shiroyamazakura cherry trees were planted in a corner of this area.
Together with our employees
The number of participants to the volunteer activities at the site are increasing every year, receiving support not only from our Group employees but also from their families in efforts to grow cherry tree saplings from seeds.
We learn that each and every step that we take during the one-year cycle is leading to the growth of the cherry trees, and we pay careful attention to each and every seedling with the hope that the cherry trees will grow to be healthy and strong.
Together with our shareholders
Starting fiscal 2011, we have been receiving donations from our shareholders through our stockholder special benefit plan. In fiscal 2014, we received a total of 1,658,000 yen of support, which are being effectively used at the orchard for growing cherry trees for its preservation, management, and the healthy growth of tree saplings, as well as for the revitalization of the cherry trees of Mt. Yoshino.
We have high expectations toward Daiwa House Industry's CSR activities
The people at the CSR division of Daiwa House Industry, who learned of the dangerous situation facing the cherry trees of Mount Yoshino, which is a place registered as a World Heritage, has been helping us to preserve and recover the cherry trees from a few years ago with the backing of the entire company, including their employees and shareholders. Thanks to their efforts, we have nearly completed our guideline for the recovery of the trees, and we have also received a visit from Chairman Higuchi（at that time） this April to see the situation. Although we could never repay them for their efforts, I believe that the cherry trees of Yoshino serve as a definitive representation of the unique sensibilities that we, who live in Japan, possess.
It is with a heart filled with gratefulness, and with high expectations, that I hope that everyone associated with Daiwa House Industry, which is now expanding globally as it continues beyond its 60th anniversary, will have the Japanese spirit grounded securely within the depth of their hearts.
Ryomei Fukui, President Yoshinoyama Hoshoukai
In commemoration of the100th Sakura Project
On October 2, 2014, the Sakura Project welcomed a milestone with its 100th event.
For this event, we planted six different types of cherry trees at a corner of the grounds of the Nagatoro Elementary School, to commemorate the completion of their new building in August 2014. This school, located in Watari Town of Miyagi Prefecture, is where our company has been providing support together with SAP Japan as part of our efforts to assist in the recovery efforts from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
We planted the trees while saying with the children, "grow strong and big," with our hope that these cherry trees would be able to create new histories together with this new building of the Nagatoro Elementary School as it heads into the future. We will continue to use Japanese instruments and cherry trees as a means to communicate the wonderful aspects of the Japanese culture and traditions to elementary schools throughout Japan.
Hoping to teach the children of our future about the importance of life
The Sakura Project, which started in fiscal 2010, has now been able to welcome its fifth year.
We have been visiting nearly 130 elementary schools in Japan to perform Japanese instruments and plant cherry trees.
When we plant the cherry trees, we voice our wishes not only toward the trees but also to the students. "Planting a cherry tree means to plant a life. Growing a tree means to grow a life. By taking care of the tree, you are also taking care of life. I hope that you will also take care of your own life as well as those of the others."
What looks now like a skinny cherry tree sapling will one day grow big and blossom with beautiful flowers.
It would be a beautiful thing if these elementary school students would one day grow to have a family, and bring their family to see this tree. I would also hope that they would think about this tree when they are feeling down and depressed.
And in such a time, our hope is that they will hear the tunes of the taiko drums, shamisen, and shino flute riding on the winds from some unknown place.
We hope that the Daiwa House Industry's Sakura Project will always remain in the hearts of the people. We will continue to communicate our desires to the children, who are the future generation of Japan.
Ryohei & Kohei Inoue
AUN, Japanese musical instruments performers
DSA charity concert
We are actively conducting activities to transmit the Japanese spirit to the next generation through our activities to protect and pass down our cherry trees. We are conducting charity concerts with music artists who share the same thought. In fiscal 2014, 11 concerts were held, mainly in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area and the Kansai area.
Also, to commemorate the 10th anniversary since Mount Yoshino was registered as a World Heritage, and the 60th anniversary since the founding of Daiwa House Industry, a charity concert was held on March 30, 2015 at the Bunkamura Orchard Hall in the Shibuya Ward of Tokyo. This concert was attended by 1,430 people.
We also collected donations to help preserve the cherry trees at each of DSA's concert venue, and collected a total of 588,309 yen donations in fiscal 2014.
Inheriting everyone's sentiments on the cherry trees and connecting them toward the future
Cherry trees continue to enrich our hearts even today, just as they have done so in the past. We are able to continue on with our activities and continue to receive support because there is a strong desire within everyone—including the local residents, our employees, and the artists who agree to participate in our project—to keep the cherry trees into the future.
I will keep in mind these thoughts of everyone, as well as the desires of our founder, as I continue to give my best effort and work tirelessly to pass down the cherry trees to the next generation.
Maho Miyakawa, Social Communication Section, CSR Department