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  • Dear Ms. Parcell,
    I am an old friend of Sara Taber who just forwarded me the link to your website. I am also one of the great-grandchildren of Torajiro Watase who was commissioned by Mayor Ozaki to select and ship the trees on both occasions - 1911 and 1912- to Washington DC and New York. I am wondering if you might have come across any references to my ancestor in the course of your research and would be willing to share them with me. He was a Tokyo alderman, Christian educator and businessman who imported horticultural and agricultural supplies from the US to Japan through his company (now defunct) Kono-en. Might Eliza have met him and his wife Kame - both of them fluent in English as a result of their western education?

    My family would very much appreciate it if some mention of his role and contribution could be included in the National Geographic/official literature accompanying the cherry tree festival. We would be most grateful for any assistance you could provide.

    Yours sincerely,

    Eiko Gustavson
    (Great-granddaughter of Torajiro whose second son Jiro is my mother's father)