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“Given the fraught relationship between China and Japan, isn’t that a major cultural faux pas?”

by Prince Of Petworth November 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm 30 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Am I the only one that noticed Mayor Bowser is in China this week to promote Sino-DC commercial relations but is using promotional materials that highlight U.S.-Japanese friendship (ie, the cherry blossom trees)? Given the fraught relationship between China and Japan, isn’t that a major cultural faux pas?”

  • spookiness

    No. Cherry blossoms are symbolic of the city and found all over the US, eastern US anyway. Japan doesn’t have any exclusive claim to cherry trees.

    • General Grant Circle

      The Cherry Blossoms that Washington is known for were gifts from Japan….

  • I Dont Get It

    Oh geez, I thought maybe she was wearing a kimono or something. DC is known for its cherry blossoms–lets not overthink this.

    • textdoc


    • jdre

      I’d lean toward agreement that it’s nbd – but to lean the other way… the reason DC has a lot of cherry trees and is known for those cherry trees is that they were a gift from Japan.

      • I Dont Get It

        Although China claims that the “Japanese” Cherry trees actually originated in China.

        • jdre

          China claims a lot of things…

        • jdre

          But yeah – this is a wafer thin point, at best (the whole Japan / tree image thing)

  • eggs

    Cherry blossoms are so symbolic of DC though too that I doubt anyone read into it this far.

    • General Grant Circle

      Symbolic for DC because Japan gave them to us…
      Then bombed us…

  • Kathryn-DC

    Given that there is a huge and very active Chinese businesspersons association here that has a good relationship with the mayor’s office, it’s possible they looked at materials beforehand. I could be wrong, but it seems possible.

  • d

    LOL. First we’re angry that the Mayor spends money to go to China on a junket.

    Now we’re angry that she didn’t custom design promotional materials for the junket that seems to vary from completely unimportant to of vast geopolitical significance depending on who is mad about what?

  • Anon. No. 5

    “These aren’t the outrages you’re looking for.”

  • jcm

    The Spanish national basketball team making squinty eyes in their group photo before the Beijing olympics is a major cultural faux pas. This is a picture of a bunch of DC politicians posing in front of a picture of Washington DC.

  • textdoc

    Given that the cherry trees are a symbol of U.S.-Japanese friendship, this is maaaybe a minor misstep. But only a minor one. It’s not like these are promotional photos showing Muriel Bowser making a trip to the Yasukuni Shrine or something.

    • I Dont Get It

      …in a kimono swigging sake…

    • annonny

      Or complemented President Xi by explaining how much she loves Moo Goo Gai Pan and asking whether his family is related to General Tso and if so can she get a copy of that chicken recipe.

  • Steve

    I thought all China/Japan tension was resolved with the opening of Shanghai Tokyo in Columbia heights?

    • ChenChen

      so stupid but made me lol. hahaha

  • FridayGirl

    Why the cherry trees? What about the PANDAS?!

  • dcd

    “Am I the only one that noticed . . . ”
    Yes. Yes you are.

    • Jo

      No, I noticed it and thought it was a slightly odd choice given the various histories.

  • anonymous

    You’re just a hater on the Mayor and this is just an excuse to hate even more.

  • anonymous

    I’d pay $10 to know what that Chinese gov rep in the picture is thinking. What an embarrassment.

  • Stillwell Kai-Mao

    I like it, it captures the irony that once we were allies with China in WWII fighting the Japanese. And since the war, peace, economic, and social ties grew quite strong between the US and Japan, but not as much China. Speaks to a vision of great new economic and social ties between the 2 world capitals. Chongqing and the Hump flight. Chiang Kai-shek. Zhou Enlai. Mao. Taiwan. Toyota. Springtime blossoms.

  • baz

    what is Anthony Williams doing there?

  • Herr Grumpus

    Enough of this pussy footing around, cap in hand. We demand treaty ports.

  • Garper

    Bowser instead should have used artwork from a packet of Scooby Snax, one of China’s main exports to the District.

  • What you can’t see (because they’re blocking the image) is that this is a photo of the Jefferson Memorial, which is “framed” by cherry blossoms. Stop overreacting, it’s a photo of DC.


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