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Tuesday, 13th March 2012
In Japan Entertainment News,

Japanese pop stars head to US for cherry blossom centenary

Music fans in the US capital Washington will get the chance to see two of Japan's biggest-selling pop acts when they head across the Pacific later this month.

Concerts have been organised featuring Misia and AKB48 to celebrate the centenary of Japan gifting its iconic cherry blossom to the US, AFP reported.

The shows will also act as a thank you message to the US for the support it offered Japan following the March 11th tsunami and earthquake in 2011.

Japanese R&B superstar Misia will play a concert on March 25th as part of a ceremonial event to mark the 100th anniversary of Japan offering the US its famous pink-flowered trees.

Two days later, the J-Pop all-girl supergroup AKB48 will sing at two free gigs wearing their trademark school uniforms.

The band, who are named after the Tokyo neighbourhood Akihabara, which is famous for its geek culture, will also make a trip to a local school.

In 1912, Japan gave more than 3,000 cherry trees to the United States as a token of their friendship, and despite the fact that the two nations went to war in the 1940s, the annual cherry blossom festival is still a major tourist attraction in the US capital.

Speaking to reporters, Japanese ambassador to the US, Ichiro Fujisaki, said: "This is one of the examples of 'Cool Japan'," the news agency quoted.

"I think people will enjoy it - the traditional and modern Japan, both sides of that."

Mr Fujisaki added that Japan hoped that it could use the cherry blossom festival "to show that we are recovering from this huge disaster and, second, to show how much the Japanese are grateful" for the help offered by the US.

As well as AKB48 and the 30 million album-selling Misia, Hideki Togi will also be performing, as well as a jazz orchestra from the Miyagi prefecture.

In February, six of the 48-member AKB48 performed a one-off show in Beijing to say thank you for China's support following last year's disasters.

Written by Susan Ballion

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