Aoyama Tree Designation Ceremony, July 17, 2008


On July 17, 2008, the Aoyama Tree in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, was designated Historic Cultural Monument No. 920 by the City of Los Angeles. In attendance at the ceremony were the city dignitaries, Koyasan Buddhist Temple members, and Little Tokyo community activists who campaigned for official recognition for the tree. The Aoyama Tree is the first living object to receive this designation from the city.

The tree, a Moreton Bay Fig, stands at the former site of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple. It was planted in 1920 and is named for Koyasan mission's founder, Rev. Shutai Aoyama.

Slides in this album 


Click on the photo to view a flyer from the event describing the history of the Aoyama Tree and Koyasan Buddhist Temple.

The Aoyama Tree
Contributed by: fmpotter

Rev. Aoyama with tree, 1920

Rev. Aoyama, the founder of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple mission, poses in front of the temple in 1920, soon after the tree was planted.

1920 Koyasan Temple
Contributed by: lthistory

Historic Cultural Monument dedication ceremony, 2008.

Although the Aoyama Tree continues to grow at its original location, the landscape around it has changed. The former commercial street is now an art park featuring the Japanese American Museum, the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, and the Geffen Museum of Contemporary Art (visible in background). On …

Aoyama Tree Dedication Ceremony, July 17, 2008
Contributed by: fmpotter

Bishop Taisen Miyata and Reverend Shinyu Sato

Bishop Taisen Miyata and Reverend Shinyu Sato, both of Koyasan, begin the ceremony with prayers.

Rev. Taisen Miyaya and Rev. Shinyu Sato at the Aoyama Tree, Los Angeles
Contributed by: fmpotter

Goeika Poem

Koyasan's Eiyu-Kai, accompanied by Bishop Miyata and Rev. Sato, chant a Goeika Poem.

Goeika Poem Chanting by Koyasan's Eiyu-Kai, Los Angeles
Contributed by: fmpotter

President Frances Nakamura

Temple President Frances Nakamura addresses the audience.

Frances Nakamura, Koyasan Temple President
Contributed by: fmpotter

Presentation of the certificate

Greg Fischer, deputy director from Council District 9, presents a certificate of recognition to representatives of Little Tokyo Historical Society and Koyasan Buddhist Temple.

Presentation of Historic Cultural Monument, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
Contributed by: fmpotter

(left to right): David Nagano, Deanna Matsumoto, Bill Watanabe, Kiku Harada, Bishop Miyata, and Rev. Shinyu with the certificate of recognition.

Aoyama Tree Dedication Ceremony, Los Angeles California.
Contributed by: fmpotter

Television personality Huell Howser (right) recorded the ceremony for California's Gold.

Deanna Mastumoto, Huell Howser, and Shofu Shohara
Contributed by: fmpotter

Jack Kunitomi

Jack Kunitomi, 92, stands at the base of the Aoyama tree.

Kunitomi remembers climbing the Aoyama Tree as a boy living in the neighborhood more than eighty years ago.

Jack Kunitomi at the Aoyama Tree, Los Angeles
Contributed by: fmpotter

Koyasan in the Present

The facade of the Koyasan Buddhist Temple at its new location at 342 East First Street in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California.

Koyasan Temple 2006
Contributed by: lthistory


Today the tree continues to shade the area that was formally First Street North, towering over the new National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (left).

Aoyama Tree from the Museum, August 2008
Contributed by: fmpotter

Album Type

community history

fmpotter — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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