Hitachi Tree

Hitachi TreeWe live in a ever smaller world, interconnected in ways we may not be aware of. For example, if you are Japanese electronics giant Hitachi, this tree located on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii, is reportedly worth $400,000USD per year for 10 years. The MorningPaper has a front
page, above the fold article
on what has become known as the Hitachi Tree.

It seems Hitachi has used the image of the tree in its TV ads and corporate reports since the early 1970s as a symbol of, among other things, “synergy, growth and strength”, according to its 2006 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

I’ve driven by the tree, located within sight from the main freeway on O’ahu, many times and admired the symmetry, size, and beauty of the mammoth tree. But I never realized that it stood as a symbol for some in far away Japan!

The tree is located in what is known as Moanalua Gardens,
an area once owned by Hawaiian Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. According to this article, the Princess willed the land to “Samuel Mills Damon, her husband’s business partner and a close friend of the couple.

Damon, a banker and the son of missionaries, died in 1924. His will stipulated that the trustees of his estate make the gardens available during the existence of the trust. The estate ended in November 2004 at the death of his last grandchild and is in the process of being dissolved.” This month, the great-grandson of Samuel Damon, John Philip Damon purchased the estate and engineered the deal with Hitachi to partially pay for the upkeep costs of the gardens.

Although the sponsorship will certainly help towards keeping the gardens open, I have to wonder about the long-term viability of the arrangement and what happens after the passing of the Damon heir. I realize that nothing lasts forever, but it would be a shame if the land, and this magnificent tree, were to also pass on.



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