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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Japanese Lantern

Sakura Park

 
 
Japanese Lantern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2016
1. Japanese Lantern Marker
Inscription.  
          This unique monument is a traditional Japanese stone lantern, dedicated in Sakura Park on October 2, 1960.

          The monument was a gift of international friendship, and its inscription (now worn away) read, “Presented by the citizens of the Metropolis of Tokyo to the citizens of the City of New York in celebration of the Tokyo-New York sister-city affiliation inaugurated on February 29, 1960”.

          The Japanese stone lantern, or ishi toro, was traditionally used for illumination at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. During the Momoyama period (1573-1615), the sculptural form was adapted for decorative use in tea gardens or roji. Granite or syenite was the material most often used. The size and proportion varied depending on its placement in the garden, and a number of diverse styles evolved. Over time, their function as a housing for oil or candles gave way to a decorative purpose.

          The lantern in Sakura Park is an example of the style known as kasuga-toro, and includes a stylized lotus flower at the base of the capital, reliefs of imaginary animals, and a capstone with six
Japanese Lantern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2016
2. Japanese Lantern Marker
The monument can be seen beyond the marker.
volutes. The style originated in the province of Kasuga; this particular example was built and carved by skilled Japanese artisans in 1930. Its total height is more than 14 feet, and it weighs close to seven tons. It was delivered to the United States aboard the maritime training vessel Nippon Maru. Another Japanese toro may be seen locally at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

          The dedication ceremony was attended by Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko, as well as 1,500 onlookers. In October 1987, Akihiti, now Emperor, returned with the princess, and participated in a ceremony at the lantern attended by Mayor Edward I. Koch, Commissioner Stern, and Gordon Evans, president of International House, built in 1924. The adjacent multi-story residence and cultural center serves numerous foreign and American students attending institutions of higher learning in the metropolitan region.

          Sakura Park derives its name from the Japanese word for cherry tree. In 1912, Parks received a consignment of two thousand cherry trees from Japan, many of which were planted in the vicinity of Riverside Park. Today, both landscape and monument represent the enduring and flowering exchange between the American and Japanese people.
 
Erected 2014 by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is
Japanese Lantern Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2016
3. Japanese Lantern Marker
listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionParks & Recreational AreasPeace.
 
Location. 40° 48.81′ N, 73° 57.705′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Riverside Drive, on the right when traveling north. Marker is found at the north end of Sakura Park, by the International House. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10027, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sakura Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Tomb of General U.S. Grant (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); General Daniel Butterfield Statue (about 400 feet away); General Grant Memorial (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Sakura Park (about 400 feet away); Horace Porter (about 400 feet away); Fred’k D. Grant (about 500 feet away); Claremont Playground (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
Also see . . .  Sakura Park / Japanese Tori. Official NYC Parks description. (Submitted on April 10, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
Marker in Sakura Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2016
4. Marker in Sakura Park
Japanese Lantern in Sakura Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2016
5. Japanese Lantern in Sakura Park
Japanese Lantern Marker, prior version image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, March 27, 2013
6. Japanese Lantern Marker, prior version
The earlier version was less rectangular, named the mayor and commissioner, and covered in plastic.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2016, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 223 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 24, 2016, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   6. submitted on April 23, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.
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Jan. 19, 2021