Welcome to Naoko Abe's Homepage
Naoko gave a lecture to a sold-out Japan Society audience on 16th April, 2018, about Collingwood Ingram. The event was held at the Swedenborg Society in London. Click here for more details.
Naoko talked about how Collingwood Ingram fell in love with Japanese cherry blossoms and went to Japan at the beginning of the 20th century to collect different varieties. Ingram's cherry collection in his garden in Benenden, Kent, was the world's largest at the time. Naoko also discussed the history of cherry blossoms in Japan and how the blossoms were used ideologically by the military government in the 1930s and during World War II.
Thirty-two members of the Ingram family, mostly grandchildren and great grandchildren of Collingwood Ingram and his older brother, Herbert, attended the lecture.
Naoko shows a slide of The Grange, the former residence of Collingwood Ingram in Benenden, Kent
Naoko and the members of the Ingram family after the lecture.
‘Cherry Ingram’ will be published in English!
After winning the prestigious Nihon Essayist Club Award in Japan in June 2016, Naoko Abe's book 'Cherry' Ingram: The English Saviour of Japan's Cherry Blossoms, will now be published in English.
The English version will be an adaptation of the original book, including a lot of new material. It will be published by Chatto and Windus, an English imprint of Penguin Random House, in spring 2019.
It will also be translated into German, Italian, Spanish and Polish.
The original "'Cherry' Ingram: The English Saviour of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms", was published in Japanese in March 2016, by Iwanami Shoten, one of Japan's largest and most respected publishers.
It won the Nihon Essayist Club Award, a major non-fiction award in Japan.
---The award ceremony was held on 29 June, 2016 at the Japan Press Centre in Tokyo.
Naoko Abe gave a speech about 'Cherry Ingram' at the Japan National Press Club on 28 June 2016.
You can watch and listen to the speech on You Tube → click here
(The speech is in Japanese)
• The first edition of 'Cherry Ingram' has sold out and the second is now on sale.
• 'Cherry Ingram' was broadcast in Japan.
NHK, the Japanese equivalent of the BBC, aired Naoko's book 'Cherry Ingram ' as well as Ingram's former home in Benenden, Kent and the Taihaku cherry in full blossom on 11 May on their BS1 channel in the programme 'Overseas report 2016'. The Taihaku shown is the original cherry that Ingram returned to Japan in the 1930s.... link
Naoko Abe tells the story of a self-educated Englishman whose passion for the Japanese cherry blossom saved hundreds of unique and rare varieties of this iconic flower from extinction. Based on 'Cherry' Ingram's diaries, original documents and scores of interviews, the book follows the life of a plant hunter extraordinaire and the enormous impact that his pioneering work has had on cherry blossom cultures around the world.
Naoko Abe takes the reader from Ingram's first sojourn in Japan in 1902 to an historic speech in Tokyo in 1926 exorting Japanese royalty and industry leaders to save the dying blossoms at a time of rapid modernization and westernization. Her environmental detective story describes for the first time how the blossoms survived and examines the flowers' political and cultural heritage throughout the 20th century, including their role in Japanese militarism during World War II, and the evolution of a cloned cherry that's become the global symbol of modern Japan.
Extracts from 5 reviews
(Naoko Abe's) non-fiction book depicts an Englishman who loved cherry blossoms more than we Japanese -- and gave us a stark warning (about their uncertain future). We can only appreciate the ‘Taihaku' -- the Great White cherry’ -- these days thanks to Collingwood Ingram. --- The Mainichi Shimbun (download)
This great work puts the life of the cherry saviour Collingwood Ingram into perspective。It uncovers historic facts about how modernization affected Japan and how distorted and controlled views about the ‘sakura’ were imposed on the Japanese during the war. --- The Tokyo Shimbun (download)
A formidable book, extraordinarily well-researched, with a thick philosophical backbone that sends a powerful message ----Natsuki Ikezawa, The Shukan Bunshun (download)
An outstanding non-fiction book that depicts the history spanning more than 100 years of sakura keepers who devoted their lives to preserving cherry blossoms in Japan and beyond --- Mr. Partner magazine (download)
Ms. Abe highlights the lament of Japan's most distinguished 'sakuramori' ('cherry blossom keeper') when he met 'Cherry' Ingram in Tokyo in 1926: "This is the cherry tree my great grandfather painted more than 130 years ago. This most beautiful variety seems to have gone extinct. I can’t find it anywhere". --- The Asahi Shimbun (download)
The British newspaper 'Courier' wrote about 'Cherry Ingram' on Friday 20 May .
' Famous Oriental blooms stem from Sussex survivor'
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