Welcome to Naoko Abe's Homepage
Please also follow Naoko on Instagram @cherry_naoko
< Latest News>
Naoko gave a talk at Chipping Campden Literature Festival about 'Cherry' Ingram. It was the first on-site speech in 18 months and the tickets were sold out.
Spain's newly appointed culture and sports minister, Miquel Iceta, calls the 'Cherry' Ingram book (the Spanish edition) 'a story of great sensitivity ' and 'a book he liked very much for those who want to delve into it this summer'.
to read the article, click https://www.eldiario.es/cultura/iceta-ministro-pasara-verano-prendido-haikus-tina-turner_1_8193652.html
Culture and sports minister Miquel Iceta
•Naoko appeared on BBC2's 'Great British Railway Journeys' on 18 May.
Naoko showed the programme host, Michael Portillo, the former home of Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram in Benenden, Kent. She told Michael the achievements of Ingram and how he returend the 'Taihaku' variety to Japan in 1932 from his garden.
Naoko and Michael in front of the original 'Taihaku' tree at The Grange.
•The Spanish edition is out.
The Spanish edition of 'Cherry' Ingram was pubished on 12 May by Editorial Anagrama in Barcelona.
•Naoko was interviewed by America's NPR (National Public Radio) , which was aired on 5 April in their popular 'All Things Considered' program.
In the interview, Naoko talked about the influence of climate change on cherry blossoms.
In Kyoto this year, cherry trees bloomed at their earliest in 1,200 years and it was said that this was the result of global warming.
But it's not that simple. Global warming will delay the blooming of the blossoms in the long term, and this is already happpening in southern Japan.
•On 7 April 2021, Naoko gave a zoom talk for a sold-out fundraising event organized by The Grange in Benenden, Kent. The Grange is the former residence of Collingwood 'Cherry' Ingram. It is now a care home for adults with learning difficulties. Over 100 people joined in the event.
Naoko talked about how Collingwood Ingram built his cherry garden at The Grange in the 1920s, as well as history of The Grange and how Ingram's cherries continue to inspire and connect people to the present.
•There will be more zoom talks in April.
•14 April 7:30pm for Women's Institute. (In English)
•23 April 3pm for Japan Association in the UK. (In Japanese)
Taihaku returns to Funatsu family.
After 95 years, a Taihaku cherry tree which is the offspring of a cherry tree at 'Cherry' Ingram's garden in Kent, has been planted in the Tokyo garden of the great grandson of Japan’s most renowned cherry expert, Seisaku Funatsu.
Collingwood Ingram had met Funatsu in 1926 and vowed to return the Taihaku tree to Japan, where it was extinct. Funatsu died before the tree was returned in 1932 to Kyoto.
So Keiichi Higuchi, a cherry researcher and friend of the Funatsu family, has now planted an offspring of the Kyoto tree in the garden of Funatsu’s great grandson. Finally, the Funatsu family can enjoy Japan‘s great white cherry.
Keiichi HIguchi , left, and Hideko Funatsu, the wife od the great grandson of Seisaku Funatsu, planting the offspring of 'Taihaku'.
The original Taihaku tree at The Grange, the former residence of Collingwood Ingram, in Benendenm Kent
Seisaku Funatsu in 1926
The Polish edition of 'Cherry' Ingram has been released.
This beautiful ‘Sakura Quilt’ just arrived from Naoko's friend in the U.S. She said that her friend in Hawaii was inspired by Naoko's book, ‘The Sakura Obsession,’ to make this. She created a kimono-shaped quilt from pieces of textile that she had bought in Japan which contained images of cherry blossoms. It's an absolutely lovely piece of art !
'THE SAKURA OBSESSION' , the American version of 'Cherry' Ingram, The Englishman Who Saved Japan's Blossoms, has been given the CBHL's 'Award of Excellence in History' as part of its 2020 annual literature awards. https://www.cbhl.net/award-winners
The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL) is an international professional organization in the field of botanical and horticultural information services.
The literature award is given to the author and publisher of a work that makes 'a significant contribution to the literature of botany or horticulture'.
----Other awards and citations given to the 'Cherry' Ingram (The Sakura Obsession) book ---
The Nihon Essayist Club Award 2016 (for the original Japanese version)
BBC Radio4: ‘Book of the Week’, March 2019
The Sunday Times: Best Gardening Books, 2019
NPR's Science Friday: Best Science Books, 2019
The Irish Times: Best Gardening Books, 2019
PopMatters: Best Non-Fiction Books, 2019
The Daily Mail: Best Books for Nature Lovers, Christmas 2019
Woodland Trust: Best Books of the Year, 2019
Naoko participated in a cherry planting ceremony at the Earl of Cranbrook's estate in Great Glemham, Suffolk
The cherry planting ceremony was held at the White House Farm, the residence of Jason Gathorne-Hardy, eldest son of the 5th Earl of Cranbrook, on 6 March 2020.
The 1st Earl of Cranbrook built The Grange, the former home of Collingwood 'Cherry' Ingram, in Benenden, Kent, in the late 19th century. Ingram was fascinated by the two mature cherry trees in the garden, which ignited his passion for cherry blossoms. He later named the trees 'Hokusai' after the famous Japanese wood print artist.
Jason Gathorne-Hardy, who had already planted 50 cherry trees in his garden, found out about the family links to 'Cherry' Ingram through the 'Cherry' Ingram book. He then decided to plant more trees to celebrate his discovery and to mark the 100th anniversary of Ingram's encounter with the Hokusai trees at The Grange.
The Earl of Cranbrook, left, and Jason, planting a 'Hokusai' tree.
Naoko and husband Paul planting Ingram's creation, 'Kursar'
Peter Ingram and Heather Bowyer, Ingram's grandchildren, planting 'Taihaku', the variety saved by Ingram.
The Gathorne-Hardy family, the Ingram family, Naoko and some local residents
Jason Gathorne-Hardy, the Earl of Cranbrook, and Naoko Heather, Peter, Naoko and the Earl of Cranbrook
Naoko, Jason and Peter Ingram with 'Okame', Ingram's creation
Naoko and the Earl of Cranbrook at a cherry blossom supper
Naoko's article 'A BLOSSOMING OBSESSION' was published in the Kew Magazine's spring 2020 edition. It explores the history of Kew Gardens' cherry trees and reveals the 60-year relationship that Collingwood 'Cherry' Ingram had with the Gardens.
The Dutch edition of 'Cherry' Ingram 'SAKURA', was published in March 2020 by Thomas Rap.
'Sakura' was in the Netherland's top 10 best-seller list for several weeks in the spring. It became a "sales success" after a "substantial 5-star review in NRC Handelsblad," the nation's newspaper of record, according to de Volkskrant.
★The Italian edition of 'Cherry' Ingram, 'PASSIONE SAKURA', was published in March 2020 by Bollati Boringhieri.
★The German edition, 'Hanami', also came out in March 2020.
★The Spanish and Polish editions will be published in the autumn 2020. The Chinese edition is being translated from the Japanese original and will be published in 2021.
★'Cherry' Ingram paperbacks are out in the UK.
★The U.S. paperback, 'The Sakura Obsession', was published in February 2020.
★Naoko gave a lecture for the Surrey Garden Trust in Ashtead on 25 January as part of their winter lecture series.
•'Cherry' Ingram was named as one of the Sunday Times 'Books of the Year'.
('The Culture', November 24,)
It was one of the Books of the Year 2019.
•'Cherry' Ingram was chosen as one of the best books of the year 2019 by the Woodland Trust, the UK's largest woodland conservation charity.
After winning the prestigious Nihon Essayist Club Award in Japan in June 2016, Naoko Abe's book'Cherry' Ingram: The Englishman Who Saved Japan's Blossomswas published in the UK on 21 March 2019.
The book was selected as The BBC Radio 4 Book of the Weekfrom March 18th - 22nd and has received global recognition fromThe Economist, The Spectator, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and many more.
The US version, The Sakura Obsession, was released a few days later.
•Naoko gave a lecture at the AGM of the Japanese Garden Society on 16 November in London.
The photo on the screen is Ingram in old age and his dog Noddy, whom he bought after he lost his wife, Florence. People always love this photo.
•Naoko gave a talk about 'Cherry' Ingram at the Ways With Words Festival at Dartington Hall in Devon on 10 July. It was a beautiful summer day.
The Hall is a medieval estate and in the 1930s was converted into a cultural hub in south-west England.
There is a very old Taihaku cherry tree in the garden. It is suspected that the tree might have come from 'Cherry' Ingram's garden in Benenden.
•Naoko gave a talk at two venues in the beautiful Kent countryside.
@Benenden School 28th June, Benenden, Kent ---the home of 'Cherry' Ingram
Naoko talked in the marquee set up in the Benenden School's garden on a beautufully sunny Friday afternoon. Many local people came to hear the talk including Peter Kellett on the right, and his wife Sylvia to his left. Peter knew Collingwood Ingram very well. He owns a nursery in the area and helped Ingram graft his cherries. To the left of Naoko is Charlotte Humphery who was Naoko's editor at Chatto & Windus for the 'Cherry' Ingram book.
@Wealden Literary Festival 30th June, Boldshaves Garden, Woodchurch, Kent
Naoko talked in the Garden Tent on Sunday morning, it was another beautiful day . About 100 people came to hear the talk. They were a very attentive and welcoming audience with lots of questions about Collingwood Ingram and cherry blossoms. To Naoko's left is Peregrine Massey, the owner and the designer of Bolshaves Garden.
Book signing after the talk. Quite a few people were the locals who had heard about C. Ingram and his cherries in Benenden.
With a friend Sonia who came all the way from Dubai to Wealden.
•Naoko and her husband Paul visited Charlotte and Donald Molesworth who live next to The Grange, the former residence of Collingwood Ingram in Benenden. They live in a house which used to be Ingram's gardner's cottage. They are both gardeners and helped restore Ingram's garden in the 1980s.
Charlotte and Donald
They converted the former 'potting shed' of C. Ingram into a self-catered holiday let.
You can read the 'Cherry' Ingram book while staying in the 'Potting Shed'.
Check the website : https://bit.ly/2Xmkt3M
•Naoko was interviewed by Miranda Mills for her lovely podcast 'Tea and Tattle' .
Listen to Naoko talk about 'Cherry' Ingram. ----- click here to listen
•Naoko gave a talk and booksigning at the Garden Museum in London and another one at John Sandoe bookstore in Chelsea.
PLANT JOURNEYS: AN EVENING WITH NAOKO ABE, JAMIE COMPTON AND CHRIS LANE
June 4 @ Garden Museum
Talking to the audience of about 60 people at the Garden Museum
Answering questions with the other speakers, Chris Lane in the middle and Jamie Compton at the far right.
Book signing after the talk.
NAOKO ABE ON 'CHERRY' INGRAM, THE MAN WHO SAVED JAPAN'S BLOSSOMS @ John Sandoe bookstore
June6 @John SANDOE BOOKSTORE
Talking to a small group of very engaging people at the bookstore.
•Naoko did a book signing at John Sandoe's bookstand at the Chelsea Flower Show on May 23.
Naoko will be speaking about 'Cherry' Ingram at John Sandoe bookshop in London on 6th June.
•Naoko planted a young cherry tree, a variety called Collingwood Ingram', at Pembroke Lodge in RIchmond Park on April 30.
Naoko is a member of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project Committee, a group of Japanese residents in the UK that is donating more than 5,000 cherry trees to the Britith people. Eighty sites throughout the UK will receive the trees this year and next.
Richmond Park is one of the 80 sites. On April 30, the Royal Parks invited the committee members to the park.
This event marked the beginning of the cherry tree planting in the park.
Naoko planting the 'Collingwood Ingram' tree. This variety was developed in Belgium in Ingram's honour. Behind her is Simon Richards, head of Richmond Park,
The Comittee members with Simon Richards and Jo Scrivener, assistant park manager, second from the left. To Naoko's left is Sandy Sano, head of the Committee.
☆Naoko toured the US in April 2019☆
Naoko talked to an audience of about 80 people at the Japan Foundation in Los Angeles on April 18.
She also talked to a small group at a Japanese garden in Glendale on April 21, Easter Sunday.
The teahouse was recently renovated by the Japan Foundation.
Naoko was interviewed by Ira Flatow of NPR (National Public Radio) on April 12 in New York for the 'Science Friday' show.
With Ira Flatow in the NPR studion in New York.
Here is a link to the interview and an excerpt from the book
Okame cherry was in full blossom in Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This is a variety C. Ingram created
'The Sakura Obsession' on disply at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Naoko gave a talk at the US National Arboretum in Washington DC on April 15.
Naoko talked to about 50 people--the arboretum staff and others from the US Library of Congress and the Smithsonian.
☆Naoko's talk at a Aye Write Festival in Glasgow☆
To celebrate the publication of 'Cherry' Ingram, a book launch party was held at London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury, London on March 26th.
'Cherry' Ingram books at the launch.
Naoko gave a speech."This book came into the world with so many people's support", she said.
Over 100 people attended the launch.
Quite a few members of the Ingram family came to the launch party.
Another book launch event was held at The Daiwa Foundation in London on 22 March.
Naoko spoke to a sold-out crowd of 140 guests about Ingram's life.
Photos provided by the Daiwa Foundation.
Just before the publication on March 11, Naoko gave a talk to an audience of about 70 people at Words by the Water festival in Lake District.
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'
...... continue to