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New variety of sakura named ‘Nur-sultan’ introduced in Japan

13 May 2020 17:45

SAPPORO. KAZINFORM - A new variety of sakura has blossomed on the Hokkaido Island, which was named after the capital of Kazakhstan – «Nur-Sultan». The Forestry Research Institute of Hokkaido Prefecture bred this new variety, Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry informs.

Distinctive feature of «Nur-Sultan» sakura is frost resistance to minus 40 degrees that is one of the most necessary characteristics for adaptation to climate conditions of our capital.

Sakura flower, symbolizing the capital of Kazakhstan, consists of 10 white petals by the double flowering effect, while other sakura varieties usually have 5 petals.

Yoichi Wakita, author of the «Nur-Sultan» sakura variety and doctor of the Forestry Research Institute of Hokkaido Prefecture said: «One of my aims, as a molecular biologist engaged in sakura selection in cold areas of the world, is to constantly improve the genetic capacity of sakura to resist frost. The «Nur-Sultan» variety is both a scientific experiment and a gift-wish to the Kazakhstan people. The enjoying the sakura blossoms is a fundamental cultural code of the Japanese nation and according to Buddhist beliefs, sakura traditionally signify the creative power of nature and the coming of spring. Thus, I express my hope that Kazakhstan will efficiently cope with the spread of coronavirus infection and rapidly recover from the crisis».

Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefecture, is home to the frost-hardy «Chishimazakura» sakura species. The Forestry Research Institute of the prefecture selects this type of sakura using biotechnology.

Sakura is the national brand of Japan. Hanami or the tradition of enjoying sakura blossoms attracts millions of tourists to the country every year. Countries located in temperate climate zones such as Germany, France and the USA have already taken this advantage to attract foreign tourists.

In Japan, the Hanami period lasts from February in hot Okinawa until May in the frosty expanses of Hokkaido. A «wave» of sakura blossoms gradually spread across the country from south to north. There are about 10 wild sakura species in the country, which have been growing since the appearance of the Japanese Islands. Shinjuku National Park, where more than 300 varieties of sakura are planted, is the perfect place for Japanese people to admire cherries.

As noted by Mikio Kurokawa – the son of the famous Japanese architect and developer of the master plan of Nur-Sultan Kishio Kurokawa, «my father, with the special trust of the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, was lucky to realize his concept of architectural direction - metabolism and symbiosis when developing the master plan of the capital of Kazakhstan. His main idea was to harmonize the urban and natural environment on the principle of «symbiotic architecture». I am sure that the new variety of Sakura called Nur-Sultan, which was developed by Japanese scientists, will become another factor that unites our countries».