Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Hitachi Tree

The Hitachi Tree
One of the most famous trees in the world is in Hawaii, standing proudly in Moanalua Gardens Park with the pink Tripler Army Hospital looking down upon it.

It’s “The Hitachi Tree,” so named because it has become the corporate symbol of the Hitachi Group of Japan. You may be familiar with the quality electronics produced by Hitachi, but they are also well-known in utility work, transportation, medical health care, biotechnology, the environment, power and industrial sectors.

In fact, Hitachi is the world’s third-largest technological company.
As a corporate symbol used in Hitachi’s advertising since 1973, the tree is a 130-year-old monkeypod (Samanea saman). The landowner – Damon Estate – contracted with Hitachi to use the tree’s image for promotional purposes, obtaining annual payments of $20,000. When the land was sold, Hitachi renegotiated its contract (to $400,000 annually) with the new owner – Kaimana Ventures – in 2006.
The tree has been designated an “Exceptional Tree” by the City and County of Honolulu and cannot be removed or destroyed without the Honolulu City Council’s approval.
When I visited the park yesterday, proof of the tree’s notoriety was quite evident when four tour buses full of Japanese tourists drove into the parking lot. The tourists, mostly young couples and children, raced to have their pictures taken at the tree.
Fortunately, I was at the end of my visit and didn’t have to contend with the crowds.

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