Japan-America Society Projects
Among the projects supported by the JASNH are initiatives concerning the Portsmouth Peace Treaty, its history, legacy of citizen diplomacy and the connections throughout New Hampshire that link the two. JASNH also hosts the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forums which explore, through Japanese, Russian and American perspectives, the history of the Treaty of Portsmouth and its relevance to current issues involving the Northern Pacific region. The JASNH offers a platform for examining US international diplomacy in the "spirit of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty."
In 2010, the New Hampshire Legislature unanimously passed legislation designating September 5, Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day, recognizing the importance of the 1905 Treaty proceedings in New Hampshire history and the role of citizen diplomacy in ensuring the success of the peace conference. Each year since then, the Governor of New Hampshire has issued a Proclamation calling on all New Hampshire citizens “to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities commemorating this important part of New Hampshire history.”
On September 5, 1905, Portsmouth celebrated by ringing bells throughout the city. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum revived that tradition. Now the celebration of Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day and NH citizen diplomacy takes place in Market Square in Portsmouth, starting at 3:30 pm. The Governor’s Proclamation is read, along with letters from New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation. At 3:47 pm, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard sounds a memorial salute at the exact moment the Treaty was signed in 1905 and, on that cue, the bells of Portsmouth ring. The public is welcome to participate in the ceremony at the Treaty historic marker outside the Piscataqua Savings Bank and Judge Calvin Page memorial (15 Pleasant Street).
The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Living Memorial Cherry Trees bloom each spring all around the Seacoast and across New Hampshire, as a reminder and celebration of New Hampshire history and the citizen diplomacy that helped end the Russo-Japanese War. The cherry trees in Portsmouth are particularly noticeable on the bank of South Mill Pond next to City Hall. The large trees were a gift in 1985 from Portsmouth’s Sister City Nichinan Japan, where Baron Komura the lead Japanese negotiator at the 1905 peace conference was born. The smaller trees were planted in 2012, after the Japan-America Society of NH(JASNH) learned that the iconic Washington DC cherry trees celebrate the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. The Japanese Foreign Ministry offered cherry trees descended from those yoshino cherry trees to 32 cities around the US, including Portsmouth and the JASNH started planting them at key Treaty sites throughout Portsmouth and New Hampshire as a Living Memorial to the treaty and New Hampshire’s citizen diplomacy.
In addition to the rows on the banks of South Mill Pond, these cherry trees can be seen at
Strawbery Banke Museum (Marcy Street community garden)
John Paul Jones House Museum (Middle/Porter Street corner)
Wentworth By the Sea Hotel (formal garden opposite the hotel)
Temple Israel (Court Street side entrance, memorial garden)
All Portsmouth Public Schools
And around New Hampshire, in Dublin, Hanover, Lancaster, Littleton, Manchester, Meredith and Milford.
The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum was founded in 1994 to explore diplomatic themes “in the spirit of The Portsmouth Peace Treaty.” Since then, the Forum has hosted senior diplomats including Ambassadors Dennis Ross, Samantha Power, Fiona Hill and Jake Sullivan.
The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum makes connections between the history that happened In Portsmouth in 1905 to end the Russo-Japanese War, and the idea that citizen diplomacy is both possible and critical to the 21st century global community.