Obituary: Masami Matsuda helped plant sister-city status

  • Updated: March 25, 2012 - 11:32 PM
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Masami Matsuda, designer of Como Park's Japanese garden

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Masami Matsuda, who designed the Como Ordway Memorial Japanese Garden in St. Paul's Como Park, died last month in Nagasaki, Japan. He was 89.

A Buddhist ceremony will be held this week in Nagasaki to mark the 49th day after his death, according to JoAnn Blatchley, president of the St. Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee.

Como Park's Japanese garden, which opened to the public in 1979, was created to symbolize the friendship between St. Paul and Nagasaki, the first sister-city relationship established between Japan and the United States after World War II.

In addition to the St. Paul garden, Matsuda, a ninth-generation gardener, created public and private gardens all over the world, Blatchley said in an e-mail.

From 1970 to 2000, he made seven trips to St. Paul to create and improve the garden. He was involved in every step of its creation, even planting trees and shrubs, and would spend hours determining the location of every stone, Blatchley said.

In a letter read at a ceremony at the garden in 2000, Matsuda wrote, "My heart is filled with joy that this meaningful lantern-lighting festival is happening. In my mind's eye, I can visualize the lanterns floating on the ponds. May this experience become a bridge, enhancing the exchange between our countries and expand[ing] the ring of peace and friendship in this world."

It was signed "the man who loves St. Paul more than any."

PAMELA MILLER

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