A Taste of Japanese Culture with Sakura Festival at Sabancı University

Sabancı University hosted the "Sakura Festival" on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Japan. The Sakura Festival was held for the first time at Sabancı University, which has nearly two thousand sakura trees and has the largest sakura population in Turkey. While introducing Japanese culture in detail, the festival also strengthened the traditional Turkish-Japanese friendship.


Sabancı University experienced one of its historic days with the "Sakura Festival", which was held outside Japan for the first time. Thousands of students and guests had the opportunity to get to know Japanese culture closely at the festival, where the color harmony created by the flowers of nearly two thousand sakura trees in the campus area presented unique images. The festival, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the beginning of Turkish-Japanese relations, lasted all day and night. The festival held on the Sabancı University campus, which has the largest sakura tree population in Turkey, was attended by Güler Sabancı, Founding Chair of the Sabancı University Board of Trustees, Katsumata Takahiko, Ambassador of Japan to Turkey, Prof. Dr. Yusuf Leblebici, President of Sabancı University, Ali Çalışkan, Secretary General of Sabancı University, Güler Sabancı's friends from the business and academic world, and many distinguished guests.

Among the guests attending the festival were Japanese Consul General Kasahara Kenichi, Mitsubishi General Manager Yasunori Sakamoto, Toyota CEO Ali Haydar Bozkurt, Bolez Tavuk Chair Athisiko Chikuhama, Itochu General Manager Takashi Kisimoto, Bridgestone Japan Representative Manager Tomio Fukuzimi, and Marubeni General Manager Shigeru Yamaguchi.

The festival, decorated with the flowers of sakura trees, which symbolize rebirth in Japanese culture, also created a resource that will support successful young people in need of financial support studying at Sabancı University to continue their success within the scope of the "Make a Promise for the Future" Scholarship Program

Güler Sabancı

Güler Sabancı: “The Sakura Festival was a great opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of relations between Turkey and Japan”

Making a speech to Turkish and Japanese guests, employees and students at the Sakura Festival on the Sabancı University campus, Founding Chair of the Sabancı University Board of Trustees Güler Sabancı said that they are passionately committed to growing sakura trees. She continued, “The relations between Turkey and Japan have always been good. At Sabancı, we are privileged and honored to have extremely reliable partnerships with Japanese companies. Today, our partnerships are very successful because we share the same values with these companies and our collaborations are based on many years of trust. We no longer count the years, and today we are here celebrating the centennial of Japan-Turkey relations.


Sakuras are an important detail of Japanese culture. It all started with Komatsu, an incredible partner we have been working with for many years, who brought us sakura trees. Our students now experience and enjoy sakuras with pleasure every year. I would like to thank everyone who joined us for our Sakura Festival. I think this festival is a nice way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Japan.”

Katsumato Takahiko

Japan's Ambassador to Turkey, Katsumata Takahiko, also pointed out that sakura is a symbol of the deep Turkish-Japanese relationship and said: “Sakura and tulip are very symbolic national flowers. Growing thousands of sakuras in the beautiful climate of Istanbul is a very difficult task. But it's a great feeling to see them grow in this special campus area. In Japan, these trees bloom in the first or second week of April. Here, too, I relived the feeling I had in the parks in Japan. Sakura trees opened a new page for the beginning of the friendly story between the two countries. In terms of economic relations between Japan and Turkey, with the cooperation initiated by Sabancı Holding in 1980, mutual trust was established with various Japanese companies. This friendship made significant contributions to the investment and encouragement of Japanese companies in Turkey. I congratulate Mrs. Güler Sabancı for her achievements over many years in improving the relations between Japan and Turkey. I am grateful for the organization of such an event on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Japan. If you allow me, I say Türkiye is my second country.”

Yusuf Leblebici

Prof. Dr. Yusuf Leblebici: “We have 7 different types of sakura trees”

Making a speech at the gala night of the Sakura Festival, Sabancı University President Prof. Dr. Yusuf Leblebici stated that there are 3,700 Sakura trees in Washington, the capital of the United States, compared to 1,962 trees on the Sabancı University campus. He said, “We are proud to host 7 different types of sakura trees on our campus. The sakura trees, which gave their name to this event, were donated to Sabancı University by Komatsu Group in 2007. These tiny trees bloomed and flourished for the first time in 2008-2009, and they have grown a little more each year to reach today. Today, you all saw the magnificence of these sakura trees of Sabancı University on our campus. We thank you very much for being with us on this beautiful day.”

Çay Serenomisi

Japanese culture starred at the festival

The Sakura Festival held at Sabancı University started with the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. This was followed by the screening of the movie The Boy and The Heron, with which Hayao Miyazaki, considered one of the greatest masters of animation, made his magnificent return to the cinema after a decade, and received the Best Animation Oscar at the 96th Academy Awards. The fragrance/scent experience, origami workshop, sushi workshop, shadoo (Japanese calligraphy) workshop, and ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) workshop activities, and the kendo/Japanese sword art show fascinated the audience. Within the scope of the program, Yugetsu Akasaka Concert, DJ Kunio Teramoto, and DJ SALAM performances and Kufuki Concert provided the festival participants with enjoyable moments full of music.

Cem Adrian

A breeze of Japanese and Turkish cultures on the gala night

The night program of the Sakura Festival organized by Sabancı University, which broke new ground on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Japan, was held at Sabancı Performing Arts Center. At the gala night attended by many guests, Sabancı Holding Chair Güler Sabancı and Sabancı University President Prof. Dr. Yusuf Leblebici took great care of their guests.

Famous Japanese band WA League was the first to take the stage at the Sakura Festival Gala Event. The group delivered a very special performance bearing the traces of traditional Japanese culture. After the group, the stage was taken by songwriter and composer Cem Adrian, one of the most important voices of the new generation.