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Fukuyama, City of Roses, to host world convention and expo

February 25, 2022

Maiko Muraoka
Contributing writer

Bara Koen (Rose Park) received the Award of Garden Excellence from the World Federation of Rose Societies in May 2006. | Fukuyama city

The World Federation of Rose Societies’ 20th World Rose Convention will be held in the Hiroshima Prefecture city of Fukuyama from May 18 to 24, 2025. The triennial convention on roses is the largest event of the World Federation of Rose Societies, which has a history of 50 years and about 40 member countries.

About 600 to 700 people from around the world, including rose researchers and growers, rose lovers and rose artists, will gather at the forum. The conventions are a place for making and deepening friendships and exchanging information as well as a forum for discussing measures such as diffusing knowledge about roses, promoting rose research and standardizing classification and judging criteria for rose trials.

During the convention, a number of committees with representatives from each participating country will exchange thoughts on achieving the goals of the World Federation of Rose Societies, hold lectures on the latest information in the field and conduct visits to rose gardens to deepen the relationships among participants.

A pergola with roses in full bloom at Rose Park | Fukuyama city

In addition, the winners of the Award of Garden Excellence will be chosen and new inductees to the Rose Hall of Fame, selected in a preliminary vote, will be announced, making the event truly an authoritative convention with a tremendous impact on the world of roses.

The deep relationship between Fukuyama and roses began during the postwar reconstruction period. About 80% of the central city was destroyed by fire in an air raid on Aug. 8, 1945. In the mid-1950s, when the city still had not fully recovered from the wounds inflicted by the war, some residents working hard to rebuild the city started to say, “Let’s plant flowers — enrich the devastated city and restore people’s peace of mind.” They planted about a thousand rose seedlings in the place that is now Bara Koen (rose park). This was the beginning of Fukuyama’s community development based on roses. Many people were touched by this movement and started making small rose beds everywhere in the city under the slogan, “Flowers are beautiful, and the hearts of those who love and nurture them are even more beautiful.” Many citizens have participated in the annual Fukuyama Rose Festival. The last two festivals were held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the one held in 2019 gathered a record high of 860,000 visitors. Roses have played a key role in the development of Fukuyama’s building.

In 1985, roses were designated as the city flower, becoming the symbol of Fukuyama. Bara Koen, which has become an important place for citizens to interact, received the Award of Garden Excellence from the World Federation of Rose Societies in May 2006.

The people of Fukuyama believed that “fostering roses leads to fostering a friendly town.” This led to the creation of the term “rose mind,” which refers to a spirit of compassion, kindness and mutual help that they believed would be nurtured through a love of roses. Just as rose mind spread throughout the city, roses spread from residents’ yards to small flowerbeds along the streets and to the entire town. As a result, the Fukuyama City Rose Town Ordinance was enacted in 2015, and the “City of One Million Roses” was achieved in 2016, the 100th anniversary of the city’s establishment. The ordinance promotes further expansion of community development based on roses and citizens’ rose mind and established May 21 as the Day of Roses, commemorating the day in 1956 on which Rose Show was held.

In recognition of these 60 years of postwar efforts that included the creation of a city of roses and the fostering of rose mind, it was decided at the 18th World Rose Convention in Copenhagen that Fukuyama would host the milestone 20th World Rose Convention. Fukuyama Mayor Naoki Edahiro posted a declaration on the convention’s website as one of the supporters of the event together with a number of citizens, companies and organizations who also support the event, which said: “I will make efforts to make Fukuyama a city of roses where everyone shines.”

The theme for the convention is “Roses for the Future — A New Future Begins in Fukuyama.” In addition to the convention, the Rose Expo Fukuyama 2025 will be held concurrently to introduce “the charm of flowers and greenery” and “the charm of Fukuyama, City of Roses” to the world. The expo will consist of exhibitions, contests, performances, workshops and markets held at different venues in the city.

Commemorating the milestone year for the convention, Fukuyama will send out a message of hope for peace and create a new value based on roses while introducing the city’s efforts to realize a sustainable society as outlined in the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, making the event itself sustainable to hand down to future generations.

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