TORRANCE, Calif., Dec. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Honda will lead the 128th Rose Parade presented by Honda on Monday, January 2 with its float entry, "Hope Blooms Forever." The float celebrates the friendship shared by the United States and Japan through the TOMODACHI Initiative, and pays tribute to the resilience of the people of Fukushima, Japan.
The float will feature 20 high school students from Japan's Fukushima prefecture, an area devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami, as part of the TOMODACHI - Honda Cultural Exchange Program. TOMODACHI, which is Japanese for "friend," was established by the governments of the United States and Japan following the 2011 disaster to create new bonds of friendship between Japanese and American youth through educational and cultural exchange activities.
"We were inspired by the 2017 'Echoes of Success' parade theme and thought it was fitting to invite the TOMODACHI students to ride the Honda float," said Steve Morikawa, Vice President of Corporate Relations & Social Responsibility, American Honda. "The students symbolize the renewal of the damaged areas of Japan and exemplify the power of dreams in overcoming tragedy."
The students contributed to the many regional design flourishes seen on the float, each showcasing the natural beauty of Fukushima, including:
- A replica of "Miharu Takizakura," one of the most famous cherry blossom trees in all of Japan, located in Fukushima.
- Two "Kikuningyo," or chrysanthemum dolls, representing the life-size figures from feudal Japan that are created each fall for the annual Nihonmatsu Chrysanthemum Festival.
- A floral display of "Hanami-yama," a flower-filled mountain that Fukushima farmers have developed over the years.
The float design also includes an origami crane, emblematic of healing, and the mythical phoenix, a symbol of renewal. The two converge in the center with a large origami rose that opens in a kaleidoscope effect as doves are released from the center of the float. The float is further brought to life by four rotating, synchronized origami roses, and brilliant butterflies.
The vibrant float is 75 feet long and 24 feet high, punctuated by color and movement. In keeping with Honda's commitment to the environment, it will be powered by a specially configured low-emission, hybrid powertrain. In addition to the float, the Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle will serve as the parade's official pace car while the Ridgeline will be the official sound vehicle. The parade's theme banner float will also be powered by Honda.
Honda and the Tournament of Roses
2017 marks the 56th year Honda has collaborated with the Tournament of Roses and its seventh year as presenting sponsor. Honda first collaborated with the Tournament of Roses in 1961 to provide two-wheeled vehicles for 1962 Parade operations. Honda has been a float participant in the Rose Parade since 1977, and has provided the official Tournament of Roses vehicle since 1994. Honda continues to supply two-wheeled vehicles and also provides side-by-side (multi-utility) vehicles for Parade operations.
As presenting sponsor, the Honda float is the first in the Rose Parade and showcases the theme. As a result, it will not be considered a commercial entry and will not compete during the judging process. Prior to becoming presenting sponsor in 2011, Honda floats won awards in 15 of the previous 16 years.
About American Honda
American Honda was established in Los Angeles, California, in 1959. Today, Honda companies in North America represent a cumulative investment of more than $22 billion and employ more than 40,000 associates in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, financing and servicing of Honda and Acura automobiles, Honda powersports products and Honda power equipment products.
Honda has been producing products in America for more than 33 years and currently operates 19 major manufacturing facilities in North America. Honda also operates 16 major research and development centers in the U.S. with the capacity to fully design, develop and engineer many of the products Honda produces in North America. In 2015, more than 99 percent of all Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were made in North America, using domestic and globally sourced parts.
About the Pasadena Tournament of Roses
The Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that annually hosts America's New Year Celebration® with the Rose Parade® presented by Honda, the Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual and a variety of accompanying events. 935 volunteer members of the association will drive the success of 128th Rose Parade themed "Echoes of Success," on Monday, January 2, 2017, followed by the 103rd Rose Bowl Game. For more information, visit www.tournamentofroses.com. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and visit our blog at blog.tournamentofroses.com.
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SOURCE American Honda Motor Co., Inc.