Honda Leads Rose Parade, Kicks Off Cultural Exchange
January 16, 2017 – Honda led the 128th Rose Parade on Jan. 2 with its float entry, “Hope Blooms Forever.” The float celebrated 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 featured 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.”
In addition to participating in the Rose Parade, the students of the TOMODACHI-Honda Cultural Exchange Program will take part in several exchange activities with their high school peers, meet U.S. military first responders who supported Japan in 2011, and spend several days with host families experiencing American family life.