SAN FRANCISCO — The 2015 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, now celebrating its 48th year, is one of California’s most prominent celebrations of Asian traditions. This year, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos will serve as the grand marshal of the Cherry Blossom Parade.

John Roos
John Roos

Roos served at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from August 2009 to August 2013. On Aug. 6, 2010, he became the first sitting U.S. ambassador ever to attend the commemoration ceremony of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima.

His service in Japan coincided with the devastating 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis on March 11, 2011. Following this tragedy, Roos led the American effort on the ground in support of Japan’s response to the multi-dimensional and unprecedented disaster.

After the crisis, Roos also led the creation of the Tomodcahi Initiative, a public-private partnership that has raised more than $30 million and established more than 40 exchange programs.

He is a member of the Board of Directors at and Sony Corporation and of the Global Advisory Board of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

“This year’s festival is excited to have John Roos as this year’s grand marshal as he helped many people after the Tohoku earthquake,” said Allen Okamoto, festival co-chair.

“John Roos represents what the heart of this festival is all about – giving through philanthropy and volunteerism in times of great need. It is our way of acknowledging and saying ‘thank you’ to Mr. Roos for his selfless actions and to sustain the goodwill relations between the two great nations,” said Richard Hashimoto, festival co-chair.

Previously, Roos served as CEO and senior partner at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich, & Rosati, the leading law firm in the U.S. in the representation of technology, life sciences, and emerging growth companies. He is a graduate with honors and distinction from Stanford University and from Stanford Law School, where he was member of the Order of the Coif.

This year’s parade will be on Sunday, April 19, at 1 p.m., starting at San Francisco City Hall and ending in Japantown.

The Cherry Blossom Festival will be held on the weekends of April 11-12 and April 18-19 and is free. For more information, visit

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