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On the bright side, he could probably write a song about this.

One of the biggest names in Japanese music is easily the former L’Arc-en-Ciel frontman Hyde. With several top-selling albums and sold-out tours, it can be easy to forget the prolific singer’s humble origins lie in the relatively rural area of Wakayama City.

▼ Since we don’t have a file photo of Hyde, here’s one from the time Mr. Sato got a makeover to look like him

Hyde himself certainly hasn’t forgotten, however, and frequently promotes his hometown, even becoming Wakayama’s Tourism Ambassador in 2019. Although he ended his term as ambassador last January, he received a Municipal Cultural Award for his efforts.

And it was during his tenure that Hyde visited Shinrin Park in January of 2020 with a group including Wakayama mayor Masahiro Obana. While in the park, Hyde and the others planted hydrangea saplings, and although the flowers are called “ajisai” in Japanese, the similarity between the flower’s English name and his own was not lost.

【和歌山市ふるさと観光大使「HYDE」さんのアジサイ植樹①】
このたび、HYDEさんの思い出の地でもある和歌山市森林公園(加太)において、アジサイの植樹が行われました。
これは「和歌山市ふるさと観光大使」委嘱時に尾花市長からお願いした「アジサイ植樹」の約束を実現していただいたものです。 pic.twitter.com/MeU27QB8iV

— 和歌山市役所 (@wakayama_master) January 23, 2020

Shinrin Park has somewhere around 9,000 hydrangea bushes and the exact location of Hyde’s was not officially made public. Still, fans of the singer were able to deduce the location based on photos and other evidence, such as in this YouTube video below.

And there they grew, a living reminder of Hyde and his connection to Wakayama that anyone could visit freely and enjoy its beauty. It also helped bring tourism to the area by attracting hardcore Hyde fans from all over Japan.

However, on 6 June, 2021, one such fan reported that Hyde’s hydrangea had been stolen and tweeted a plea for its safe return.

“Please …continue reading