2021 / Portland Japanese Garden passing torch from hand to hand : Sada Uchiyama promoted to Chief Curator

Sadafumi Uchiyama (left) and Hugo Torii at Heavenly Falls in the Portland Japanese Garden. Photo by Megumi Kato.

PORTLAND, Ore – Jan. 29, 2021 – This January, Portland Japanese Garden is announcing the promotion of two key leaders at the organization.

Sadafumi (Sada) Uchiyama has been promoted from Garden Curator to the position of Chief Curator and Director of the International Japanese Garden Training Center.

Hugo Torii has been promoted from Director of Grounds Maintenance to Garden Curator. This transition marks a critical step in securing and nurturing Portland Japanese Garden for the future.

“We could not ask for more competent and talented stewards of Portland Japanese Garden who also possess the critical understanding of Japanese culture,” says Steve Bloom, CEO of Portland Japanese Garden. “Both Sada and Hugo exhibit the highest degree of care, passion, and professionalism, and I look forward to having them continue to preserve our beloved and treasured Garden so it’s here for generations to come.”

These promotions will allow for a smooth, long-term transition of vision, knowledge, and duties. Torii, who has deep experience in landscape design and maintenance through his previous roles at Gartenlandschaft Berg in Germany and UeyaKato Landscape Co. in Japan, was sought out to take on the role of Director of Grounds Maintenance at the Portland Japanese Garden.

During the nearly three years in this role, Torii worked under Uchiyama’s guidance in preparation for the Garden Curator position, where he will be overseeing the daily maintenance, design, and health of the Garden.

In the transition from Garden Curator to Chief Curator and Director of the International Japanese Garden Training Center, Uchiyama will step back from day-to-day garden maintenance to turn his attention to building a full array of virtual Japanese gardening and design programs, and focus on building local, national, and international strategic alliances on behalf of Portland Japanese Garden.

Uchiyama will remain the standard bearer of the overall artistic vision of the Garden. Throughout the course of this year, the responsibility for Portland Japanese Garden’s vision will be gradually transferred to Torii.

“Carrying out the vision of Portland Japanese Garden can feel like a task that is larger than life, so it’s important to remember to take things day by day, without losing sight of the long-term impact,” says Uchiyama. “I am happy that Hugo will carry the torch on behalf of the organization and look forward to assisting and working with him toward his best accomplishments.”