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

One of the biggest names in Japanese music is easily 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.

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 return the hydrangea planted by Hyde. To Hyde, to fans, and to Wakayama it is really, really important. Please…”

The following day the Wakayama City Tourism Division confirmed that a hydrangea bush had been dug up in the park by an unknown person without permission. It is currently unclear when the theft occurred, and although there have been cases of people stealing hydrangea bushes before, they aren’t quite sure how to proceed when it happens to such a high profile one.

Hyde fans – and possibly some general flower fans mixed in for good measure – were outraged by this desecration of a sacred spot.

“What?! I was planning on going to see it when COVID-19 was over. I’m sure many others were too.”
“I was just thinking this morning about going to see it someday…”
“If whoever did this is reading. Please sneak back in and return it. Those flowers are for everyone.”
“Those were Hyde’s literal roots to his hometown. This makes me sick.”
“I couldn’t go last year… I feel bad for Hyde too.”
“Please bring it back, whoever took it.”
“Unbelievable… Why do this and destroy everyone else’s enjoyment?”

The good news for those planning on visiting Hyde’s hydrangea is that in the video above he is said to have planted three young plants in that spot, and according to the city’s statement, only one plant was dug up. If this is correct, it would mean two bushes remain.

Nevertheless, it truly is a sad state of affairs when a major rock star can’t plant some flowers in the park without getting them ripped off as easily as an ordinary unsupervised toilet.

Source: J-Cast News, Asahi Shimbun, Twitter/@Hazcencie1
Photos ©SoraNews24
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