While Konami continue to strip Kojima (opens in new tab) and his name (opens in new tab) from existence, it seems some part of the man has escaped the company's scorched Earth approach to employee relations. Way back in September 2013, Hideo Kojima planted a cherry tree as a symbolic gesture when he opened his LA Kojima Productions studio:
The cherry tree we planted September last year as to celebrate the opening of LA studio. Got flower this year. pic.twitter.com/vECDhvvwEe”December 9, 2014
It's just a Konami studio now, but the tree lives, as noted by Venturebeat (opens in new tab) below. There are no flowers anymore and it's, somewhat poetically, looking dead and barren against the greenery now:
Picture credit: Dale North.
Back when the studio was founded, Kojima and his team had a ceremony to plant the tree. Obviously, it was intended to grow and blossom as the studio did the same. But that was before Konami decided to focus on mobile games (opens in new tab) , allegedly put Kojima on contract, and generally give console gaming the finger.
Here are some pictures of the ceremony from Ricky Zhang, who still calls himself 'the lead character artist at Kojima Productions Los Angeles' on his blog (opens in new tab).
I'm pretty sure that Kojima behind the tree. Although conspiracy theorists might have a field day when they realise Ricky took three pictures and you can't see Kojima's head clearly in any of them (opens in new tab).
It was a big deal at the time, what with the signed gold shovels and everything.
We had cherry blossom for Tree-planting. We signed on the shovel. pic.twitter.com/lxlDCQx9mx”September 7, 2013
And, for the time being, it's a little bit of Kojima that Konami hasn't quite removed just yet...