Sean Ono Lennon creates virtual ‘wish tree’ for Yoko Ono’s 90th birthday

<span>Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images

Yoko Ono’s son has created a virtual “wish tree” to mark his mother’s 90th birthday on Saturday and is encouraging people to plant real trees in her honour.

Since creating her first wish tree installation in 1996, Ono has collected almost 2m wishes from more than 200 trees in 35 countries. People are invited to write personal wishes for peace and tie them to a branch.

“As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree,” she said. From a distance, the wishes “looked like white flowers blossoming”.

Sean Ono Lennon, the son of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, is launching a website,, “to give the whole world an opportunity to make a wish”.

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He said: “My mother is a real life tree-hugger. If we ever walk past a tree of any significance she inevitably stops and hugs the tree with incredible enthusiasm.

“Since nine is a very special number in her universe, I thought we should do something special for her 90th birthday. So I made a virtual wish tree, like the wish trees she often makes for museums and galleries.

“I wanted to give the whole world an opportunity to make a wish for her and plant a tree in her honour. Make a wish. Plant a tree. Wish Yoko a happy birthday. It’s that simple.”

Among celebrities who have sent wishes ahead of Saturday’s launch are the former Beatle Ringo Star; Julian Lennon, John’s son with his first wife Cynthia; rock star Elton John and his husband, David Furnish; Oasis star Liam Gallagher; photographer Annie Leibovitz; film composer David Arnold; and Manfred Mann bassist Klaus Voormann.

Ono, an artist, singer and peace activist, was married to John Lennon from 1969 until he was shot dead on the street outside the couple’s New York apartment on 8 December 1980.

A new documentary has been made about the week that Lennon and Ono co-hosted the Mike Douglas Show, a daytime TV programme watched by about 40 million people each week, in 1972.

Erik Nelson, the director of Daytime Revolution, told Variety: “This week in 1972, when John Lennon and Yoko Ono essentially hijacked the airwaves and presented the best minds and dreams of their generation to the widest possible mass audience of what was then called ‘Middle America’, was as far as the counterculture would ever get.”

On the show, Lennon and Ono discussed women’s empowerment of women, the deterioration of the environment, and police violence. Among those they invited to appear were the Black Panther chairman Bobby Seale, political activist Ralph Nader and comedian George Carlin.