This Bonsai tree is 391 years old and it survived Hiroshima

US National Arboretum

The tree above was planted in 1625. It resides in the US National Arboretum in Washington, having been donated in 1976 as a gift to the United States by Bonsai master Masaru Yamaki.

What was unknown, until 2001 when Yamaki’s grandsons visited the exhibition, is that the tree and Yamaki survived the Hiroshima nuclear bomb in 1945 which killed 140,000 people.

Yamaki, his family and the tree had all been indoors and a safe distance from the effects of the bomb, a detail which was unknown about the history of the specimen until the visit.

The story goes that Yamaki's grandsons, Shigeru (21) and Akira (20) approached an on-duty volunteer that day, Yoshiko Tucker, asking her in Japanese for directions to where their grandfather’s bonsai might be found - after which they revealed the history of the Bonsai, given to the museum before their birth.

The tree, a white pine (pinus parvifolia), was recently the subject of a reddit post which attracted a large amount of attention due to the age of the tree and its history.

Kathleen Emerson-Dell, assistant curator at the museum, told National Geographicthe tree was not given in connection to the events in Hiroshima in 1945:

It was a gift of friendship, and connection—the connection of two different cultures.

There’s some connection with a living being that has survived on this earth through who knows what.

I’m in its presence, and it was in the presence of other people from long ago.

It’s like touching history.

HT MyModernMet

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