391-Year-Old Bonsai Tree Survived Hiroshima Bombings and Keeps Growing


If plants and trees could communicate in any way, this tree will tell us and teach us much about the history that it’s gone through. After being planted in 1625, the tree lived on through many historic events with its life of nearly 400 years.

At the moment, the tree is located in the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The tree was a gift to the U.S. by Masaru Yamaki, a bonsai master, in 1976. However, the Arboretum did not know that this tree had a secret of its own.

Yamaki family had lived about two miles from the landing of the Hiroshima bomb that the American forces dropped in 1945. The bombing killed more than 140,000 people and had lasting effects on the city. However, the Yamaki family alongside the bonsai were inside of their home when the bomb landed which left them unharmed.

After that, Yamaki donated the tree to the National Bonsai & Penjin Museum ahead of the American bicentennial. When he left the tree, he did not say anything about what the tree had gone through.

In 2001 Yamaki’s grandson visited the collection of trees in the museum and revealed the big secret of the connection of the tree to Hiroshima. Even though the museum does not share the bonsai’s history as an advertisement, they tend to explain that it’s more of a gift of friendship between two nations. However, they recently added the information about the connection to Hiroshima on their web page.

Kathleen Emerson-Dell, the assistant curator at the museum, made a statement: “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.”




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