Earth Science News  





.
SHAKE AND BLOW
Lone pine tree symbol of hope in Japan tsunami city

by Staff Writers
Rikuzentakata, Japan (AFP) April 2, 2011
A lone pine tree stands on the shore of a tsunami-wrecked Japanese city, a symbol of hope and defiance for people who have lost everything.

The tree was one of 70,000 in a forest that had protected the city of Rikuzentakata from ocean winds for more than 300 years.

Large parts of the city now lie in ruins, with only the shells of a few concrete buildings left standing. Ten percent of the city's population is dead or missing.

The forest of black and red pine trees is also gone, scattered like matchsticks across this once-pretty resort by the enormous power of the March 11 tsunami -- except for this single tree, whose survival is counted as a "miracle" by those whose homes have now vanished.

"Since it was the only tree left intact, it will become a symbol of restoration," said 23-year-old Eri Kamaishi, as she stood in the shadow of the tree now known locally as the "pine of hope".

The tree is one of the few landmarks left to show where Rikuzentakata once stood, said Kamaishi.

"I can't even remember exactly what the city looked like because it has so completely gone," she said.

Resin oozes from a scar on the trunk of the tree, where the lower branches were ripped off by the power of the waves, but a thick spray of green pine needles at the top of the 10-metre (33-foot) tree shows it is very much still alive.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan chose Rikuzentakata as his first place to set foot in the tsunami-ravaged disaster zone on a visit Saturday.

"There used to be a great pine forest here," Kan said as he inspected the devastated bay area where the lone pine tree stands. "But they were uprooted. They have vanished."

Hiroko Kikuta, 62, said earlier that the golden sands of the city's beach were crowded in summer months with holidaymakers and locals.

"Now everything has gone except for the tree," she said. "The pine is tall and strong."

"I want to see the beautiful beach and great pine trees again like they used to be," said Kikuta, whose husband is still missing.

The history of the pine forest can be traced back to the 17th century, when a wealthy merchant began planting trees as a windbreaker to protect residents from storms.

The beach, which sits at the mouth of a bay, drew around 200,000 visitors a year and was listed in guide books as one of the 100 most scenic places in Japan.

"For us, the pine trees are very special" because of the protection they offered to local people, said Yasuo Murakami, 69.

He said he hoped the tree would encourage survivors and heal the broken hearts of those who have lost their loved ones. Murakami's wife and sister were found dead and his six-year-old grandchild is still missing.

Rikuzentakata, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Tokyo, is staggering under the weight of the destruction wreaked by the tsunami.

Around 1,000 people are known to have died, with 1,300 still missing. Many thousands are living in evacuation centres. Heaps of debris across a vast area of the city remain almost untouched.

Nationwide, the death toll from the 9.0 magnitude quake and the tsunami that followed it has exceeded 11,000, with more than 16,000 people unaccounted for.

Tomohiro Owada, a spokesman for the city hall, said he had watched as the tsunami crushed the pine forest.

"But this tree has survived. It's a miracle," Owada said. "Once we finish rescue operations and have established proper support for victims, we will look at how we can preserve it as a symbol of our reconstruction."




Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest



Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
SHAKE AND BLOW
A mother's search in post-tsunami Japan
Ishinomaki, Japan (AFP) March 31, 2011
Thousands of families are missing loved ones almost three weeks after a powerful earthquake and tsunami devastated towns and lives along Japan's northeast coast. One of them is the family of this AFP reporter. This is the story of Takako Suzuki, 67, who is still searching for a sign of life from her daughter, this reporter's sister, amid the ruins of the small fishing port she has called ... read more

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  


SHAKE AND BLOW
Tsunami-stranded dog reunited with owner in Japan

US studies Fukushima disaster for safety lessons

Japan battles to stop radiation leak into sea

Japan PM tells nuclear workers 'you can't lose this battle'

SHAKE AND BLOW
New Laser Technology Could Revolutionize Communications

Japan dumps low-level radioactive water into sea

TEPCO lacked radiation meters after tsunami: agency

3-D system guides helicopter brownout

SHAKE AND BLOW
Japan fishermen vow to rebuild tsunami-hit lives

Libya warns of disaster if 'Great Man-Made River' hit

First Broad-Scale Maps Of Life On The Sea-Shelf

Police, protesters clash over China dam

SHAKE AND BLOW
Fishermen, greens see red over Alaska navy exercises

Antarctic Icebergs Play A Previously Unknown Role In Global Carbon Cycle, Climate

Study Sheds Light On How Heat Is Transported To Greenland Glaciers

Large-Scale Assessment Of Arctic Ocean Show Significant Increase In Freshwater Content

SHAKE AND BLOW
David vs Goliath fight in Ecuador's banana industry

EU talks on modified foods break down

Wine tasters swoon over Bordeaux's 'liquid beauty'

'Super' salmon resist climate change better: study

SHAKE AND BLOW
Thailand flood toll reaches 40

Lone pine tree symbol of hope in Japan tsunami city

Climate Modelling And The Rain

Deep-Sea Volcanoes Explode

SHAKE AND BLOW
167 foreigners leave Ivory Coast main city: French military

French, UN troops in action against Gbagbo camp: France

Ivory Coast opposition blockade lifted, police desert: UN

A New Scramble For African Riches - Its Consumers

SHAKE AND BLOW
'Bionic eye' implant offers hope to the blind

Parody blooms on Twitter

High seas may have led migrants to Taiwan

Chatting babies video a YouTube sensation


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement