Apparently, cockroaches are not the only life forms rumored to survive atomic blasts; so are bonsai trees.
According to a report from TwistedSifter.com, one in particular, a rare Japanese white pine from Miyajima, is not only 388 years old, but also reportedly survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. The bonsai, currently on display at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the United States National Arboretum in Washington, has been deemed a “Hiroshima Survivor.”
The bonsai was created in 1625 and owned by the late Masaru Yamaki, a bonsai master, who was reportedly caring for the dwarf tree, among others, on the day of the Hiroshima bombing. According to the National Bonsai Foundation, the bomb hit less than two miles from the Yamaki home. Even though the blast blew out of the windows, this bonsai and others nearby remained unharmed. The survival of the trees was chalked up to a tall wall protecting the nursery.
Yamaki’s grandson, Shigeru Yamaki, confirmed to the foundation in 2001 that the plant is a rare and valuable Japanese white pine bonsai that originated from the island of Miyajima. According to the report, it was given to America by Yamaki in honor of the country’s bicentennial celebration in 1976.
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Last week, Japanese gathered in Hiroshima to pay tribute to 68th anniversary of the attack. According to the Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, a large group of survivors, relatives and antinuclear activists gathered at the memorial at Hiroshima’s Peace Park to honor the 140,000 lives lost.