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Iwate 'miracle' pine returns…after a few adjustments

19 Comments
By Preston Phro

The monument for the Iwate "miracle" pine tree, which as you might remember was the only pine tree out of 70,000 left standing following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, is finally nearing completion. The project, though, has not been without its fair share of troubles.

After it was pointed out that the monument looked different from before it was cut down, adjustments began to make the tree look more accurate. Work is expected to be finished at the end of June and the completion ceremony will then be held out at the beginning of July.

At over 80 feet tall, the lone tree was, unfortunately, afflicted by the massive amount of salt deposited by the tsunami and died 18 months after the disaster. The city of Rikuzentakata has collected 125 million yen in donations to “rebuild” the tree as a monument, though the total amount actually needed is 150 million yen. The adjustments will not affect the total cost of rebuilding the tree.

The trunk of the tree was specially treated to prevent further decay and a metal skeleton was inserted to help maintain its form. A replica of the upper branches and leaves was created and then set atop the trunk, giving a total height of 27 meters (about 88.6 feet). The top of the tree, which includes the replica branches and leaves, is made of two pieces and held together with three joints.

Though area residents seem pleased with the monument, Internet commenters aren’t so happy. Many have called it a “waste of money” and insisted that the mayor and other officials are embezzling some of it. One commenter went so far as to suggest that the city mayor and officials should be fired without severance. Another heartless rapscallion even said that it was a waste of money “on par with a Wii U.”

To get a glimpse of how the tree was “rebuilt”, check out the video below.

Source: Sankei News, Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- “Miracle Pine” Monument Honors Single Remaining Tree in Forest Ravaged By Tsunami -- Expensive “Cybernetic Mummification” of Tree of Hope Draws Criticism -- Tsunami Survivors Share Their Stories

© RocketNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


19 Comments
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How many New Trees could have been planted in its place that are salt tolerant as well as the pines grown amongst them .Would have been better it would have helped Japan reduce its co2 levels and at a later date made an excellent piece of forest for animals and people to share.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To me, an example of a waste of money is one of the many abandoned shopping centers one finds in the USA. No stores, and the building is crumbling like something out of a post-Armageddon sci-fi movie about the future. Creating a symbol that residents want is not a waste of money, though it may be an expensive symbol.

Surely it's for the people living there to decide. Embezzlement is a legal issue, and that, too, can be dealt with locally, but that story seems to be coming from nameless people on the Internet, and not from local folks. Just give the miracle pine tree a rest. It has passed on, and if people want to build a symbol out of its skeleton, let them. It's their story, and nobody else's. If donors are happy, and residents are happy, we should be happy for them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Not how I would have spent my money, but people need their symbols, and they come in many different forms. It can be a stone slab full with names, a new skyscraper in place of the old ones to show defiance and conviction, or a tree.

We had the same thing with the Anne Frank tree. On the national news I have seen how it decayed over the years and what attempts were made to save it because of its historical and symbolic value. Now that it is gone, people bought pieces of it and little stems created from its branches are being placed all over the world. I find it a lot of fuss over nothing, but understand the reasoning and sentiment behind it.

I also think that if of the residents of this community wanted this tree to be made immortal as a testament to the 3.11 disaster and their own resilience in its aftermath, then who are we to say that they are spending their money incorrectly. Sometimes a symbol can achieve more than a practicality.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mod: some kind of omission in paragraph 2, lines 2-3.

Such an awful lot of money to spend on a tree, symbolic or life-affirming or not.

I hope the people of Rikuzentakata find strength, support and solace from having it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If the entire cost of construction and upkeep is paid by donations, then it's fine. I personally think it's a waste of money, but if the donors think it worthwhile, then so be it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"heartless rapscallion" I giggled.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Monuments to disasters are time immemorial, there were even one's set up to a prior tsunami in the area that happened hundreds of years ago, which people ignored and forgot.

While the symbolism of the one tree is important to the city, I believe the people are more important and should be looked after first. And I will add that anyone who thinks otherwise has their priorities screwed.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

total amount actually needed is 150 million yen

And how many people still need rehousing?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Preston Phro, why are you quoting "internet commentators"? Do their (our) individual comments mean anything in the grand scheme of things? Do their/our individual comments deserve to be quoted alongside those of the communities directly involved, or is this just a cheap attempt to stir controversy, for the sake of page views/comments?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hate this tree.

Stupid waste of money.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

such a waste of money. this money should go to the people who need it to rebuild their lives, not some tree that is no longer a tree.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The tree is indeed a waste of money -- and not even a 'real' tree anymore. Give this money to the people STILL living in shelters. After all, TEPCO is asking for more money to live up to their debts to society.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

cyber tree, half nature, half machined.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

...the only pine tree out of 70,000 left standing following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

I guess you could say that's a lot of petrified wood!

The city of Rikuzentakata has collected 125 million yen in donations to “rebuild” the tree as a monument

just what Japan needs! Another monument!

though the total amount actually needed is 150 million yen

Oh... well actually, maybe that's a little over the top, I mean money doesn't grow on trees. I can agree with others saying that this is a waste of money, considering it could have been used to benefit the victims more directly. But Japan seems to give more priority to empty sentiment than practical sensibility.

The top of the tree, which includes the replica branches and leaves, is made of two pieces and held together with three joints.

oooh! I want to see THAT part, the fake branches and needles!

Oh Japan...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The city of Rikuzentakata has collected 125 million yen in donations to “rebuild” the tree as a monument

People chose to donate. So, how is this a waste? It's not like they used tax money.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's a waste in that someone put effort into raising this money.

It was their own choice. Maybe they need a sign of hope, who can help them for all the rest. When there's an earthquake in my country, Italy, of course everyone needs a place where to live in the first place. But we can't help to give some importance also to our great artistic heritage, when it is idamaged, because it's painful for our hearts, and we want to save it, exaclty like these people wanted to save that tree.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Give this money to the people STILL living in shelters.

WHO is STILL living in shelters? The temporary accommodation is far from luxurious but it's massively better than shelters.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The city of Rikuzentakata has collected 125 million yen in donations to “rebuild” the tree as a monument, though the total amount actually needed is 150 million yen.

This is a stupid amount of money to be spending NOW for a monument. Sure it might be nice in the future, AFTER the city is rebuilt and the people get back to some sense of normalcy, but even after 2 years plus the folks in that city still have their priorities screwed up thinking about trees instead of people first.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

People chose to donate. So, how is this a waste? It's not like they used tax money.

It's a waste in that someone put effort into raising this money. Putting people out on the street, posters, and other nonsense to get money for it. Instead of putting people out there to get donations to help those living in shelters or to bring attention to the government's fumbling they get this pathetic monument.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

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