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Tsunami 'miracle pine' cut down as part of project to preserve it

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$1.5 million to kill the 'miracle pine' ?? My first reaction was "are you &%$## kidding me!!" But then I remembered this is Japan and now it makes perfect sense. What a good use of tax money.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Yup, screw housing for the thousands needing it. Throw a couple million dollars at a tree that no one really cares about except a mayor and his cronies who think it'll boost tourism

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Dead tree

0 ( +4 / -4 )

From the "we eat whales to study them" school of thought

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Yes, this is Japan where they respect nature ... not

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Makes sense we had to kill the tree to save it. What are they putting in the Sake?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Just needs ornamental lights and it will be perfect.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Sad to see so many negative remarks. I wonder how many posters have ever gone to Hiroshima and seen one of the four famous icho (ginko) trees that survived the atomic bombing --- the only living things that survived that close to ground zero. They are venerated and treated as symbols of the city's reconstruction. Why can't the people in Tohoku seek a similar morale booster?

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

It's probably just pining for the fjords.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

You'll often walk down narrow streets and see huge trees in people's gardens and nestled between buildings, concrete around the roots slowly bursting.

Something about trees that non-Japanese can't understand.

Whilst it was fine to keep it alive, now it's gone it is a waste of money to keep it immortalised.

Makes you wonder about this country - the Govt. talks about debt, people talking about a bad economy, yet everyone drives a new car and goes on expensive trips to Karuizawa.

Then millions are spent on islands, whaling, and dead trees...makes no sense at all.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

This tree sounds more dead than alive now. Very unnatural.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If you have to spend 150 million yen on it, it's not a "miracle" pine really, is it?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Spend the money on living people not a dead tree!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

To the negative comments:

The roots of the tree have been killed due to the amount of salt water absorbed into the ground and the tree has little hope of survival on its own. Preserving is a good thing. Better than letting is die and using it as firewood. Think about it as a symbol of hope for survival. (Like parts of the Twin Towers) The cost is coming from donations. Why is it I see so few comments on positive issues like Coca-Colas donations to build solar power schools for the children in Fukushima and so many on selfless acts like suicide, and the .000001% of Chinese protesting Japan over a rock? At this stage in life in Japan, every little good thing is needed to build our spirits here in Japan. Let's give more credit to the good.
1 ( +8 / -7 )

My apologies: should read Selfish, not Selfless

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Miraculously expensive pine!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Just as steel beams were constructed into a cross at the W.T.C. this Tree will serve as a memory to future generations to hope for the best.,as for the monetary cost i think it's criminal!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

At this stage in life in Japan, every little good thing is needed to build our spirits here in Japan. Let's give more credit to the good.

I'm sorry, but I have no idea how making a zombie tree is going to lift anyone's spirits...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Huge waste of money. Again, priorities are twisted with people more worried about appearances instead of taking care of the harder tasks like all the many still in shelters.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Destined to become the world's most expensive tree.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I'm sorry, but I have no idea how making a zombie tree is going to lift anyone's spirits...

Probie@That is something Japanese are entitled to decide by themselves, and whether or not you show any empathy toward it is not really relevant.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

I personally think it's a waste of money, but from a construction point of view I really want to know what part of the whole process increases the cost to 150 million Yen, I imagine 500.000yen should be enough to put a beam inside it, inclusive cutting it and rebuilding it, even that is still a lot of money.

I really want to sea the working steps including each steps cost.

Right now it looks like they stack it with 500Yen coins instead of a beam or pure gold.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is slightly wierd. Using something that did not really survive as the symbol of survival. It survives in external form, but as a living thing it did not survive.

The argument can be that for a long time people hoped it would survive, and that inspired them. So the tree is being repaid in this way for providing inspiration. And that will provide further inspiration.

Mmmm. Just about works, in a Japanese way.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Probie

If you have to spend 150 million yen on it, it's not a "miracle" pine really, is it?

It is if you're a tree surgeon ;) Manna from heaven!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

As a reminder or memorial or future tourist icon I see the point but a park bench with new trees from the old would do the same better, but a gordy tree replica sounds tacky.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Fabulous. Shows both sides of the Japanese character perfectly.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Killing the tree that survived just doesn't sound right. Seems like bad karma.

We admire the miracle that the tree survived so much that we are going to kill it, and cut into into bits, and put it back together so we can have it forever. Sounds like a horror movie.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Virtuoso, exactly. People here hasn't a clue of what they are talking about here. The momument for ground zero was estimated at 500 million USD. Initially, reports said 200 mil USD came from federal money. It's not the money. It's what the people need.

You all should have seen the news on this gentleman who was a part of a group established in 2006 trying to preserve the trees of Takadamatsubara. They saw their life work wash away along with precious human lives except for this one tree.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Another display of ignorance... No, not this admittedly expensive endeavor, rather those here who post out of their rear ends instead of looking into their hearts to try and understand this emotional and symbolic icon. That said, it seems no detractors here have been to Rikuzentakata so it's an understandable knee jerk reaction given the price tag. Try to imagine living in a beautiful sea-side town where the scenic 2 km beach front forest of 70,000 200 year old trees both defined the region and fueled the local tourist economy. Imagine (if it's possible) that you survived a 4 story high tsunami that traveled over 3 km inland and destroyed everything in it's wake. After the horrific deluge receded, one tree - ONE - out of 70,000 was left standing. Can you imagine identifying with that lone tree on the shore that stood up to the massive wave? Shame on you hoserfella, in past JT posts you expressed vehement concern for one young Japanese man who broke the law in Bali and is now paying the price ("fair" or "unfair") yet you wrote, "a tree no one really cares about". It's clearly just a tree that YOU don't care about and you care more for one kid with bad judgement then you do for the 2,000 residents of Rikuzentakata who died. This amazing tree is, was and will always be a powerful symbol of survival and resilience for the people of Rikuzentakata and across Tohoku. Constructing a memorial - albeit expensive - is what the survivors want and it's their decision alone to make. If you had witnessed this in person I believe you may be more empathetic and not so judgmental. I've been there many times and am happy that I chose to stop there again last week to pay tribute not knowing that it was about to be cut down.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Readers, please keep the discussion civil.

By the time they have preserved the tree, there will actually be very little left of the original.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

" the only living things that survived that close to ground zero." Virtuoso, you are very wrong. The four famous icho (ginko) trees weer all more than 1km away from the blast. The eucalyptus in Hiroshima castle was significantly closer (<750m). But somehow an imported Australian tree doesn't fit the nostalgic drivel you would like to perpetuate.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's a tree.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Pork barrel project, lots of people making money OK,ing this. The local population were agaist it...but they live in cardboard cubicles in a gym, their wants opinions are worthless stupid homeless people, get a job! How about an art prize for the best painting of it? Rest of the money going to the displaced? Oppps we all have to share the burden (sharfting).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's a tree.

No! It's a chopped down dead tree?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

If this is a "miracle tree" - why does it need help to survive? It is invincible, surely?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"...the only living things that survived that close to ground zero." Virtuoso. More wrong. There were real people who survived Hiroshima within 300m of ground zero. Screw the dead tree. Celebrate people.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

hoserfella at a tree that no one really cares about except a mayor and his cronies

How would you know absolutely no one ?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

VirtuosoSEP. 13, 2012 - 09:20AM JST Sad to see so many negative remarks. I wonder how many posters have ever gone to Hiroshima and seen one of the four famous icho (ginko) trees that survived the atomic bombing --- the only living things that survived that close to ground zero. They are venerated and treated as symbols of the city's reconstruction. Why can't the people in Tohoku seek a similar morale booster?

Yes absolutely true, it bewildering so many negative comments towards this miracle tree. As if everyone commenting here is actually representing the people of Rikuzentakata, living there on a daily basis, and could actually understand the true meaning of what this tree means.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

A wonderful memorial to an event we all will always remember. It is a good thing to find a positive symbol and I completely support and venerate this gesture. I am sad to see some negative feelings but they are clearly not understanding the meaning of this for the fortunate survivors and I will forgive them. For now, lets be grateful that such wonderful almost magical technology is possible. Thank you to all who contributed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A few ppl maybe didn't read the previous article-

It is dead already, they aren't killing it to preserve it. Salt water has damaged the roots, so it "survived" the tidal wave, but not for very long you could say.

guy totaro-

The fact is we have other public works for memorials and public art is very expensive, so I do understand the concept.

But 1, apparently there is a lot of local opposition which should really be a big deal, if it is not for/ and by the locals there is zero meaning 2, the tree didn't survive and is dying so it is weird to preserve it and make it a symbol of survival 3, basic housing needs seem to not be being met for human survivors still 4, This isnt in fact a sculpture by a famous artist-- it is just way too expensive to do what they are doing- cmon, cut some wood, soak in preservatives, hollow out and insert support column, put on a pedestal, make an inscription on a big stone plaque. Where's the million and a half USD getting used??? It may look like lacquer for a tree, but it smells a lot like pork. 5, using all that money to re-landscape the 70,000-tree forest, or however much they can of it, would be, like, how much better and more gratifying??

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Guy Totaro

Try to imagine living in a beautiful sea-side town where the scenic 2 km beach front forest of 70,000 200 year old trees >both defined the region and fueled the local tourist economy.

Very nice, but $1.5 million would replace the 70,000 trees no? Sorry, saving 1 dead tree, symbolic or not, is completely stupid in the current climate. Replace the forest would be a far more sensible gesture.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What none of you critics are getting,is, that the Japanese are very superstitious .It's dying,and to let it just die,given its a symbol of miracle ,would mean new calamity will befall the land .ergo ,even local residents will embrace this .Save its essence,and save the miracle .

If any of you are expats there,you've really learned very little about the people ,and how they respond react and think.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

If any of you are expats there,you've really learned very little about the people ,and how they respond react and think.

I am an expat here, and the Japanese that I've spoken to about this also think it's stupid.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Tsunami 'miracle pine' cut down as part of project to preserve it

The contradiction in the headline says it all! Kill it to keep it? WTF!!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Cost of shinto ritual: ¥200'000

Cost of hiring old guys with red light sticks standing around, doing nothing of value for 2 days: 10ppl x ¥1500/hour x 48 hours - ¥720'000

Cost of extremly unnecessary process of artificially keeping a living tree alive: ¥150'000'000

Cost of covering the whole damn area in concrete, complete with tacky souvenir stands: Invaluable!

Just cover the damn tree in concrete and be done with it. That's your usual way of using "anti-decay treatment" around here.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And the cost of memories = priceless

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Another display of ignorance... No, not this admittedly expensive endeavor, rather those here who post out of their rear ends instead of looking into their hearts to try and understand this emotional and symbolic icon. That said, it seems no detractors here have been to Rikuzentakata so it's an understandable knee jerk reaction given the price tag. Try to imagine living in a beautiful sea-side town where the scenic 2 km beach front forest of 70,000 200 year old trees both defined the region and fueled the local tourist economy. Imagine (if it's possible) that you survived a 4 story high tsunami that traveled over 3 km inland and destroyed everything in it's wake. After the horrific deluge receded, one tree - ONE - out of 70,000 was left standing. Can you imagine identifying with that lone tree on the shore that stood up to the massive wave? Shame on you hoserfella, in past JT posts you expressed vehement concern for one young Japanese man who broke the law in Bali and is now paying the price ("fair" or "unfair") yet you wrote, "a tree no one really cares about". It's clearly just a tree that YOU don't care about and you care more for one kid with bad judgement then you do for the 2,000 residents of Rikuzentakata who died. This amazing tree is, was and will always be a powerful symbol of survival and resilience for the people of Rikuzentakata and across Tohoku. Constructing a memorial - albeit expensive - is what the survivors want and it's their decision alone to make. If you had witnessed this in person I believe you may be more empathetic and not so judgmental. I've been there many times and am happy that I chose to stop there again last week to pay tribute not knowing that it was about to be cut down.

This post has got to go down in history as one of the most flowery dramatic and flamboyant posts in internet history!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Talk about hollow symbols!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Virtuoso: "I wonder how many posters have ever gone to Hiroshima and seen one of the four famous icho (ginko) trees that survived the atomic bombing --- the only living things that survived that close to ground zero."

Those trees are pretty much as they were at the time of the bombing. I doubt 150 million yen, which could easily help a LOT of people still in shelters, was spent on each of them. I doubt anyone posting on this is sad or upset the tree is being saved, they just think the money could be better used than for saving a tree -- if this works at all.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As has been pointed out, the money for this came from donations. What people do with their own money is their own business.

I think it's a fitting symbol... like a memorial for the people who died in the tsunami.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Better to just use the 'dead' wood to create a sculpture to be placed on the spot where the tree was. Much cheaper, less tacky

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As has been pointed out, the money for this came from donations. What people do with their own money is their own business.

Thunderbird - thats less than 20% of the estimated cost. Guess where the other 80% will no doubt come from? Ill give you 2 guesses but the first won't count.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

GG2141 - next time maybe try to read the article before launching into a rant. People choose to donate their money to whatever they personally find worthwhile. Anyone here complaining about the cost needs to have their head examined.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cut down to "preserve it"? What did I miss here?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At first glance it sounded strange - even ridiculous to be honest - to me. But at the end of the day I believe this is a much better idea than building a statue or whatever. Surviving trees seem to be a very important cultural matter in Japan and it has to be respected. A memory gathering symbol for 1,5 millions $ with regard to this tsunami tragedy is peanuts and humble. Just let me now how I can contribute and I will.

For the ones who doubt about it, just think about the 3,800 millions $ of the Freedom tower at ground zero. I am sure it could have been done for much cheaper if not a symbol!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Leave it out! They are barking mad and should branch out into a project worth spending this money on and find the real root of the problems facing the region.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They sure are barking up the wrong--uh.. well, never mind.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a waste of money, time, and effort!!! Don't you all have compassion for the displace families and their needs instead of wasting you time on that dead tree? If I was there, I would set that damn tree on fire.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How many old people and kids will freeze to death this winter in that area because of inadequate housing, heating or clothing. that money could've been used in a much better way. I'm sure a cheaper monument couldve been erected. Someone mentioned Japanese are superstitious... Lmao. No, the elite just know how to start a lost cause money pit of a campaign. For all those bashing the "negative" comments I think you should look inside yourselves and ask "am I truely human? Do I have a soul? Am I really the kind of person who puts material goods above human life?" if the answer is yes then I truely fear for the human race. It's a dead tree!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

First and foremost, the request to preserve this tree came from the peoples of devasted ares and displaced families for they indicated that the lone tree is a sign of "hope". Secondly, the reconstruction budget is set and it's a matter of disbursing funds which is between the victims, the local governments and the reconstruction agency. Therefore, since the presevation project is specifically donation based, you can choose not to donate. And to those clueless people who state "150 million could help a lot of people", using the donations for different purpose will be FRAUD.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I guess I wonder if the tree was in poor health? In that case making a monument of it might be reasonable. But there is a heck of a lot of work that needs to be done so I'm not sure of the priorities of the government. It would seem that you would get people back to a somewhat normal life before you start erecting monuments. Then again, people like to have inspiration.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just when I thought I had experienced all the wackiness of Japan, here comes one of the worst instances of illogical insanity. The people of Tohoku are crying out for financial aid and support to rebuild their broken lives, and this vast amount of money is being used to try to preserve a dead tree? Total insanity, probably caused by radiation sickness. The mayor of whats left of Rikuzentakata should be taken by helicopter with Ishihara and dumped on those stupid rocks in the East China Sea. Possibly the most ridiculous thing Ive heard in Japan for years.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So they're preserving a dead tree, at the cost of "about 150,000,000 yen". Seeing as, once the preservatives have set, the thing will no longer be organic, why not just make a mold of the branches and construct the "memorial" out of cement? It's bound to be cheaper than this boondoggle and probably would last longer, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cutting it down is not preserving it.... fools

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@hereforever

Thank you for your comment. It's a pleasant change amongst the anger that is generally displayed here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

a dead tree...lets stop calling it a miracle tree. The tree was not washed away by tsunami but died nonetheless because its root has been salanized. It was not a symbol of tenacity or strength. It was not even a symbol of hope and perseverance. A dead tree symbolizing human aspirations?...

and there are people throwing money into it. Make no sense now, make no sense in the future. But let the Japanese enjoy their white elephant.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Spoken like a person who never visited Takada "matsu" bara area. ( hint in quotation marks)

The lone tree was the only tree that was not washed away(out of 70k) which signifies how devastating the damaging strength of the tsunami was. If a few dozen stood, I'd call it "lucky". But one? What are the numerical odds?

I've witnessed people use the word "miracle" for a lot lot less.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If it is OK to spend all that money on the tree zombie because that money came from donations, then a similar crowd-sourcing for donations is needed for the people still stuck in shelters, and other victims who need homes, jobs, moving expenses, farm subsidies to go farm outside the Bequerel'ed areas.

The disparity between money spend on the tree and the continued needs of local people is what is fueling the discontent.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Discontent among whom? If it's between the local population, I can understand the question of validity but that's not what we're talking about here. It's the same displaced people that are requesting this so who are we to question their "needs" both physically and emotionally?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why not just make a new "miracle tree" out of concrete? Cheaper and more durable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

how come nobody here has suggested using the money to plant 70,000 new trees instead (or whatever 1.5M can buy), that would be better than the zombie tree

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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