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07 August, 2016
The 390-Year-Old Tree That Survived the Bombing of Hiroshima | History | Smithsonian
The bomb wiped out 90 percent of the city, killing 80,000 Japanese immediately and eventually contributing to the death of at least 100,000 more. But besides some minor glass-related injuries, Yamaki and his family survived the blast, as did their prized bonsai trees, which were protected by a tall wall surrounding the outdoor nursery.
For 25 years, one of those trees sat near the entrance of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the United States National Arboretum in Washington D.C., its impressive life story largely unknown. When Yamaki donated the now 390-year-old white pine bonsai tree to be part of a 53 bonsais gifted by the Nippon Bosnai Association to the United States for its bicentennial celebration in 1976, all that was really known was the tree’s donor. Its secret would remain hidden until 2001, when two of Yamaki’s grandsons made an unannounced visit to the Arboretum in search of the tree they had heard about their entire lives.