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Flowers bloom on resilient 2nd-generation A-bomb tree in west Japan

Shitomi Konishi, head of a volunteer group that donated a tree which grew from seeds of a Chinese parasol tree hit by the Hiroshima atomic bombing, is seen with the tree at the Ise Football Village in the city of Ise, Mie Prefecture, on June 30, 2021. (Mainichi/Yuki Kozawa)
Buds are seen on the top of a tree, which grew from seeds of a Chinese parasol tree hit by the Hiroshima atomic bombing, at the Ise Football Village in the city of Ise, Mie Prefecture, on June 24, 2021. (Mainichi/Yuki Kozawa)

ISE, Mie -- Flowers have bloomed on a precious tree planted in western Japan -- a symbol of peace which has grown from the seeds of a Chinese parasol tree hit by the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing.

    The Chinese parasol tree was planted in the parking lot of the Ise Football Village in the Mie Prefecture city of Ise in April 2020. Shitomi Konishi, 85, head of a volunteer group in Ise that donated the tree to the city, commented, "I'm very happy that the second generation of a Chinese parasol tree, which budded again even after it suffered from the atomic bombing, and continues to live on, has flowered. I'd like those who see it to use it as an opportunity to think about the importance of peace."

    Konishi received the seeds of the A-bomb hit Chinese parasol tree from the Hiroshima-based group "The Society of A-Bomb Aogiri's Dream Education" in July 2000, and planted them on the premises of Ise Pearl Center, a pearl products shop run by Konishi himself.

    He took good care of the tree, and it bloomed flowers for the first time in July 2013, but it snapped completely in two due to strong winds from a typhoon in 2017. In spite of this, the tree showed strong endurance and budded again from its edges to keep on growing. Konishi, who was moved by the tree's vitality, donated it to the city of Ise, and planted it at the football facility as he wished to have a large number of residents view the symbol of peace.

    After occasionally visiting the site to remove weeds and maintain the tree's condition, Konishi apparently noticed on around June 20 that the tree had budded flowers. Cream-colored flowers have bloomed from many small buds on the top of the tree, which has grown to a height of around 3 meters.

    Konishi said, "I remember even now shrinking with fear when I heard the first report on the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, as a 9-year-old at the time of the war. When viewing the flowers in bloom, I feel anew that I must convey to others how grateful we should be for peace and its importance."

    (Japanese original by Yuki Kozawa, Ise Bureau)

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