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NAGASAKI Kusunoki project

 

In Nagasaki, atomic bombed trees still survive.

In Nagasaki, 30 "hibakujumoku," or atomic bombed trees, still grow today, having survived the bomb's blast and heat.

The Nagasaki Kusunoki Project preserves and protects these hibakujumoku.

It is a project that, through encouraging greater awareness of it, conveys memories surrounding WWII and states facts about atomic bomb radiation so that it can pass down a message about life's resilience and hopes for peace to future generations.

Movie  

Details

The atomic bombed trees continue to stand, nestled in the neighborhoods of Nagasaki's citizens.

Each tree is imprinted with memories of a war as well as the story of life itself.

Trees  

30本全ての被爆樹木を見る

Map  

Thirty a-Bombed Trees in Nagasaki City are mapped.
The center of those circles is hypocenter of the Atomic Bombing. (It exploded at about 500m above that.)
You can see these trees' pictures and explanations for more details when you click the number.

01 2・3 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Donation  

Masaharu Fukuyama, a singer-songwriter and actor from Nagasaki, released "Kusunoki," a song about atomic bombed kusunoki, or camphor trees, in 2014.

Mr. Fukuyama donated the entirety of the monies that were raised through the song along with related live shows throughout Japan as well as through Kusunoki Donations to the official website (the donations were addressed to Amuse, his management agency) to the city of Nagasaki with the wish that the money be used for preservation of Sanno Shrine's atomic bombed camphor trees and other trees that survived the atomic bomb. Spurred by this donation, the city of Nagasaki established the Kusunoki Foundation in December 2018 to further preservation and use of the trees that survived the atomic bomb.

Many trees that retain the scars of the atomic bomb still stand throughout Nagasaki, and these include the Giant Camphor Trees of Sanno Shrine, which symbolize the hopes for peace and the resilience of life. There are currently 30 trees that are subject to preservation within 4 kilometers of the blast center, including these 2 camphor trees. Of these, 21 are on privately owned land. The city of Nagasaki had paid for three-quarters of the maintenance costs before the foundation's establishment, but the owners have received monies from the Kusunoki Foundation since. Donations through the Furusato Nozei, or Hometown Tax, were also added. The monies that were donated by many considerate people were directed not only at the preservation of these trees that survived the atomic bomb, but as of February 2019, have been used for a project that conveys these hibakujumoku as symbols of peace to Japan and the world.

faq  

What are "the bombed trees"
In Nagasaki, the trees that were damaged by the atomic bomb are referred to as "the bombed trees."

Regardless of whether or not it was due to the atomic bomb, the trees that were damaged
by the aerial bombardments of Japan are in general collectively called "the bombed trees." In Nagasaki in particular, those trees damaged by the atomic bomb dropped on August 9, 1945, are usually called "the bombed trees."

The atomic bomb instantaneously released an immense amount of energy, which attacked every single person on the ground in the form of blast waves, heat rays and radiation. In Nagasaki City over 70,000 people were killed and one third of the city's area was destroyed and lost. Some trees were ripped apart as they received the explosive energy from straight overhead, some trees burned and fell in the fires. The trees that barely managed to stay alive in the midst of this horrific event are the bombed trees. The people who survived the atomic bombing saw these trees recovering one leaf at a time and took courage from this display of the power of life. From the perspective of we who live in the present time, these trees are a reminder of the cruel situation experienced by the hibakusha and the tenacity of life that was subsequently revived.
Are there only 30 bombed trees?
The bombed trees subject to preservation are 30 in number.

In Nagasaki City the bombed buildings, bridges, trees and so on are collectively referred to as "the atomic-bombed buildings. etc" The trees among these that are subject to preservation number 30 in total.

There are many other existing trees that were growing at the time of the atomic bombingin Nagasaki City, but the trees that are subject to preservation are located in a radius of roughly 4km from the hypocenter and illustrate the bare scars of the atomic bombing and the true state of the area and community; the number of these such trees is currently 30.
Is there any radiation left in the bombed trees?
No, there is not any radiation residue

During the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima it was radioactive rays rather than radioactive material that pierced through the trees and exposed them to radiation. The radioactive rays that pierced the trees did not remain in them, but weakened as they passed through the air and finally vanished. There is absolutely no radiation on the surfaces of or within the bombed trees.
Can donations to the Kusunoki Foundation be made?
Yes, donations can be made

Donations can be made using the following methods
Donations
The Foundation accepts individual donations. Those wishing to make a donation are requested to either bring their donations directly to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum or send them by registered mail for cash. A receipt will be subsequently be sent to those who donate.
Collection box
There are collection boxes in Nagasaki City Hall and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
・First floor lobby of the main building of Nagasaki City Hall
・Information desk and office of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
Hometown Tax ("furusato nozei")
Among the options for the Nagasaki City hometown tax system ("Ganbaranba Nagasaki City Donations) is "2. Kusunoki (bombed trees preservation)." Please click here if you wish to make a donation. Note: This jumps to the Furusato Choice Hometown Tax website.

Donation  

Why is it important to preserve the bombed trees?
Once nuclear weapons including atomic bombs are used they wreak irreversible damage upon people, localities and communities. This fact has been relayed to us by the many hibakusha who have told us about the courageous experiences that they went through. However, as over 75 years have now elapsed since they were exposed to the bombing it is becoming increasingly difficult to directly hear about those experiences.

The bombed trees cannot of course speak to us or show us anything. But I believe that when we find the scars the bombing left on the trees, when we encounter the sentiments of the people who have carefully protected them, it is possible for those looking at the trees to feel something about the existence of these bombed trees. It is precisely because of the difficulty of hearing directly from the hibakusha about their bombing experiences that there is a meaning in preserving the bombed trees.
What I would really like people to feel when viewing the bombed trees
Please use all five senses when viewing the trees. Perhaps instead of just observing the colors and textures of the trunks, you could if possible touch them and try to take in their smell. Some of the trees show the marks of having undergone tree surgery. In contrast to sensing this pain, when you see the verdantly luxuriating leaves you will probably feel the vitality of the trees that go on living despite everything.

Furthermore, don't look only at the trees themselves but carefully cast your eyes over their surrounding environment. When you look at the trees facing towards the direction of the hypocenter, you might be able to imagine what it was like during the instant that they were exposed to the bombing. There are testaments from some hibakusha that they were saved by hiding in the shadows of the bombed trees. It might be worth actually trying to hide in their shade yourself. And if you look around widely and carefully, your thoughts will surely turn to the owners of the trees and local people who protected them. Try to consider the fact that these great trees, looking after the people who just happen to walk past them, are in fact the witnesses of heroic scenes and you may be able to look at them in a different way. Looking at the trees for a second time at a different time of the day is also worthwhile. The bombed trees at dawn, sunset and when the midday sun is high above them, what time of day they are at their most impressive according to the locations in which they are growing – you may be able to find the best moment for viewing each of them
What is done in order to protect the bombed trees
The owners of the trees keep a watchful eye on them. In Nagasaki City, arborists who act as doctors for the trees are asked to take a patrol around the trees once each year. On these patrols the arborists take a professional look at the state of each and every tree, check for the presence of harmful insects and whether or not there are any places requiring tree surgery. In the event that tree surgery is found necessary during these tree patrols, discussions with the owners are held and treatment provided using the funds of the Kusunoki Foundation. The treatments include methods such as soil improvement, installation of supporting poles, coating with medicine and special pruning, and the method is chosen together with the arborists.
Why have the bombed trees survived?
There is a very large range of interconnecting factors behind how the bombed trees have been protected up to the present day. Whether or not trees lived or died depended upon the particular features of where they grew, their position in relation to the hypocenter, and whether or not they were caught up in the surrounding fires. There is an array of elements behind the possibility that surviving trees were lost: they may have been felled for use as fuel, construction materials and the extension and widening of houses and roads, or died from natural causes such as typhoons, floods or just old age. It is those trees that overcame all these possibilities that survive to the present day. Thinking about the trees in this way you will surely understand why the owners have a sense of devotion towards these trees, and tend them so carefully.

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Musesum Curator