Two years ago, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami swept across the country's coast wreaking untold amounts of damage. One of the quake's victims was an old forest in Rikuzentakata, Iwate, which was obliterated by severe ground tremors and the crashing sea waves that followed. Of the 70,000 timbers that were felled, a sole tree survived. The "miracle pine," as it's called by locals, withstood one of the greatest natural disasters recorded, only to perish in September 2012 after it succumbed to toxic levels of saline that had been deposited by flooding.
Now, a sculpture commemorating the miraculous 88-foot-tall tree is set to open in an event that will mark the second anniversary of the disaster.
The work, seen rising from behind a screen of scaffolding above, was created using plastic molds taken of the pine's trunk and branches, plus steel needles to recreate the leaves of the tree's crown. The top portion of the "tree" was lifted into place by crane last week, and thus, completing the faithful replica. The 1.4 ton-sculpture is anchored to the spot where the original once stood --- and where it was planted in the Edo period and remained rooted through two tsunami in 1896 and 1933 --- by latticework to be removed this week, when the memorial is scheduled to be unveiled.
The "miracle pine" in its last months; Photo: Pers Anders Pettersson/Corbis [Lead photo: AP]
[via The Asabi Shimbum]