Home History The dark secret of DC’s bonsai tree

The dark secret of DC’s bonsai tree

by Chris Butsch

In 1976, the United States accepted a special gift from Japanese bonsai master Masaru Yamaki: a 400-year-old bonsai tree. Welcomed as a symbol of peace and friendship, the tree became a permanent addition to the National Arboretum.

In 2001, Yamaki’s grandsons visited their grandfather’s tree and revealed a key detail about its past. Like Yamaki himself, the ancient bonsai is a survivor of the world’s first nuclear attack on Hiroshima. Both were just 2 miles from the intial explosion.

To visitors, however, this revelation serves to underscore the gift’s original message: that peace, love and forgiveness will endure.

Chris Butsch

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