FUKUSHIMA, Japan >> A ceremony was held at the end of 2017 to cut down a Japanese black pine tree called “Kashima no Ipponmatsu,” the lone survivor of a forest in, Fukushima Prefecture, that was struck by the tsunami following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The pine was the only one to remain standing among tens of thousands of trees in a disaster-prevention forest in the Kashima area of the city. The ceremony to cut the tree down was held Dec. 27 in a light snowfall.
The 82-foot-high pine was about 200 years old, according to a local group dedicated to preserving the tree that was located about 328 feet inland from the coast in Kashima’s Minamimigita area, where 54 people were killed by the tsunami.
The pine was seen as a symbol of mourning for the victims, and of the area’s post-disaster reconstruction.
Despite efforts to save the tree, salt damage was too extentive and officials decided the tree should be felled.
The pine will likely be processed into doorplates for house entrances, which will be distributed to the 160 members of the group.
The prefectural government also plans to plant saplings raised from the branches and seeds of the pine in one corner of the forest zone.