Hachiman Ginkgo broke after 1000 years
the famous Hachiman Ginkgo tree (1,000 years old, 35 m, girth 6 m) broke probably due to bad weather, more research is needed. It is a great loss for Kamakura and Japan. Shigeho Yoshida, the chief priest of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, is too shocked to comment on the matter, a shrine official said. Other priests, who are also in shock, made spiritual gestures by offering rice and sake to the collapsed tree.
The giant Ginkgo tree, well known as a symbol of the shrine, was dubbed "Kakure Icho" (hidden ginkgo) since monk Kugyo hid behind the tree when he assassinated Minamoto no Sanetomo, the third shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate, in January 1219.
More info about this tree on my website.
More related videos can be found on YouTube.
Update March 13, 2010:
There are plans to restore this tree. Tokyo University of Agriculture professor Chikayasu Hamano said: " "Although it's not for certain, new roots may grow from the trunk if we plant it again." It is also hoped that young trees may grow from the roots still remaining in the ground. The trunk will be cut off about four meters above the fracture and planted near the root remaining in the ground after removing extra branches. The shrine has already started preparing for the project.
Read more here.
Update March 17, 2010:
The trunk was cut off about 3.6 meters above the fracture and planted by the stone steps leading to the shrine's main hall, about 7 meters west of the roots remaining in the ground.
Update March 18:
In a ceremony broadcasted on national television a Shinto priest prayed together with some 1,200 people for the revival of the tree.
People lined up to register their hope for a new life for the tree in a memorial book. Reporters followed the ceremony on site and via helicopter.
The Ginkgo stands a 90-per-cent chance of a resurrection according to experts. Moreover many cuttings have been taken from this tree.
Update April 2, 2010:
New buds are sprouting from the base of the old large Ginkgo:
photo Flickr.com (23-04-2010)
Update June 13, 2010:
Update October, 2010:
Update April, 2011:
New shoots are growing taller: c. 2 m!
"Behind that Ginkgo tree" music for tuba and piano:
Composition in memory of the giant Hachiman Ginkgo tree in Kamakura, Japan.
Premiere of "Behind that Ginkgo tree" for tuba and piano.
composed by Ryosuke Yagi, Timothy Northcut, tuba, In-Ja Esherman, piano
May 27, 2010, Tucson, Arizona at International Tuba Euphonium Conference 2010.