The Ginkgo Pages Forum - Blog

Welcome, this blog belongs to my website The Ginkgo Pages about the tree Ginkgo biloba. - Cor Kwant
Go to search + archive.

follow me on twitter Follow me on Twitter

March 10, 2010

Hachiman Ginkgo broke after 1000 years

Kamakura, Japan:
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.

The giant Ginkgo in 2004.

More info about this tree on my website.

More related videos can be found on YouTube.
Article here.


new updates at the bottom
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.
The stone steps are temporarily not available for use, but the replanted ginkgo tree will be unveiled to the public in the near future. Read more here
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. Article here.  

Update April 2, 2010:
New buds are sprouting from the base of the old large Ginkgo: photo (23-04-2010)  
Update June 13, 2010:    

Update October, 2010: photo genova1991 Update April, 2011:New shoots are growing taller: c. 2 m! photo: Papaya    

Update July, 2013:
New shoot with leaves from the original roots!
Update July, 2015:

New shoot as it is now! Wow, great tree, a survivor!
Photo courtesy @ritterkreuz032

"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.

大銀杏の 鶴岡八幡宮


At 3/15/2010, Anonymous Gabi Greve said...

my giant old friend
has taken a final fall ...
spring storm

Gabi, who once lived in Kamakura !

Click on my name to read more.

Thanks, Cor, for taking this up !!

At 3/31/2010, Anonymous Pavel Hrubik said...

I am sending you the comments concerning the crash of 1000 years old Ginkgo biloba in the city of Kamakura
in Japan.

1. The tree grew as a soliter, therefore its crown was symmetrical and straight trunk with regular branches in its upper part.
2. A high quality soil and climatic conditions allowed very qualitative development of the tree. For the tree stability and nutrition uptake is root system very important.
3. We supposed that the surrounding area of the tree was of grass type, or stony pavement respectively. The tree growth conditions were optimal.
4. In regard to the severe damage of root system of the tree (video presentation), the hole in the main tree trunk and dead roots as well as very narrow level (10-15-20 cm) of healthy surrounding wood, we supposed that the reason of such damage has been the covering of the soil by firm concrete level (150-200 years ago).
5. The reinforcement of soil surface under tree and its broader surrounding has significantly changed the ecological conditions for tree optimal growth. The roots without sufficient access of moisture, air, high temperate under reinforce surface during summer caused progressive and long-term rotten and dead of the roots (in the Middle Europe the fungus Armillaria mellea Vahl. Is causing the roots rotten).
6. The roots rotten did widespread into tree wood. Within the tree was created a big hole of average of 1.5 m and continued till the height 2-3.5 m. The main roots which are responsible for the tree static and stability has become dead. On the video was possible to see dead sidelong branches.
7. Repeatedly we underline the primary cause of tree trunk crash, the significant decay and, big hole in tree trunk (The Mainichi Daily News), dead roots and only very small undamaged part of trunk. Unexpected ginkgo’s crush has been supported by a strong wind.
8. The expectant rescue of historically precious 1000 years old tree unfortunately is not real. We can only minimize the loss of such precious tree by germplasm reproduction of Ginkgo biloba, by inoculation on others ginkgo’s trees, by micropropagation in vitro. In the case of male tree, generative reproduction in not possible.
9. Obtained knowledge originates from long-term wood research in urban conditions of Slovak Republic and from scientific activities at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra.

Prof. Pavel Hrubík
University professor of dendrology and wood protection

At 4/01/2010, Blogger Cor Kwant said...

From Daily Yomiuri online article March 25, 2010:

Shrine trying various methods to regenerate uprooted ginkgo tree.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine is trying out three methods to regenerate the giant tree--a prefectural natural treasure said to be more than 1,000 years old--but it remains doubtful whether they will succeed.

Firstly, the 6.8-meter-diameter trunk of the sacred tree was cut at a point four meters above ground. The lower section was transplanted to a new plot inside the shrine's grounds in the hope it will grow new roots.

Worshippers got their first glimpse of this transplanted tree on March 16--less than a week after it was felled on March 10.

The shrine has pinned its highest hopes on this method succeeding.

Atsushi Hashimoto, a priest at the shrine, said the shrine held a ritual for buds to shoot last Thursday.

"As there are thin roots left around the base of the tree, there's a 90 percent chance [this method] will work," Prof. Chikayasu Hamano of Tokyo University of Agriculture said. "We'll do everything we can [to save the tree]."

Hamano also proposed alternative methods of regenerating the tree. One way is to wait for the shoots to naturally ratoon from the stub on the ground. This method would enable the shoots to grow thick.

Another way is to make cuttings from the upper sections of the uprooted tree.

The Kanagawa Prefectural Natural Environment Conservation Center made about 400 cuttings from the branches. They are soaked in root stimulator, and grown in a greenhouse until they develop roots.

They are then taken to a field, where they are expected to grow to a height of about one meter.

"The branches of the ginkgo tree most definitely have the genes of the tree," said Hiroshi Saito, the center's chief researcher. "By growing cuttings, we can almost certainly create a clone seedling to return to the shrine."

Kentaro Nakamura, a chief researcher of Sumitomo Forestry Co.'s Tsukuba Research Institute, said even a tree more than 1,000 years old can be revived through such means. He said that the cuttings have the highest chance of success, followed by the possibility of shoots ratooning from the stub. The least likely scenario is the tree being regenerated from the transplanted stump.

A similar case can be found with the regeneration of a cherry tree estimated to be 550 years old in Onomachi, Fukushima Prefecture. The town's natural treasure cherry tree, known as Kannon-zakura, was uprooted by a typhoon in 2007.

The cuttings did not grow well, and the trunk was cut into pieces for disposal. In May 2008, however, a local resident found a shoot growing from the abandoned trunk.

The Fukushima Prefectural Forestry Research Center grew 17 seedlings from the shoot, one of which has grown to a height of 76 centimeters in a greenhouse.

The shoot absorbed water, was soaked in root stimulator and planted in soil with good water retention.

Kept in humid conditions in the greenhouse, the seedlings took root about 30 days later.

"Growing roots is the hardest thing," said Jiro Watababe, a researcher at the center. "We took the greatest care to prevent water vaporizing.

"Ginkgo trees are relatively easy to grow," Watababe added. "[The uprooted tree] still has roots, and its trunk has sufficient nutrients because it had yet to sprout for spring. I believe it highly likely it will regenerate."

At 4/10/2010, Anonymous Pavel Hrubik said...

Váza Webové stránky o Ginkgo su velmi zaujímavé sledujem všetky aktuality o Ginkgo poškodení víchrica v Japonsku.Pošleme hľa Správy o našom výskum Na Slovensku.

Vyjadrujte potešením, že STROM Ginkgo v Kamakura, Japonsko, ožíva na časť kmeňa začali 2.4.2010 pučať Nové listy.Koreňová Pňov výmladnosť Ginkgo JE vysoká AJ na Slovensku, v meste Trenčín vyrástli v roku 2008 a 2009 Nové výhonky (10-20 cm), vhodné na odrezku vegetatívny Premnoženie (vok Ginkgo 90 rokov). Video na stránku je hodnotné!

What kind of methods are used in order to find out the age of Ginkgo biloba? The historical records about the tree planting, age estimation, Pressler screwer etc.

At 5/15/2010, Anonymous Guy Meilleur said...

Fascinating story of reverence for a tree. Thanks to Pavel for the assessment.

Does anyone have access to hi-res pictures of the fallen tree? I will pay for good ones of the stump sprouts, and the fenced-off fallen tree.

At 10/12/2015, Anonymous Charles Hunter said...

Whenever we visited Kamakura, we made a special effort to observe the renowned Hachiman Ginkgo.
During the five years that I taught at Yokohama International School, my awareness of the uniqueness of the trunk of the tree grew. One day as I was studying it's sinuous character, I realized that the outer trunk was composed entirely of chi chi which had grown down the original trunk and had grown into a second outer trunk. The aerial growths had, over the centuries, fused together and, once they reached the ground, became roots, giving an additional support to the ancient tree. In photographs, one can see a few places where the descending chi chi had not quite completely covered the original trunk. I always wanted to generate a clone of the tree but, recognizing it as a sacred tree of the shrine, I did not want to commit the offense of procuring cuttings. Is anyone aware of a source of scions or rooted cuttings of this historic tree? After I learned of its demise, I E-mailed Porfessor Chikayasu Hamano of Tokyo University of Agriculture in an effort to acquire cuttings or propagules of the amazing Hachiman Ginkgo.

I have no doubt that it's long- term life will be extended into future centuries through propagation strategies that are being undertaken.

I sure would like a copy of my old Ginkgo Friend.

Charles Hunter


Post a Comment

<< Home