Posts Tagged ‘stone memorials’
The first of a line of 17,300 cherry trees are at the high-water mark of the tsunami that devastated the north-east of Japan on March 11.
A citizens’ group from Tohoku came up with the idea of planting the trees every 10 metres along the 173 km of the coastline that was most seriously affected by the tsunami, which in places reached a height of more than 40 metres.
Cherry trees have long been seen as a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life and are commonly used in Japanese art, anime and film, but the volunteers who began planting the trees in the devastated town of Rikuzentakata on Sunday hope they will serve a different purpose.
In previous centuries, survivors of a major tsunami placed stone markers at the high-water mark. Those markers have since been forgotten or covered with undergrowth, leaving the people of the Tohoku region with no indicator of how far inland they needed to move when the magnitude-9 earthquake struck off the coast on March 11.
By planting distinctive cherry trees, the volunteers hope that more lives can be saved next time disaster strikes in this part of Japan. “It is our responsibility to preserve the memory of the great tsunami for future generations,” Takumi Hashizume, the leader of the Cherry Line 311 Action Committee, told the Kyodo news agency. “I don’t want people in the future to suffer the same pain.
Smart. Memorable. Easy to point out to future generations.