Sharing the story of A-bombed trees with as many people as possible
Hibakujumoku, or A-bombed trees, are trees that survived an atomic bombing and still thrive. The city of Hiroshima counts approximately 160 hibakujumoku, each with its own story and subsisting as silent witnesses of that day’s events. In 2005, a project was launched to raise awareness of the importance of these trees.
The Green Greetings Project, led by the Chugoku Simbun Newspaper and Chugoku-Shikoku Hakuhodo, took off on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings.
“My wish for this project is to help people realize that A-bombed trees are a part of our daily lives”, says Yamamoto Yuki (pictured right) of the Chugoku Shimbun. Before the birth of the project, there was still a great deal he didn’t know about hibakujumoku. Talking about Green Greetings, he adds, “As the A-bomb survivors get older, it’ll become even harder to keep telling their stories. In times like these, the A-bombed trees are something that anyone can easily pay a visit to. I hope that these trees will give people an opportunity to ponder about war and peace.” His words express a strong desire to cherish the project for many years to come.
Six long, thick roots grow from a single A-bombed tree standing beside a woman watering it. This design is the first visual of the project, and first appeared in the morning edition of the Chugoku Shimbun on August 6, 2005. The tree roots are connected to the six rivers flowing through the city of Hiroshima, mapping the locations of the remaining hibakujumoku along the waterways. A new high-design visual is published every year in the morning newspaper on August 6, and by the year 2021, the total number had reached 17.
“We believe that coming up with a key theme and creating a well-designed visual makes the project more appealing and memorable. Each poster tells the story of an A-bombed tree,” says Suzuki Hajime (second photo, left) of Chugoku-Shikoku Hakuhodo.
Other works include an eye-catching pink design (a Yoshino cherry tree at Yasuda Gakuen, 2014) and a visual in which children deliver aogiri (Chinese parasol tree) seedlings to the world (an aogiri tree at Peace Memorial Park,2009). These refined designs feature familiar motifs and tell the story behind the tree portrayed.
It’s through these visuals that the project has been promoting the importance of A-bombed trees. Last year, Green Greetings began selling postcards of the past visual designs, and even developed and released a dedicated app.
The postcards come in a set of 17, portraying all visuals through 2021, and are available on the project’s website and at the Peace Memorial Park Rest House. The dedicated app Green Greetings Museum provides users with an audio guide narrating the story and an explanation of each hibakujumoku when they’re standing near it, based on the 2005 map. In addition, the app comes with seven different course guides to support users in their tour of the A-bombed trees, according to their preferences. The app also includes a gallery of A-bombed trees, a stamp rally, and other features.
“We hope that students on school trips will use the app to explore the city and get to know Hiroshima better. Of course, the app can also serve as a valuable ally for the people of Hiroshima Prefecture to discover new things about the A-bombed trees in their neighborhoods,” declares Mr. Yamamoto, sharing his high hopes for the project.
If as many people as possible can learn about the many A-bombed trees in their neighborhoods and the stories behind each tree, it will be a step toward thinking about the future and bringing the voice of Hiroshima to the world. This project will continue for many years to come.
Green Greetings Project
Hibakujumoku postcards (990 JPY/set of 17)
* Also available at the Peace Memorial Park Rest House
Green Greetings Museum (dedicated app/free)
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