Written by Katy Pentith
Jonathan from Wennington had the idea for this tree planting from an artist friend from the Forest of Dean who had been involved with the plantings for a while
Craig from PETT invited a local primary school and during the last few weeks the children have been researching the history of the tree and the reasoning behind it. The children have made pictures and created some very moving words in poetry form about the tree and its symbolism. They have created 2 prayers, 2 dances and sang a most wonderful song.
The Kaki Tree is a type of Persimmon tree with large orange fruit. These are known as Sharon fruit and are available around Christmas time. When in Nagasaki where the Atom bomb was dropped one of these trees survived. Seedlings were grown from the surviving tree. The plantings have been happening since 1998. The man behind the project in Japan is Dr. Masayuki Ebinuma. More information can be found on the Revive Time Kaki Tree Planting website.
In the morning before the children arrived, Craig explained that the hole, trowels, and soil were ready at the plot. He showed us the plaque that had been made,when rusty the wording will be clear. In the middle of the old pool is a peace sign. We decided to have the prayers there. A press photographer from the local paper attended.
When the children arrived it started a great buzz of positivity or “ energy unbound” The drizzle would not dampen more than our hair. We followed the children down to the planting site. The artist Bruce Allan introduced the idea to the children including other plantings of the Kaki tree at other schools country-wide. This was followed by Jonathan's account of bringing the sapling in his rucksack on the train from Yorkshire. He explained that he had been nurturing it on his allotment for 2 years. The children were gathered round and the banter was lively (another closely bonded family), while waiting for the photographers to marshal people for the pictures they wanted. One of the children read out the writing on the plaque.
KAKI TREE GRAFTED FROM A TREE WHICH SURVIVED THE ATOMIC BOMB
DETONATED ABOVE THE CITY OF NAGASAKI AT 11.02 A.M. ON THE 9 AUGUST
The surviving tree lives approximately 2.5 Kilometres from the hypo-centre of the explosion.
This offspring is a gift from Dr. Masayuki Ebinuma and the “Revive Time” Kaki Tree Project
Executive committee, Ibaraki, Japan.
Worldwide plantings of Kaki trees have been under-way since 1998, cultivated from two
surviving trees in Nagasaki, as symbols of peace and regeneration.
Stand back ! The planting has begun. Leading scout “ Richard the Clock” helped release the sapling Kaki from its travelling bag using his trusty penknife.Kaki sapling was then lowered into its new residence. Each and everyone of us put a trowel of earth into the hole while facing up to a barrage of cameras.
Carefully avoiding the cowslips we walked up the lawns to the pool where two pupils read the prayers. Beating the rain we all followed the children into the hall. The adults were able to watch at each end. The children removed their shoes and socks and took up their respective positions. One group stayed at the edges, the other group performed a dance depicting growth. This was stylish and individual. The music was open and lively. There was an exchange and the first group sat at the edge while the second group took up their positions. There was an engaging sense of purpose in part two. Again the rhythm was constant while many movements individually fitting in with stretching and growing. There was an impression of fluidity.
Onto the song. We were all given sheets for the song so we were able to join in. ** The adults with a voice that is! The accompaniment was piano and violin? The Song !!! WOW!! It was positive lively with quite a high range sung to a very high standard with clear diction and everyone staying together. The chorus too was very moving. I was impressed. The song is called “ Sometimes I Wonder. “
After an introduction from Jonathan another Wenningtonian , Mrs. Grace Roberts told her personal story of how her Uncle Norman had been captured during WW2 and was being kept in a cave in Nagasaki when the bomb was detonated. Grace went on to say that he was very thin and he was sent to Australia to put on weight before returning to the UK. We had only become aware of this before the planting.
Over lunch Ernie Thomas entertained everyone with songs from his barrel organ and each child had the opportunity to have a go before they left.
I thanked the children and staff for all their effort and hard work that had given a moving and memorable Kaki Tree Planting Day.
As there are no fruit for 10 years I suggested inviting everyone back for a party in 10 years time. Definitely a day to remember.
Thank-you to all involved.