• Japan In Focus

Event Marks 100 Days Until Tree-Planting

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A piece of work created by Takata High School calligraphy club members is seen at the Abasse Takata facility in Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture, on Feb. 25.

RIKUZEN-TAKATA, Iwate — A Feb. 25 countdown event marked 100 days until the 73rd national tree-planting festival starting June 4 in Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture.

Area children joined Iwate Governor and festival organizing committee chair Takuya Tasso as locals looked to drum up excitement for the event.

Six Iwate Prefectural Takata High School calligraphy club students put on a performance, writing a line from the festival theme song and drawing the “miracle pine tree” that survived the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Their work is on display at the Abasse Takata facility through March 5, and will also be part of the celebrations on the day of the festival.

Sixty-two organizations participated in the “School Stay” initiative to cultivate seedlings to be used for the tree-planting festival at locations such as elementary and junior high schools, and 590 seedlings have been grown over the past two years.

The governor offered a letter of appreciation to Kesen region students representing the participants in the initiative.

Two members of the environment club at Yonesaki elementary school in Rikuzen-Takata, Runa Konno, a 12-year-old sixth grader, and his brother Yuma, an 11-year-old fifth grader, are happy to spark national interest.

“Since the earthquake, it has been our hope to again see the pinewood forests of Takata-Matsubara and the beautiful nature in the region,” one of them said. “This is our motivation, and we hope people from all across the country see the efforts we have made to develop the area.”