Floral Character for Life Memorializes Tragic Derailment 18 Years Ago

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The kanji character for “life” formed by flowers is seen Saturday in a field near the site of the deadly derailment accident that occurred 18 years ago in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

AMAGASAKI, Hyogo — The kanji character for “life” had been formed with flowers in a field near the site of one of Japan’s deadliest train derailments, ahead of the 18th anniversary of the crash that killed 106 in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

The flowers in memory of the deceased are from Japanese radish plants planted in a field along the JR Fukuchiyama Line track about 150 meters north of the site of the tragedy that occurred on April 25, 2005.

Hirofumi Hagimoto, a 69-year-old resident of the area, began planting the radishes in patterns of kanji characters in 2015. In autumn of last year, he planted the seeds in the shape of “sei,” meaning life. The flowers have come into full bloom about a week earlier than usual.

“I hope that people living now and those born in the future will see the character and it gives them pause to think about the accident,” Hagimoto said.