Friday, 17 February 2012
The beautiful do not survive
The world heritage island of Yakushima south of Kyushu is an extraordinarily beautiful island renowned for its old "sugi" or cedar which are very similar to the sequoia or redwoods of California. About 400 years ago the shogun or ruler of Japan, Hideyoshi had a 3000 year old tree cut down to make a Buddha for a temple. The islanders who venerate their trees were finally persuaded to use some of this lumber and began making shingles. It was a lot of work to cut down a tree without tools such as chainsaws so they would sample a tree to determine its suitability for shingles. If not suitable the scarred tree was left standing. There are a number of trees which are older than 2000 years. They tend to be the less beautiful trees. We visited one 3000 year old giant named Yayoisugi.