Tree planting ceremony honors Japanese victims of Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

Hawaii Independent Staff

A Japanese pine tree (matsu) planting ceremony will be held on Saturday, August 6 at 10:00 a.m. at the Japanese garden of Kepaniwai Park in Iao Valley in honor of the victims of the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

As Honorary Chair of The Aloha Initiative, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is scheduled to convey his message of condolence and words of sympathy for the victims of the March 11 catastrophe.

Scheduled to be in attendance are the citizens of Japan who are on Maui through The Aloha Initiative, a Maui-led program initiated the week after the March 11 disaster to provide citizens of Japan who have been displaced by the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis with a warm and welcome home.

Organizers decided to plant a matsu because it is a symbol of long life and perseverance—legend holds that only one tree was left standing from a forest of trees in Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture, following the terrifying force of the March 11 tsunami.

According to news reports, the Takata Matsubara forest was designated a scenic spot and a popular tourist destination in Iwate Prefecture. Approximately 70,000 red and black pines grew on an approximately 2-km-long stretch of beach.

The only tree, estimated to be from 270 to 280 years old, survived the tsunami. It was been a great emotional support to residents who have dubbed the tree, “kiseki no ippon matsu” (the miraculous lone pine tree).

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about The Aloha Initiative, call (808) 280-1299 or visit

Tree planting ceremony
Saturday, August 6 at 10:00 a.m.
Japanese garden of Kepaniwai Park in Iao Valley on Maui