This Japanese white pine tree is almost 400 years old.

This Japanese white pine is 390 years old, to be exact. Photo by Christa Burns/Flickr.

It lives in the U.S. National Arboretum as part of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, where it's the oldest tree in the collection.


It stands just a few feet tall and has carefully pruned piney branches extending from a short, mossy trunk.

Oh, yeah, and it survived the devastating Hiroshima bombing of 1945.

At 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, two American pilots dropped a 9,700-pound atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Within minutes, the entire city had been leveled. Some accounts say everything within a four-mile radius of the initial blast was incinerated almost instantly.

Except, it seems, for this now-390-year-old Japanese pine tree, which miraculously survived despite being just over two miles away from the center of the blast.

In 1976, the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., received the tree from Japanese bonsai master Masaru Yamaki in celebration of the American bicentennial.

It wasn't until 2001, 25 years later, when Yamaki's grandsons came to visit the tree in person, that officials learned of its amazing journey.

How could such a tiny thing survive such a massive explosion?

Location, it turns out, and a little bit of luck.



You can barely even tell the tree withstood a massive atomic detonation. Photo by A. Currell/Flickr.

“Location, location, location," Jack Sustic, the bonsai's curator, told The Washington Post. “It was up against a wall. It must have been the wall that shielded it from the blast."

The tree is a true living memorial, and it is being honored this week as we recognize the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.

If trees like this bonsai could talk, they'd tell the most amazing stories.

Methuselah is estimated to be about 4,846 years old. Photo by Chao Yen/Flickr.

That towering pine tree outside your window could easily be hundreds of years old. The great redwoods in California can live upwards of 2,000 years. And there's even a tree named "Methuselah" believed to be over 4,800 years old.

But measuring years lived doesn't tell you what a tree has experienced during its lifetime. This bonsai tree could soon actually become one of the last living witnesses to the brutal realities of World War II, and a lesson for all of us to appreciate those close to us lucky enough to come out of the war alive.

The National Arboretum's bonsai tree has already outlived its life expectancy but could continue to thrive for another 100 years or more.

As long as it's alive, so are the stories of the over 200,000 lives lost on Aug. 6, 1945.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Image from Strut Safe's Instagram.

In March 2021, a woman named Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered in South London as she was walking home.

Simply walking home alone at night proved to be life-threatening. But this aspect of the story is no new news. Women have long shared their fears on the subject.

Constant glances over the shoulder and walking with keys between the fingers have become well-known protection rituals against potential violence. And these efforts, though necessary measures of self defense, can at times feel like small band-aids over a larger wound.

As Alice Jackson and Rachel Chung, two students in Edinburgh, attended one of Everard’s vigils, an idea struck them. And it’s helping women in the U.K. gain not only a sense of safety, but something else too. Something of equal immense value.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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