Seeds from Oman to help Hiroshima survivor grow frankincense bonsai
MILAN: Shozo Tanaka is known as one of Italy’s finest bonsai growers, and now, the Oman government has decided to honour him and help him hone this craft further, by gifting him a collection of treasured frankincense seeds to nurture into bonsai trees.
Tanaka was nine years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, and has been living in Italy for the last five decades, having developed his own bonsai garden on the banks of Lake Garda, in the Italian district of Lombardy. Giuseppe di Pascali Pepe is Oman’s honorary consul in Italy, and is based full-time at the Sultanate’s offices in Milan.
“To meet him is a truly historical memory, because he is recognised and respected as a man of peace here in Milan. Because of his honourable reputation and his historical past, the consul met him and gave him seeds of the frankincense tree from Oman,” said Pepe while speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman.
“He has been living by the Garda Lake in the Lombardy department, and he has found deep satisfaction in the old ways of the Japanese art forms by grow- ing bonsai trees,” he added. “Mr. Tanaka is a reserved man and I was really honoured by his visit to the consul, the one and only diplomatic mission he has been to. He has invited us to return to him when the seeds sprout, and this way a true relationship of friendship is born between us.”
Bonsai—the art of growing miniature versions of full-grown trees—is an art form that originated in Japan, and dates back to over a 1,000 years, and is a repre- sentation of human perseverance and natural aesthetic.
A fully qualified lawyer, Pepe has been Oman’s honorary consul to Italy since 2014, and continuously works to foster stronger relations between the Sultanate and other diplomatic missions, as well as both Italian citizens and foreign migrants in the country.
“The relationships through diplomacy must exist with not only with the country hosting the diplomatic mission, but also with other foreigners in a foreign place,” he said. “This is the message the consul of Oman in Italy will always stand by.”
Other examples of his attempts to foster better relations have been built through rescuing a hawk in the town of Trentino, a football match organised among Bangladeshi migrants in Milan, and hosting a delegation of Chinese businessmen who recently came to Italy, to discuss stronger investment ties with Oman.
NURTURING AN ART: Tanaka was nine years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, and has been living in Italy for the last 50 years, having developed his own bonsai garden on the banks of Lake Garda, in the Italian district of Lombardy.