Seeds from Oman to help Hiroshima sur­vivor grow frank­in­cense bon­sai

Times of Oman - - OMAN - GAU­TAM VISWANATHAN

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.

–Sup­plied photo

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.

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