The fifth-generation owner of a bonsai shop in Tokyo recently had seven tree stolen from their garden and the owners are pleading for their return.
For decades, a 400-year-old Japanese bonsai tree had been shaped, watered and cared for like it was a priceless piece of art. And, unfortunately in the wrong hands, it could die within a week. We never knew bonsai trees were so finicky!
Seiji Iimura, 54, says that a 33-inch tall tree was among seven that were stolen, but this one in particular is near and dear to the owner’s heart. All together, the stolen trees were worth about $90,000, so we can see why they were suddenly so upset to learn that they were missing!
But it’s not just the money. It turns out that bonsai trees require a diligent mix of dedication and skill, which created an emotional connection for Mr. Iimura and his wife. They have been looking after this particular bonsai tree for over 25 years!
Now, they are begging the thieves to return the trees, but to particularly remember to water them in the meantime!
“Bonsai are like our children. They are our children who have been living for 400 years. I feel like our limbs were taken away and we miss them everyday,” the couple said in an interview.
Unfortunately, the thieves haven’t been found. But they’re not going to take it sitting down, either. They now have installed several camera in their garden, as well as preparing to construct a fence and possibly add motion sirens.
This isn’t the only time bonsai theft victims have mourned the loss of these precious trees. A woman in New York experienced similar loss and compared it to losing a member of the family.
“It’s not the money, these plants were like children to me,” Suzanne Berv of New York said when eight of her own bonsai trees went missing. “It’s almost like somebody kidnapped one of your kids.”
One may not realize it at first glance, but caring for a bonsai tree is as much of an art as anything else. Owners use wiring and pruning to shape the trees, many times over several decades, into what they eventually become. They are simply magnificent when cared for properly.
Mr. Iimura shared that this particular tree once received an award at a conference and was “regarded as excellent.” He states it was priceless. He now hopes that with international news coverage, it will make it more difficult for the thieves to sell the trees.
“All we want is for our bonsai trees to be returned,” Iimura states.
Original article: ‘Bonsai are Like Our Children’: Couple Pleads for Return of Stolen Tree
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