11 Years On: Tsunami-Hit City Pins Hopes on Baseball Field

Sports Society

Rikuzentakata, Iwate Pref., Feb. 25 (Jiji Press)--Local residents are pinning hopes on a baseball field nicknamed after a famous pine tree as a new symbol for Rikuzentakata, a northeastern Japan city severely damaged by the huge earthquake and tsunami 11 years ago.

The baseball field is in the city's athletic park, located near what used to be a scenic coastal forest of some 70,000 pine trees. The tsunami caused by the earthquake on March 11, 2011, swept away all the trees but one.

After the sole tree, known as "kiseki no ipponmatsu," which means "miracle lone pine tree," the facility was nicknamed the Rakuten Eagles Ipponmatsu Baseball Stadium.

The Iwate Prefecture city previously had a baseball field next to the forest. It was wiped out by the tsunami, however, four days before repair work was to finish in time for a game between the farm teams of professional baseball clubs. Only a lighting tower was left.

Although the city struggled to find a new location and reconstruction funds for the baseball field, the facility was completed in August 2020.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press