Hiding in the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. is a compact little piece of Japanese history. In 1976, as a gift from Japan for America’s bicentennial, bonsai master Masaru Yamaki donated a bonsai tree first planted in the 17th century. And it’s still there, housed at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.
The Japanese white pine, currently 392 years old, is the oldest tree in the collection. It was planted in 1625, and has probably been "in training"—its growth guided by different bonsai masters—since it was around 3 to 5 years old. Bonsai are delicate trees that require a master’s care, but this one has been through a lot, though the National Bonsai Museum didn't know that when it arrived.