A Japanese couple engaged in social media to make a simple plea to the thieves who stole seven bonsai trees: please take care of "our children."
Seiji Iimura and his wife Fuyumi said the miniature trees were taken from their garden in Saitama near Tokyo last month.
"There are no words to describe how we feel," he wrote in a Facebook post. "They were valuable."
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The trees were worth about $ 90,000 and included a Shimpaku juniper, a 400-year-old tree maintained by Iimura for 25 years.
"Bonsai are like our kids," said Fuyumi Iimura of The New York Times. "They are our children who have been living for 400 years. I feel now how our limbs have been taken away and miss her every day. "
The couple has asked that the thieves pour the trees and bring them back.
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Bonsai trees are often associated with Japan and are considered by the BBC to be an art form based on specific cultivation techniques. The miniature plants grow in containers and require expert care.
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The police are investigating the theft, but the thieves have yet to detect it.
"We are sad and abandoned, but we will continue to protect our bonsai," Fuyumi Iimura wrote on Facebook. "In the meantime, we will continue to cultivate trees worthy of praise."