Roadside Japanese wax trees in Yanagisaka-Sone, the outskirts of Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Updated: Sep 17

The place of origin of wax trees is in the south of China and Southeast Asia. They came to Kagoshima, Japan, by way of Okinawa from China in the early 17th century, then spread into Kyushu and Shikoku islands. Many feudal lords of these areas enthusiastically tackled wax tree cultivation as a source of revenue. Because Japanese candles are made from the nuts of these trees. Kurume domain in Kyushu island, in particular, had focused on this cultivation since the 18th century, thus the specialists carried out species improvement to get more nuts. However, Western candles made from paraffin drove away Japanese candles after the Second World War. The wax tree cultivation eventually came to an end. The roadside Japanese wax trees in the picture, the total number of them is 200 and over 1 kilometer long from north to south, , still remain as they were.


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Masahisa Takaki.


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