It’s 1973 and scientists in the prefecture of Miyazak on Kyushu, one of Japan’s four principal islands, are starting an experiment. What they’re doing is planting lots of trees – obisugi cedars to be precise. It will be almost 50 years before their experiment comes to fruition, however. And when it does, it will attract unexpected attention from around the world.
What caught the attention of both the internet and the world’s media in December 2018 was the pattern that these experimental trees have when viewed from above. In fact, they looked very much like the crop circles that in previous years have created so much fascination and controversy in the U.K. and elsewhere.