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Hachiawase: Make Rule from Trial and Error

May 30, 2013

 The balance between a tree and a pot is the important factor to have an effect on the bonsai's quality. To select a suitable pot by its shape, size, and color is called "hachiawase." There is no rule but artists have some good ways learned from their long experience, trial and error. We interviewed Mitsuo Matsuda, Matsuda Seishoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town, about the best part of hachiawase.


A Shinpaku (Chinese juniper) planted in a Nakawatari Chinese pot and Matsuda at Matsuda Seishoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town
A Shinpaku (Chinese juniper) planted in a Nakawatari Chinese pot and Matsuda at Matsuda Seishoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town

Deimono for Shohaku

 Shohaku (trees of Pinaceae and Cupressaceae) is popular in Kagawa. The attraction is depth and dignity. It is said a simple pot like Deimono is good for the tree. Actually, a pine Moyogi (trunks draw curves in patterns) is very massive with the rectangular Deimono pot.

 On the other hand, Kengai and Hankengai are good for the deep square or round pot. The branches dangle down from the pot. So it needs the pot which has the depth and a sense of stability. The rectangular and ellipse pots with outstretched edge are good for Chokkan. The delicate pots can develop the attraction of Buniingi which has the light atmosphere. For group planting which describes the vastness of forests in a pot, the shallow ellipse pots are good.

Japanese Deimono of Shigarakiyaki and Hankengai of Japanese black pine
Japanese Deimono of Shigarakiyaki and Hankengai of Japanese black pine

Color Important for Zoki

 There are many species in Zoki (deciduous trees) so there are also many ways of hachiawase. Compared with Shohaku, Zoki is common and popular among women and young people. They can enjoy it like fashion.

 The Yuyakumono pot is commonly used but you can pick with a free mind. The only thing you have to be careful is not to choose the same colored pot with needles.

 For the massive tree with a thick trunk, the deep rectangular and ellipse pots are good. For the delicate tree, the shallow ellipse pots are good.

 As with Zoki, trees with flowers and fruits are good to be planted in the pots whose colors are contrasting with the flowers and fruits. For example, the quiet colored pot is suitable for the trees having bright colored flowers and fruits like cherry blossom and Chinese quince. The contrast is one of the pleasures of hachiawase.
(By Shigeo Hano)

Japanese zelkova in unglazed pot (left) and glazed one
Japanese zelkova in unglazed pot (left) and glazed one

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