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Species (1) Various Pine: Takamatsu Has 80% Market Share in Japan

November 15, 2013

 This bonsai series started from October in 2007. Recently some people requested us to introduce the basic knowledge and how to care. So we start the articles for beginners from this time to review the important points and enjoy bonsai.

Kuromatsu of Sea, Akamatsu of Land

 There are two main species in bonsai: Shohaku and Zoki (deciduous trees). Shohaku means pines and Chinese junipers. Kinashi and Kokubunji town of Takamatsu are the biggest bonsai-producing area, occupying about 80 percent of Japan's pine bonsai market. Pine is called "bonsai's king". The main kinds are Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine), Akamatsu (Japanese red pine), and Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine). Nishikimatsu (cork bark Japanese black pine) is the variant species of Kuromatsu.

 Kuromatsu has a thick trunk and a black brown bark. We feel the inaccessible air from the magnificent appearance and the elegance. There are many old masterpieces with great splits on those trunk surfaces. Kuromatsu grows everywhere including public places such as shrines, scenic spots, and coastline so it matches Japanese scenery. You can see a beautiful pine forest in various places.

Kuromatsu has a magnificent appearance as "King".
Kuromatsu has a magnificent appearance as "King".

Akamatsu grows in the inland area and is called "Mematsu" from its reddish bark and soft needles. It was more popular than Kuromatsu in Meji period. The light and fresh atmosphere has been popular among the people of taste. Especially Bunjingi (tree having curved trunk and a few branches) of Akamatsu creates a special atmosphere.

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Light and elegant atmosphere of Akamatsu

Nishikimatsu Born in Kokubunji

 Goyomatsu has the unique and beautiful five needles. It is easy to cultivate and make the various shapes. So, after first wiring, it just needs the arrangement of thin branches and the cutting for keeping the shape. Ginyatsufusa is the most common in Kagawa.

Silver needles of Ginyatsufusa
Silver needles of Ginyatsufusa


 Kokubunji area is the birthplace of Nishikimatsu which Kiichi Suezawa was successful in grafting and mass produce in the middle of the Meiji period. It has own attractiveness such as the beautifully split trunks and the air like ancient tree. However it had been popular in 40s of Showa period, the number of cultivation was decreased shapely because of the excess of production. Now artists in Kokubunji sell the new variety named "Yumenishiki" whose hight is about 15 centimeters. A cenotaph commemorating Suezawa is erected in the grounds of the Bonsai Shrine in Kokubunji.


Beautifully Split Trunk of Nishikimatsu
Beautifully Split Trunk of Nishikimatsu
(By Shigeo Hano)

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