ARTISTS Here are the people who support the world's No. 1 bonsai culture in Takamatsu.

Kiyoshi Hiramatsu(Hiramatsu Seijuen bonsai garden)

March 15, 2009

 Kiyoshi Hiramatsu was born as the younger son of the then owner of the famous Hiramatsu Shunshoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji township. He devoted himself to baseball while he was a high school student. He decided to enter the bonsai business when he heard his father's last words urging him to ''Do bonsai together with your elder brother.'' It was just before Hiramatsu graduated from high school. He has since continued to follow his father's will for more than 40 years.

Hiramatsu poses in the bonsai garden.
Hiramatsu poses in the bonsai garden.

 He has worked on large kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) and akamatsu (Japanese red pine) trees, and won fame for his beautiful products and high-level technique.

 Hiramatsu has been awarded various prizes many times for his products which he submitted to local events, such as the Kokubunji bonsai festival and Green Festa Kokubunji bonsai fair. But he plans to put more focus on ''chuhin'' midsize and ''shohin'' small bonsai pieces. And he has lined up a number of such products of various species on the shelves at his garden, Hiramatsu Seijuen.

 Selling is not the only business for Hiramatsu. He also provides care services for customers on request in such fields as wiring and transplanting. Many customers entrust Hiramatsu to manage their pieces, and he often organizes bonsai lectures for bonsai lovers. He is certainly a dependable figure for bonsai fans.

Bonsai trees in pots on ''giboku'' concrete tree simulators in the garden's exhibition corner.
Bonsai trees in pots on ''giboku'' concrete tree simulators in the garden's exhibition corner.

 ''Fine and expensive bonsai products are great, of course. But it is important to select a good one within the limits of a budget,'' says Hiramatsu. ''On the part of producers, we need to offer products that can be used as casual interior accessories matching modern homes.''

 Hiramatsu feels the need to establish a production framework on the part of producers in order to boost bonsai culture. He shows flexibility, saying various types of bonsai gardens should flourish in the production area and should offer various types of bonsai products. He says some of them may be classic and others creating something new.

 Hiramatsu, who is genial and well-liked, once headed the bonsai department of the JA Kagawa agricultural co-operative's Kokubunji branch. ''Bonsai trees are something like children. They will respond properly if you grow them endearingly pot by pot,'' he says with a smile.


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