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

Takahito Hanazawa(Hanazawa Myoshun-en bonsai garden)

March 15, 2009

 Takahito Hanazawa, the third owner of the Hanazawa Myoshun-en bonsai garden, was born Sept. 30, 1956, the day when the Kinashi township became part of the city of Takamatsu. Earlier, the Kinashi area was part of Kamisakai village, which was incorporated into Takamatsu that day. As the bonsai boom was at a peak at that time, he was confident he would succeed to the family business.


 He studied at Kagawa Prefectural College of Agriculture and then at a junior college. After graduating from the junior college, Hanazawa continued studies by himself. When he was in his 30s, he attended large exhibitions, such as the Taikan-ten bonsai exhibition, and became aware of how high the national level of Japan's bonsai arts was. ''I was like a big fish in a small pond and was ignorant of the world,'' says Hanazawa. ''I was determined to become a first-class artist and producer.''

Garden owner Hanazawa poses with a fukujuso (Far East Amur adnis) in a small pot in his hand.
Garden owner Hanazawa poses with a fukujuso (Far East Amur adnis) in a small pot in his hand.

 He later paid a round of visits to various bonsai gardens across Japan to deepen his understanding of bonsai techniques and develop business know-how. Hanazawa says he was in his 40s when he finally found his goal. A bonsai garden is a place to see, touch and obtain products. He reached the conclusion that what is essential is to improve the stage management of a garden and to offer better services for visitors in order to become a first-class artist and producer. He did everything to better display bonsai shelves, established a reception room, and tried to make his garden into a good sales outlet.

 Fortunately, Takamatsu's Kinashi and Kokubunji areas both have a long history as a production center of high-quality bonsai materials. Producers there have the potential to become top class. ''We have a large field that could produce plants to fully meet demand. In addition, there are a number of skilled bonsai artists,'' says Hanazawa. ''What is my goal and what are my products? The coming 10 years will decide the course.'' He attaches importance to marketing in order to offer products attractive to many people.

A goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) bonsai in a container. It is 62 centimeters (24.4inches) high and more than 100 years old.
A goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) bonsai in a container. It is 62 centimeters (24.4inches) high and more than 100 years old.

 For the past seven years Hanazawa has been focusing on wild grasses and trees which are becoming popular. Wild materials are attractive because of their natural feel. They are different from ''shohaku'' pine trees which have to be minutely handcrafted. ''Bonsai is an activity intended to recreate nature in a container and to celebrate the season in a room,'' says Hanazawa. ''Bonsai culture could develop further if we can increase the number of bonsai fans who enjoy bonsai in a casual way.''

translated by Kyodo News

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