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

Fumio Ideue(Ideue Kikkoen bonsai garden)

January 15, 2010

''I will never put my products on the market if they are poorly finished,'' says Fumio Ideue, owner of Ideue Kikkoen bonsai garden. Ideue excels in shaping trees with the hariganekake wiring technique and he continues sticking to his own style of bonsai work.


Fumio Ideue with an apron smiles with his products behind.
Fumio Ideue with an apron smiles with his products behind.

Ideue has had a 40-year career as a bonsai artist. He began to study bonsai in a full-fledged manner after he started lending a hand to his father who operated a bonsai garden while working at a business corporation. ''As long as I am a bonsai artist, I decided to aim at attaining at least the standard level. I have learned a lot of lessons from many elders and seniors,'' Ideue says. ''When a bonsai boom heated up, I found it difficult to acquire high-quality bonsai materials. I thought I would be unable to compete with rivals if I am doing the same thing as others. And I have pursued my own style of bonsai work all the way up to the present.'' Ideue also says, ''I might have opted to follow a thorny path. But I think I am finally achieving the results at last.''

Ideue will not crisscross wires to shape a bonsai tree. He applies fertilizer in fall, not in spring as usual. He also reduces the frequency of watering and transplanting as much as possible. These are part of Ideue's original style of bonsai work devised from his long years of experience. Ideue shapes a bonsai tree by wiring after transplanting it to a pot. He creates a superb sense of balance in a simple figurative art. Ideue calls it ''a balance amid disbalance.'' Bonsai trees on the shelves at his garden are all shaped by himself.

Bonsai trees fill shelves at Ideue Kikkoen garden.
Bonsai trees fill shelves at Ideue Kikkoen garden.

Ideue on puts his final touches just before handing his products to buyers, demonstrating his technique to customers. ''There is no need for a professional to hide his technique,'' Ideue says. ''We have experienced a bonsai boom once. From now, professionals are required to compete with each other, improve their techniques, and to establish something new that is different from the past.'' Ideue also says, ''I think the needs of the time have changed from bonsai trees of mass production and mass consumption to those of high quality and high prices. I would like to maintain and pass on to the next generation the essence of bonsai art and also to contribute to development of the local specialty goods of bonsai.''

==Kyodo

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