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

Kunihiro Kandaka
(Kandaka Fukushoen bonsai garden)

January 15, 2010

Kunihiro Kandaka is the second owner of Kandaka Fukushoen bonsai garden. He is widely respected for his gentle personality and high-level bonsai technique. He has served as head of Kagawa Prefecture's Kinashi Garden Planta and Bonsai Center, an agricultural union corporation, since 2004. Kandaka is known as a leader of the bonsai industry in Takamatsu's Kinashi area, a major bonsai production center.


A bonsai lover from his childhood, Kandaka helped his father in his bonsai work and joined a bonsai club in senior high school. He began serving as a corporate worker in Osaka at 18. But he returned home at 24 because of his love for bonsai work. A nationwide bonsai boom was raging at that time. A large number of bonsai fans rushed every day to the two bonsai production centers of Kinashi and Kokubunji in Takamatsu to hunt for bargains. Many buyers with truckloads of matsu pine bonsai trees could be seen at that time.

Kunihiro Kandaka smiles in front of bonsai shelves at his garden.
Kunihiro Kandaka smiles in front of bonsai shelves at his garden.

Kandaka, who trained himself amid the bonsai boom, currently produces a variety of products ranging from small shohin pieces to large ones, mainly of kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) trees. He is active in cultivating ''yumenishiki,'' a variety of nishikimatsu (Japanese brocade pine). ''I hope to produce more unique bonsai,'' a smiling Kandaka says. As a veteran bonsai artist, Kandaka exhibits an attention to minute details. For example, he uses the sashiki growing-from-cuttings technique to produce shohin small bonsai pieces in pursuit of their natural beauty. Bonsai trees in pots fully cared for by Kandaka with his superb techniques can be seen in reception rooms at local government offices.


A 200-year-old kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) tree in a pot. It measures about 125 centimeters in height and about 250 cm in width.
A 200-year-old kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) tree in a pot. It measures about 125 centimeters in height and about 250 cm in width.

''Kinashi and Kokubunji are bonsai production centers with a firm foundation and history,'' Kandaka says. ''It is our important duty to hand on the local traditional industry to the next generation.'' He has been giving bonsai lessons to children at a local elementary school for 10 years. Kandaka says, ''Now, mass-produced bonsai at low cost sell well. I feel it is difficult to convey the value and charm of time-consuming, handcrafted products. I would like to continue public relations and promotional activities to provide more understanding of the bonsai world that will calm people's minds.''

==Kyodo

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