BONSAI WORLD A series of articles by The Shikoku Shimbun focuses on the attractions of bonsai which encapsulate small universes in containers.

Masterpieces in Kokubunji township
Dynamic kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) tree stands out

February 4, 2009

The 20th Green Festa Kokubunji bonsai fair was held at the Tachibana-no-oka sports park in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town from Oct. 26 to 28. Under the slogan ''Together with bonsai lovers'' masterpieces owned by amateur growers were put on display at the annual fair. Among them, three pieces that won top prizes this time are introduced here. Kiyoshi Hiramatsu, who chaired the fair's organizing committee, gave his comments on them.

Winner of education minister's prize

The kuromatsu tree that won the culture minister's prize. It is 48 centimeters high and about 55 years old. It is owned by Toyoyuki Hamabata from Takamatsu's Mure town.
The kuromatsu tree that won the culture minister's prize. It is 48 centimeters (18.9inches) high and about 55 years old. It is owned by Toyoyuki Hamabata from Takamatsu's Mure town.


This kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) tree is relatively young. Its ''nebari'' root spread is good and it stands up dynamically. Its trunk form clears the conditions for a good bonsai tree -- the tree has a thick root and tapers off toward the top. The No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 branches come out superbly. It is a promising kuromatsu tree.


It is well-potted, and attention has been paid even to minute details. The more the cultivator gives it care, the better it will be. As it is well qualified to be a bonsai tree, it should grow into a wonderful ''moyogi'' tree with pronounced bends and curves.

Winner of environment minister's prize

The kuromatsu tree that won the environment minister's prize. It is 46 centimeters high and about 80 years old. It is owned by Michiyo Yano from Onohara in the city of Kanonji, Kagawa Prefecture.
The kuromatsu tree that won the environment minister's prize. It is 46 centimeters (18.1inches) high and about 80 years old. It is owned by Michiyo Yano from Onohara in the city of Kanonji, Kagawa Prefecture.


This kuromatsu tree shows a natural style with its twisted root and trunk curves that are peculiar to trees picked from the wild. There are minute patterns on the No. 1 branch. In addition, the trunk curves toward the top are excellent. Trees picked from the wild grow very slowly. So I think this tree must have grown wild for a long time and has been cultivated in a container for at least 35 years.


It is interesting that this tree is an aged one but its leaves look fresh. An elegant ''nakaobi'' pot brings out the graceful figure of the tree. It is well-balanced as a whole as the ''seki kazari'' supporting plants and ground cover are properly arranged.


Winner of farm ministry agricultural production bureau head's prize

The ''shohin'' bonsai work that won the prize of the director general of the farm ministry's Agricultural Production Bureau. It is owned by Mitsuyuki Yamamoto from Shindencho in the city of Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture.
The ''shohin'' bonsai work that won the prize of the director general of the farm ministry's Agricultural Production Bureau. It is owned by Mitsuyuki Yamamoto from Shindencho in the city of Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture.


''Shohin'' small bonsai pieces are trendy because of their size. A piece about 15 centimeters (5.9inches) high is said to be an ideal ''shohin'' bonsai. Many products by Mitsuyuki Yamamoto are smaller than that. Of course, a piece that is smaller is much more difficult to cultivate.


The producer has maintained harmony by placing a dynamic, steady kuromatsu tree at the top and a shimpaku (Chinese juniper) tree of the varied semi-cascade style in front. The grower portrays the deepening autumn by placing leafy items in the upper stage and nutty ones in the lower stage. It is also notable that the pots and ornaments used are well suited for the trees.
 (By Shigeo Hano)

translated by Kyodo News

Comments(3)

Lindsay FarrSeptember 2, 2009 4:19 PM

I recently enjoyed a week in Kinashi. The plan was to spend 4 days in Kinashi then 3 in Kokubunji. The problem was that in seven days I didn't see all of Kinashi so never made it to Kokobunji.
I believe that this area is the most attractive bonsai adventure destination in the world.
Thanks for this information. I will visit again.

Red TruckDecember 23, 2009 12:22 AM

Culture's prize is relatively young at age 55. Now I could listen to that all day. Keep up the good work Mr. Farr! I enjor your films.

Truck

Mark and Ritta Cooper (UK)March 3, 2010 11:10 PM

As bonsai hobbyists, we have visited Kinashi many times over the last ten years. It is an amazing place to visit to see(and buy)great bonsai, but we have never visited Kokubunji.
We met Mr Koji Hiramatsu at Taikan-ten in November 2009 and were particularly impressed with his Shohin and Mame trees.
We hope to be able to visit Kokubunji in fall 2010.

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