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

'Shohaku,' 'zoki' bonsai encapsulate small universe in containers

February 4, 2009

The city of Takamatsu, capital of Kagawa Prefecture on Japan's smallest main island of Shikoku, is known as a major production center of bonsai trees.

The city's Kinashi and Kokubunji areas account for about 80 percent of matsu (pine) bonsai produced throughout Japan.

A vast tract of bonsai fields covers the foothills of the Goshikidai plateau, a scenic spot in the center of Kagawa Prefecture, where bonsai-growing farmers set a large number of bonsai containers and pots in their gardens.

This reporter will discuss, in a series of articles, the current state and problems involving bonsai in an effort to spread knowledge about bonsai, which are the specialty of Kagawa Prefecture.

 Bonsai trees in containers on shelves at Kandaka Shojuen bonsai center in the Kinashi area in the city of Takamatsu
Bonsai trees in containers on shelves at Kandaka Shojuen bonsai center in the Kinashi area in the city of Takamatsu

Bonsai can be classified broadly into two categories -- ''shohaku'' and ''zoki'' -- the former referring to matsu (pine tree) and shimpaku (Sargent's Juniper).


There are three species of matsu, which is called the ''king of bonsai.'' They are kuromatsu (Japanese black pine), akamatsu (Japanese red pine) and goyomatsu (Japanese white pine).


In addition, there is a kuromatsu variety called nishikimatsu (Japanese brocade pine) whose birthplace is said to be the Kokubunji area of Takamatsu. Its bark is thick and like a tortoise shell in appearance.


Kuromatsu offers a dynamic and masculine image while akamatsu has a delicate and feminine one. Goyomatsu, whose leaves are shorter than other species of matsu, is particularly suited for bonsai.


Shimpaku grows into a giant tree as does matsu if it is grown in a natural environment.


Japan's biggest shimpaku tree stands in the grounds of the Hoshoin temple in the town of Tonosho, Kagawa Prefecture, on Shodoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. It measures as high as 20 meters and is designated a natural treasure.


The true value of the Hoshoin temple's shimpaku tree can be found in its ''sharikan'' skeletonized trunk -- a kind of natural figurative art.


Zoki provide bonsai lovers with a sense of season, flowers and fruits, in sharp contrast to shohaku which tend to lack the sense of color. Zoki bonsai offer the major attraction of the plants' figurative changes in accordance with the progress of the seasons.


Zoki bonsai have drawn popularity even from among the young generation as it can be easily enjoyed even indoors. The number of plant species suitable for zoki bonsai is unlimited.


Visitors to the Kokubunji bonsai exhibition in Takamatsu held Sept. 15-16 could see more than 40 species of zoki bonsai trees, which included such new entries as lemon, kuwa (Morus) and ichijiku (Fig tree). Standard zoki bonsai trees like momiji (Japanese maple), keyaki (Japanese zelkova) and kaede (Japanese maple) were on display, of course.

 A kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) tree in a container at Shunshoen bonsai outlet in the Kokubunji area in the city of Takamatsu
A kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) tree in a container at Shunshoen bonsai outlet in the Kokubunji area in the city of Takamatsu

Zoki bonsai can be classified into more detailed categories -- flowers such as sarusuberi (Lagerstroemia indica) and fuji (Wisteria), fruits like pyracantha and karin (Pseudocydonia), and grasses including wild ones.

Kiyoshi Hiramatsu, head of the bonsai department of the JA Kagawa agricultural co-op's Kokubunji branch, says, ''Basically, any wild tree in the mountains and fields can be grown as bonsai trees if its aptitude is fully exploited.''


In any case, bonsai begin with the planting of the tree in a container, and if young people reflect their sensitivity in growing bonsai, they could attract a lot of attraction.

(By Shigeo Hano)

translated by Kyodo News

Comments(2)

asif mehmoodJanuary 26, 2013 12:50 AM

why i am buy a tree
answer me plz plz

asif mehmoodJanuary 26, 2013 1:43 AM

i am buy a tree can i
hyanswer me plz plz

Add your comments

Name

URL

Comments

Trackback(0)

Trackback URL

SITE SEARCH

LATEST ITEMS

ARCHIVE

KEYWORDS

LATEST COMMENTS