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

Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine)(2)Beyond the century, Enjoy seeing the Penjing from Zashiki (Japanese style room)

March 1, 2010

It is not uncommon to find famous bonsai trees such as over 100 years old in the long-established bonsai garden. There are many bonsai fields like treasury.

The presence of bonsai garden with a history over 100 years

Katsuhiro Kitatani, 62 years old, is the forth owner of Kitatani Shokkoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town. The bonsai garden has been established for over 100 years and his son, Kazuki, 36 years old, works for internet selling as the fifth owner.

Katsuhiro Kitatani takes care of Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) at Kitatani Shokkoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town
Katsuhiro Kitatani takes care of Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) at Kitatani Shokkoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town

In his bonsai field, there are many 'Ginyatsufusa' Goyomatsu trees over 100 years old. They were grafted by the owner two generations ago and now the tree heights are over 1meter. It is considered the trees are the oldest grown in the field of Kinashi town. Kitatani smiled and said, "It was said that the trees were 100 years old when I had started working for bonsai about 30 or 40 years ago. I think the trees are about 150 years old actually."

He added "A person asked me to sell all pine trees in my field in the 1970s when bonsai was so popular among people, but I couldn't because I was attached to the trees. It is hard to transplant the tree from the field to pot and make bonsai because of the size. Sometimes I export some trees but it is too big to treat as bonsai in the house or the garden in Japan. I hope someone will grow it in one's field who can enjoy seeing the view of bonsai from Zashiki (Japanese style room) like Penjing.

Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) over 100 years ol
Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) over 100 years old

Can pine cones be medicine?

The small pine cones of Goyomatsu such as 10 centimeters in diameter were shipped out in the beginning of Heisei Period. At that time, people tended to like healthy foods and the dealer bought the pine cones from bonsai growers including him. "They said it would be raw material of gastrointestinal medicine. As everyone could make pocket money, adults and children gathered the pine cones up. It's good old memory.", Kitatani says.

People spent the extreme heat also in Kinashi town in the last summer. Usually pine trees in the field need less water than in the pot, but it is another matter if the law rainfall and extreme heat happen together. Many bonsai growers needed to spend much time to remove the old damaged needles of southern part in the sun.

Kitatani retrace the summer of half a year ago and said, "It was the first time for me to experience the sweltering heat and the trees in the mountain were damaged by the heat. For a while, the pine trees in my field also suffered damage. So I wondered if it would affect the value of commodity."
(By Shigeo Hano)
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