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

Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine)(4)New variety 'Kotobuki,' Popular by its beauty form

July 7, 2010

 'Kotobuki' is a new variety of Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine). It is said that Nakanishi Teruaki, 67 years old, the third owner of Nakanishi Chinshoen Bonsai Garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town, is the father of it. In the 25th Kinashi Bonsai-Gardening Festival this year, Nakanishi exhibited his Kotobuki over 50 years old and visitors paid much attention to it.


Nakanishi Teruaki and his Kotobuki which was shown to the His Majesty the Emperor
Nakanishi Teruaki and his Kotobuki which was shown to the His Majesty the Emperor in Nakanishi Chinshoen Bonsai Garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town

Luck from Kinashi

 The mother tree of Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) called Kotobuki was found in a mountain in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town in 1970s. Nakanishi was attracted the goodness of its condition and tried to graft using its bud. Then the grafted bud grows into good seedling and he and his companies named it 'Kotobuki' which means the luck. There was a bonsai boom in those days and the new variety 'Kotobuki' gained popularity. Its seedling was shipped from Kinashi to distant place as Kanto region.

 However the boom was over after a while, it keeps the calm popularity by its beauty form.

Characteristic short needles

The most characteristic part is its short needles. The standard length of it is 1.5 centimeters, which is less than half of that of other Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine). In addition, the needles glow closely and straight and get to be dark green. These are considered as ideals of pine trees so Kotobuki is an excellent variety having all these characters.

Misho (trees grown from seed) doesn't work for Kotobuki. However it is grown by Tsugiki (grafting), it takes about 10 years to be good shape because it grows slowly. By transplanting every 4 or 5 years, the tree is improved the positions of branches and Nebari (condition of roots of a tree visible out of the surface of dirt). It also needs much watering and fertilization, Mekiri (bud trimming) in June, and Hasukashi (thinning out the needles from the leafy part by tweezers) in winter so growers have to spend much time for it.

 Regarding the attractiveness of Kotobuki, Nakanishi says, 'It's delightful to see that the tree form and condition can be improved by the care.'

The character of Kotobuki is its short needles.
The character of Kotobuki is its short needles.

Shown to His Majesty the Emperor

 There is a Kotobuki in Nakanishi Chinshoen Bonsai Garden shown to His Majesty the Emperor when he took a rest in Ritsurin Garden during his stay in Kagawa for National Sports Festival in Eastern Shikoku in October, 1993. This is an old tree which is said the mother part is 250 years old.

Nakanishi grows this memorable Kotobuki with utmost care. It has been 14 years since his Majesty the Emperor saw his Kotobuki and it adds to the charm with his effort.
(By Shigeo Hano)

Comments(1)

Shane hill August 13, 2011 1:03 AM

Hello I am interested in importing black and white pine seeds of all different variety in to the uk can anyone help me please.

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