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

Review of ASPAC (2): Bonsai to export supported by local people

January 24, 2012

The 11th Asia-Pacific Bonsai and Suiseki Convention & Exibition (ASPAC) was held from November 18 to 21 in Takamatsu. Over 76,000 people came to enjoy bonsai, which was a two-and-half time more than the committee had anticipated. There were some difficulties before ASAPC Takamatsu such as the Tohoku Earthquake, accident at a nuclear power plant, and the sudden passing of the Honorary Chairman of ASPAC Takamatsu, Mr. Daizo Iwasaki. We interviewed Yukihiko Konishi, Chairman of ASPAC Takamatsu, about the factors of success and future subjects.(By Shigeo Hano)

One of the sites of ASPAC,
One of the sites of ASPAC, "Decks Galleria," in Sunport was crowded with many fanciers.

―What is the factor of success?
 I think the events were good. We had some bonsai masters' demonstration and exhibition of bonsai masterpieces such as trees from Imperial Palace and ones given the Kokufu award. These were incredible. An exhibition of Mr. Iwasaki's bonsai with Ms. Shoko Kanazawa's calligraphy in Ritsurin garden was also received much attention.

―What were the results of this convention?
 We could provide a good opportunity for many people to know Takamatsu, home of bonsai. Actually, many fanciers visited the bonsai production area. I hope they also enjoyed the hospitality.

―Do you have any reflection?
 A few people said there were too many events to attend all program. For example, a demonstration and Shoko Kanazawa's calligraphy show was arranged at the same time. However I think visitors could enjoy some events even if they don't know bonsai and suiseki.

Some bonsai masters like Masahiko Kimura (right) show their great technique in demonstrations
Some bonsai masters like Masahiko Kimura (right) show their great technique in demonstrations

―You played an important role as Chairman. How do you feel now?
 I'm relieved that ASPAC finished with no big problems. We owe our success to many supports from Kagawa prefecture, Takamatsu city, some companies, and volunteers. Their support is necessary for bonsai as one of the local industries. I was surprised many volunteers from Kagawa were very talented. I respect them.

Yukihiko Konishi, Chairman of ASAPC Takamatsu
Yukihiko Konishi, Chairman of ASAPC Takamatsu

―What is the future subject?
 Many people came to buy bonsai trees during ASPAC so we understand it has a potential demand. This is a great step to show the quality of Japanese bonsai to the world. I hope Takamatsu will be a very large exporter of bonsai in the future. On the other hand, we need to develop new sellable bonsai and train successors.
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