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

Masterful technique: Know "Eyes, skill and care"

February 25, 2012

 Hiramatsu Kiyoshi of Sejuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town is one of the famous bonsai artists of Kagawa. Some of his works won a number of awards. Giving pertinent advice to fanciers, he also tries to create some high-quality bonsai. I interviewed him about his view of bonsai.

Point of cultivation

 There are some important points about bonsai for Hiramatsu: eyes to find good materials, branches for unique shape, and daily care.

 He thinks it is necessary to work on bonsai with these points on the basis of good tree's conditions like Nebari (condition of roots visible out of the surface of dirt), Mikimoyo (trunk pattern), Edatsuki (branch's position and direction), condition of needles, and the air like ancient tree.

 In fact, Hiramatsu took care of the Japanese black pine tree which received the ASPAC Takamatsu Honorary President Award, the highest among the trees of Kagawa.

The Japanese black pine which received the ASPAC Takamatsu Honorary President Award
The Japanese black pine which received the ASPAC Takamatsu Honorary President Award

 This tree also received the highest award of Green Festa Kokubunji in 2003. "Although it has been 8 years since the tree got the award, it still gains the character with its good Nebari (condition of roots visible out of the surface of dirt), the lowest part's Mikimoyo (trunk pattern), atmosphere of great tree, and unique good condition of Japanese black pine. That's the result of Mr. Yano's daily care," he said.

Yano and Hiramatsu are delighted about the award in ASPAC Takamatsu on November 21, 2011.
Yano and Hiramatsu are delighted about the award in ASPAC Takamatsu on November 21, 2011.

Attraction of wiring

 The most famous technique of bonsai is wiring. Hiramatsu is well-known as a master of wiring. About difficulty and attraction, he said, "Wiring is difficult but the most challenging work. We can't wire trees measuring with ruler and it is necessary to have own sensitivity. So there are great differences between individuals. I notice the artist who creates the bonsai when I look at a tree."

Hiramatsu, wiring the Japanese black pine at Seijuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town
Hiramatsu, wiring the Japanese black pine at Seijuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town.

 For pine trees, there are many works to do throughout the year as Mekiri (buds trimming), Mekagi (buds picking), Furubatori (picking out the old leaves), Hasukashi (thinning out the needles), and transplanting. If you do these works carefully, the work of wiring becomes effective and the tree gets more attraction after each wiring. The most important thing for bonsai is the ancient look. In addition, he told us about the professional secret to create better tree, "It is also important to cultivate trees having good Nebari (condition of roots visible out of the surface of dirt) in the field."
(By Shigeo Hano)
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