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

Preparation for export; Show technique and heart to world

February 20, 2012

 Many bonsai fanciers attended the Asia-Pacific Bonsai and Suiseki Convention & Exhibition in Takamatsu in 2011 and it proves the bonsai popularity in foreign countries. Hiroyoshi Yamaji of Yamaji Sanshoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubuji town has been working on export for more than 30 years. Soon after the start of the new year, he is busy for preparing an export.

Yamaji, washing the roots of Azalea at Takamatsu's Kokubunji town
Yamaji, washing the roots of Azalea at Takamatsu's Kokubunji town

Winter is the best season

 To export bonsai trees to the United States and Asia, it is necessary to remove soils around roots. Winter is the best season to wash it out when the trees are inactive. After getting orders, he takes a tree from a pot and removes the soils with an awl. In addition, he uses power sprayers to wash the soils away completely with high-pressure water.

 Bonsai is a living plant so they have to complete each step for export smoothly. After being quarantined, the tree without soils will be protected by a cover of bog moss. Then common carrier will help to transport it to an airport. They keep close contact with consignee overseas and it makes possible to plant a tree rapidly in the field.

Azalea trees which was washed soils away
Azalea trees which was washed soils away

 People say the trees which Yamaji exported have a high rate of rooting. "The important point is to protect the young roots from damage carefully. Deciduous trees such as azalea and Japanese wisteria is strong without soils, but pine trees are sensitive because the roots are small in number. So we have to be careful to export it," he said.

Teach bonsai to ALTs

 Yamaji has many friends overseas through long experience in export. In a variety of situations of ASPAC Takamatsu, he played an important role with his good English. Many people from other countries visit his Sanshoen bonsai garden.

Yamaji played an important role during ASPAC Takamatsu (second from left)
Yamaji played an important role during ASPAC Takamatsu (second from left)

 He will teach bonsai as an experience of Japanese culture to over 30 assistant language teachers (ALT) at I-Pal Kagawa on the afternoon of January 18.

 He says, "By the influence of ASPAC, bonsai becomes more popular in other countries. I will tell ALTs about the history of Takamatsu as the Japan's largest producing area of pine trees and offer the experience of wiring of Japanese white pine. They will play an active role in their countries in the future. I hope them to introduce the attraction of Takamatsu and pine trees to the people in their countries."
(By Shigeo Hano)
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