Japanese red pine (1) Attraction and character; special air by reddish bark and thin needles
June 6, 2012
While Japanese black pine is called "Omatsu" from its blown-black bark and strong shape, Japanese red pine is called "Mematsu" from its reddish bark and soft needles. It founds one of the bonsai fields with its light and fresh atmosphere and is popular among the people of taste.
Elegance like women
Fujiyoshi Kandaka, the third of Kandaka Shojuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town, grows Japanese red pines from mountains and islands. There is a famous tree whose age is about 150 years. Kandaka has been working for bonsai since he was in elementary school. For 60 years, he has seen the rise and fall of bonsai. "After the World War Ⅱ, Japanese black pine was popular but no one did so much as look at Japanese red pine. Once some growers pulled it out when they found in their fields. Even if they found the trees which had good shape in mountains and islands, they didn't get the Japanese red pine," he said.
Fujiyoshi Kandaka, taking care of masterpiece of Japanese red pine at Kandaka Shojuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town
In 1965, some growers and fanciers started taking note of Japanese red pine after decreasing of the good materials of Japanese black pine in mountains and islands. Compared with Japanese black pine which has a dignified appearance, Japanese red pine is elegance with its reddish bark and thin needles. It creates a special atmosphere of the tree when it is used make Bunjingi (tree having curved trunk and a few branches).
Judgment of trimming is important
Some years later, good Japanese red pines were pulled away from mountains and island, and there are few trees now. The trees in Shojuen bonsai garden grow at a good pace and gain the attraction. Kandaka says, "While Japanese red pine from mountains has a good atmosphere but it is difficult to trim the branches. It depends on the judgment of artist whether it will be good or not. In addition, the Jin, Shari and Magari which were created by wind and snow are beyond the man power. But we can enjoy the adaptation to a tree which other person failed." He also cultivates the tree by misho (trees grown from seed). It is difficult to get the atmosphere like Yamadori (collection from mountain), but he tries to make it natural by creating Shari and so on.
Japanese red pine from an island of Seto Inland Sea
In Kandaka Shojuen bonsai garden, there is a place for masterpieces named "Zuiho-den". The red pine of the picture below was just put in a pot, so it needs a long time to be one of the masterpieces. He says, "Some trees have good possibilities enough to be displayed here." about his dream.
（By Shigeo Hano）