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

Japanese red pine (2) Sign to regain popularity; develop attraction with techniques

July 18, 2012

 In Meji and Taisho Period, Akamatsu (Japanese red pine) was popular. Over the years, the preference had changed to Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine), and then to Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine). However Akamatsu (Japanese red pine) regained the popularity with its feminine and elegant atmosphere about 25 years ago.

Graceful taste

 Kiyoshi Hiramatsu, who is the chairman of JA Kokubunji's bonsai affairs and the owner of Seijuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town, grows many masterpieces of Akamatsu which received various prizes.

Kiyoshi Hiramatsu is taking care of his Akamatsu in Seijuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubnji town.
Kiyoshi Hiramatsu is taking care of his Akamatsu in Seijuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubnji town.

 In the past, most Japanese-style restaurants used Akamatsu for its display. Some years later, people started to display bonsai on a table, and it made boom of Goyomatsum, Kuromatsu, and Nishikimatsu which was created in Kokubunji.

 Recently Kuromatsu becomes common in Japan and people come to appreciate the unique light atmosphere of Akamatsu. This trend is evident in Kyoto. The number of Akamatsu exhibits is increasing in Taikan-ten exhibition.

 Hiramatsu says, "The pure Akamatsu in the mountain has thin needles and trunk whose color is red. Bunjin (the tree having curved trunk and a few branches) and Shakan (slanting trunk) is the best for this tree, I think." The most unique and important point of the tree is its reddish bark. It takes many years to be darker.

Get the rarity value

 Akamatsu grows in the inland of Japan. It can easily have the artistic Jin (perished branches) and Shari (decayed trunks) growing in the severe environment such as rocky area with strong wind. It shows the life force to live even the branches are broken and bended by the wind and rain.

A masterpiece of Akamatsu which received various prizes
A masterpiece of Akamatsu which received various prizes

 Materials of pine trees in the mountains including Akamatsu are reaching a limit. Good trees and unique ones are dramatically decreasing. Growers have to cultivate trees by Misho (grown from seed) or Tsugiki (grown by grafting) from now on. But because of the decrease of materials, it is expected to get the rarity value.

 Hiramatsu's theory is "Bonsai is harmony of human and nature." Growers have to develop the attraction of the trees with their techniques. The best part of bonsai is to make the shape as natural as possible. So he tries to appreciate and learn the interesting shape of Akamatsu in mountains for his bonsai.
(By Shigeo Hano)

Comments(1)

bhavna shahJuly 21, 2012 2:25 AM

Thanks for sharing such information.

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