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 (3) Yamadori: Get unique atmosphere in wind and snow

August 4, 2012

 The natural Akamatsu trees (Japanese red pine) seemed to be picked out from mountains and now people don't go there to find good pine trees. The number of Akamatsu of Yamadori (collection from mountains) is decreased on shelves in bonsai gardens so the trees become valuable.

Care natural Akamatsu

 Isao Sasaki, second owner of Aishoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town, is one of them. "Now I have no good Akamatsu for your interview," he said with a wry smile.

Isao Sasaki, taking care of Akamatsu, Aishoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokjubunji town
Isao Sasaki, taking care of Akamatsu, Aishoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokjubunji town

 But, in his bonsai shelves, there is Akamatsu of Yamadori which has been planted in a pot for 5 years. The height is about 80 centimeters. It has natural charm and the trunk shows a glimpse of unique redness of Akamatsu. This is one of the precious trees for him.

 He smiled and said, "Akamatsu from mountains has the age and it's a big difference from Misho (trees grown from seed). Natural trees grow in strong wind and snow, so they have unique atmosphere. For the trees, bunjin is the best."

Akamatsu of Yamadori
Akamatsu of Yamadori

Treasure for creation

 He has over 50 years' experience as a bonsai grower after graduation from high school. His father, Akiyoshi, died when he was third year of junior high school. So he couldn't learn from his father and studied everything by himself. He says, "I loved bonsai, so I could. The feeling for bonsai is unchanged even today." Now he mainly creates Shohin bonsai of Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine).

 He has been received a high evaluation in creation field since he was young. Once he developed new type of Nishikimatsu (cork bark Japanese black pine). In his garden, we found some certificate of commendation of gold, silver and creation award.

 His treasure is a photo album of the 1st Kokufu-ten bonsai exhibition held in Tokyo in 1934, a year before the birth of him. He got it in a secondhand book fair in Takamatsu in the Showa 30s (1955-1964). It is the best source of his creations.

Photo album of the 1st Kokufu-ten bonsai exhibition
Photo album of the 1st Kokufu-ten bonsai exhibitioni
(By Shigeo Hano)
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