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

Tree's Shape(4)Yoseue and Ishitsuki: Individuality Come from Harmony

October 9, 2012

 A tree without character can be better if it is planted as Yoseue (group planting). The attraction of Ishitsuki (rock-grown style) is a harmony between a tree and a rock rather than a pot. Both shapes have own individuality.

Express Landscape of Forests and Groves

 Yoseue plants a main tree and other trees in a pot. It expresses the landscape of forests and groves. Bonsai artists use not only pine trees but also deciduous trees like maple and zelkova, and wild grasses and trees.

 Thin pots are used for Yoseue. The point is the balance of trees and the arrangement having a sense of depth. We can feel the atmosphere of deep mountains and dark valleys from Yoseue of Yezo spruce, that of groves in hillside from Yoseue of deciduous trees, and the light and elegant taste from Yoseue of wild grasses and trees.

 Kazuki Kitadani, Kitadani Shokkoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town, grows a Yoseue of Yezo spruce. He says about the attraction of Yoseue, "I had bought a Yoseue with 9 trees in Izumo and recreated it with 6 trees. This work will be near completion with a change of pot whose dirt color is austerely elegant. I think it expresses the hardness of natural environment and coldness in north part of Japan very well."

Yoseue of Yezo spruce having the atmosphere of deep mountains at Kitadani Shokkoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town
Yoseue of Yezo spruce having the atmosphere of deep mountains at Kitadani Shokkoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town

View of Nature with Tree and Rock

 Ishitsuki expresses a landscape of nature with a combination of trees and rocks. Masterpieces need to have a good harmony of the beauty of rocks, energy of trees, and taste of roots.

 There are 2 ways of appreciating of Ishitsuki; using a Suiban (a shallow ceramic basin or tray filled with sand) and using a pot. The former features the rock and expresses the magnificent landscape. In comparison, the latter is arranged the rock to intertwine with the tree's roots.

 Takahito Hanazawa, Hanazawa Myoshun-en bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town, grows an Ishitsuki of Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) from Awaji Island. It is about 50 years old and has grown as Ishitsuki for over 10 years.

Ishitsuki having a good harmony with the rock and tree at Hanazawa Myoshun-en bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town
Ishitsuki having a good harmony with the rock and tree at Hanazawa Myoshun-en bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town

 He says, "This tree has a good character even in a pot. But it got a nicer shape with Ryugan rock from Ibi River in Gifu prefecture and wiring. This work will be near completion with the growth of moss of dirt around the roots with the years."
(By Shigeo Hano)
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