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

Adaptation of Shohin(1)Kuromatsu: Get New Atmosphere and Attraction

December 3, 2012

 Adaptation such as wiring, carving, and changing a pot is the big appeal for bonsai artists. Koji Hiramatsu, Shunshoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town, showed us the adaptation of Shohin whose height is less than 20 centimeters. Hiramatsu is the only director of All Japan Shohin Bonsai Association in Shikoku.

Once in 4 to 5 years

 Artists adapt trees once in 4 to 5 years. The main purpose of it is to maintain a good size and to receive the sunlight by cutting the branches.

 This time he adapted a Misho (grown from seed) Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) which is about 40 years old. A long time has passed since the last adaptation. The tree's branches and needles were too long and the balance with trunk was bad. He felt the branch on the left is too big against the trunk on the right.

Before adaptation (left) and after adaptation
Before adaptation (left) and after adaptation

 He cut the long branch and it allowed the trunk to be seen. He also showed us the technique to make Jin with the cut branch by knuckle cutters and chisels.

Hiramatsu is making Jin with the cut branch by chisels.
Hiramatsu is making Jin with the cut branch by chisels.

Attention to Pot and Angle

 It is easy to wire after cutting the old and long branches. To pick out the needles makes possible to wire to apex of buds. So he does the drastic adaptation. It is clear that the adaptation which changes the tree's shape by cutting and wiring is the best part of bonsai work.

 After these works, they sometimes change the pot and the angle of trees. It is also important to select a pot to fit a tree. This time Hiramatsu changed the oblong pot to elliptical one for emphasizing the soft image.

 He says, "To select a pot is a part of adaptation. It changes the image of trees. The key is to use a small pot. The branch will run off the edge of the pot and it gives a firm impression."

 After a while, the tree will fit the pot and get more attraction.
(By Shigeo Hano)
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