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

Feature of Home Kokubunji, Idea from Raise and Fall of Nishikimatsu

August 29, 2016

 Kokubunji is the largest pine producing area in Kagawa along with Kinashi. There are many bonsai gardens and fields around JA bonsai center and Kokubunji Hokubu elementary school along a prefectural road. The town is the birth place of Nishikimatsu (cork bark Japanese black pine). Because it gained the great popularity in Showa 40s, every field grew it and all bonsai growers profited by it.

Achievement of Old Mr. Kiichi Suezawa

 Around 1892, a person took a great Yamadori (trees from mountains) of Nishikimatsu to old Mr. Kiichi Suezawa. He bought and cultivated it, and two years later, he succeeded to grow it by Tsugiki which helped the mass production. Then he generously shows the technique of Tsugiki to people. So Nishikimatsu of Kokubunji became famous throughout Japan.
 In Showa 38s, a new variety of Nishikimatsu "Kyokko" was developed which has great split trunk. It became very popular and it was cultivated in all bonsai fields in Kokubunji. However, because of the falling in price due to overproduction, growers started to cultivate Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) and Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) instead of Nishikimatsu.
  Now only Masahiro Hashimoto, the 3rd generation of Senshoen bonsai garden, is the specialty grower in Kokubunji. He keeps the tradition while developing the new species.

Nishikimatsu "Akame Suehiro" about 90 years old / height about 90 centimeters/ Senshoen bonsai garden.jpgのサムネール画像
Nishikimatsu "Akame Suehiro" about 90 years old / height about 90 centimeters/ Senshoen bonsai garden

Only Bonsai Shrine in Japan

 As a feature, Kokubunji has only one bonsai shrine in Japan. It is located on a hill near the bonsai market. The God of bonsai are two enshrined deities: "Kukunochi kami" who is male presiding over trees and "Kayanuhime no kami" who is female presiding grasses and flowers. It was built in 1991 by bonsai growers in this region to pray for the success of bonsai culture there.
Original Bonsai Shrine in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town.jpgのサムネール画像
Original Bonsai Shrine in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town




 A stone monument for old Mr. Kiichi Suezawa was built in the precincts who is the father of Nishikimatsu and the great contributor of bonsai in Kokubunji. The inscription reads 'He devoted his life for Nishikimatsu and died at the age of 68 in 1931. Admire his great virtue, and transmit his achievements to posterity.'

Stone monument for old Mr. Kiichi Suezawa, father of Nishikimatsu.jpgのサムネール画像
Stone monument for old Mr. Kiichi Suezawa, father of Nishikimatsu
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