2015 Autumn Japan Bonsai Exploration– Part 5

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Genko Kai Exhibition

On November 21-22, 2015 S-Cube sponsored and produced a special exhibition for the Genko-Kai, a small group of bonsai collectors with high quality bonsai and suiseki. Held in the Hoshu-In Buddhist temple, established in 1608, the complex is normally not open to visitors. This temple is in the Daitoku-Ji complex of numerous smaller temples of the Rinzai School of Japanese Zen including the popular Daisen-In on many garden tours.

The Genko-Kai is headed by Seiji Morimae comprised of his clients who want to share the beautiful bonsai and suiseki collections. He has superb taste in bonsai, suiseki and display.

Seiji Morimae designed the displays in the individual 11 rooms of the temple, each holding one to several bonsai or suiseki. Along with the help of his S-Cube staff Mr. Morimae presented an excellent selection of bonsai and suseki. They all suggest seasonality.

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Upon entering Hoshu-In a dramatic dry landscape sits in front of the main building with several smaller rooms, each tastefully arranged with bonsai and suiseki. The suggested route is to go around to the other side which is flanked by a pond and tall building which I forgot to photograph. I was preoccupied by absorbing the beauty and design of the garden.

 

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I was truly touched with this entire exhibition and the atmosphere of the presentation. Not too many exhibitions do that for me. That’s why when I returned to my hotel room I discovered many of my favorite trees were not photographed because I was studying them and how they were presented. That does not happen to often to me.

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Even though the lighting was dim, each tree and stone could be clearly seen, studied and appreciated. The low light, in good taste was not conducive for photographing, especially since it was necessary to sit on the floor for each display, not good for my knees. But, it is important to realize the purpose of this exhibition was not to take good photos in sufficient light, but rather to move your soul while appreciating bonsai and suiseki from private collections which are never or rarely displayed.

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Throughout Japan the best bonsai belong to private collectors who are clients of the bonsai artists. These trees are usually NOT part of the individual bonsai artist’s collections. When seen in bonsai gardens, foreigners normally assume all the trees belong to the bonsai artist. However most of the trees are simply boarded there for proper care, maintenance or for sale by clients.

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Mr. Morimae’s lovely daughter Yukiko served tea in one of the tea room which also displayed a beautiful Persimmon bonsai while visitors marveled at the simple display.

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In a separate building S-Cube set up a private sales area, also in good taste. Old famous containers and bonsai were offered for sale. I even saw a registered “Important Bonsai Masterpiece” Sargents juniper for sale. But, Mr. Morimae also included many affordable display tables and containers which friends purchased.

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Mr. Morimae also featured two Japanese five-needle pine bonsai from the Daizo Iwasaki Collection for sale, complete with certificate of provenence. Each tree and container for sale was labeled, but the label had to be turned over for pricing.

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There was one bonsai I wanted to buy, but could not get it into the country, or afford it either. It was only US $800,000.00, got to get all those zeros in. I even noticed and photographed this tree at S-cube last week. It was grown from a collected seedling by Mr. Koizumi for over 50 years. He is the manufacturer of Green King bonsai fertilizer.

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The Genko Kai Exhibition was a moving experience personally for me which featured stellar masterpiece bonsai and suiseki. I appreciate Mr. Morimae’s hard work, taste and desire to share the beauty of his client’s trees and stones. It’s important to realize ALL these items must be packed up and trucked back to Hanyu by his friendly and hard working staff. Even his wife and daughter were there to host and help when needed.

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