Last week I saw a familiar Tohoku Sargent juniper at Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Garden in Tokyo. I know I have an older photo, but can’t easily find it now. But, even better I found two old photos of the bonsai in my reference library. There are two very similar Tohoku Sargent junipers in his collection. As mentioned in my blog, these two specimens have coarse foliage because they are from the Northern Tokohu region. The foliage looks like Prostrata junipers common in California for landscape use and bonsai training. Since Sargent junipers from this region have coarse foliage larger size bonsai are usually seen, not smaller size because the foliage would not be in scale. This also applies to other species such as San Jose junipers, which are best trained into large size bonsai. Smaller size Sargent juniper bonsai are often trained with Itoigawa Sargent junipers which have a finer texture and are brighter green. This variety is highly prized for bonsai training and many of the beautiful Sargent juniper bonsai in Japan have been completely reworked. All branches have been grafted on to old, and old appearing, trunks, of course in the exact desired position.
This photo of the Tohoku Sargent juniper bonsai was taken in 2010 when Seiji Morimae offered it for sale in his S-Cube WABI catalog No. 17. The asking price at that time was ¥10,000,000 which is approximately just under $100,000.
This photo of the Tohoku Sargent juniper was taken in 1968 from an old bonsai & Suiseki exhibition catalog honoring Shigeru Yoshida who was a former Prime Minister and first president of the Nippon Bonsai Association. He had an excellent bonsai collection which was cared for by one of the teachers I apprenticed with, Kyuzo Murata, Kyuka-en Bonsai Garden in Omiya