2016 Autumn Japan Bonsai Exploration– Part 5


Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition– Part 2

The exhibition opened this morning after the ribbon cutting ceremony. Initially the show was packed, and then slowed down as the day went on, like me. Yesterday I walked (hobbled with cane actually) 2.9 miles photographing and watching (learning) during the judging.




There were a large number of foreign visitors today from Germany, France, England, Italy and Canada too! Jerry Rainville studied bonsai with Hiroyoshi Yamaji about 40 years ago. I remember meeting this giant of man when Chase Rosade and Lynn Porter visited Shikoku Island to see pine bonsai. He was originally from Montreal and had a bonsai store with Arthur Skolnik. Jerry completed his studies in Japan, married his Japanese sweetheart and settled in the Vancouver area of Canada where he has a large scale bonsai nursery. Jerry returns to Japan each year to help another one of his teachers, Koji Hiramatsu for a month during a bonsai festival. This year the festival and the Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition dates were not too far apart so he stayed to help Mr. Hiramatsu and his father with their sales area at the exhibition.



Since the exhibition was now set up there were opportunities to get a few overall views of the show. Note the different colored background. It’s quite difficult to photograph a pine or maple with yellow foliage against a yellow background. The blue and green backgrounds can also be challenging with certain colored trees as well.




Award winning Dwarf star jasmine.






There were a few special large displays, including one organized by Kenji Oshima. Each year his displays feature a different species. One year it was Trident maples or Hinoki cypress. Last year he featured Korean hornbeams. If you look back in my archived blogs you can see the past displays. This year five Shishigashira Japanese maples were featured, all masterpieces. This is an old dwarf cultivar of Japanese maple, which has been in cultivation for over 300 years. When I saw Kenji today I asked again, do all these bonsai belong to one collector? He said yes and he cares for the entire collection. The collection must be huge and I must make a visit sometime.




This small size Shishigashira Japanese maple was not part of Mr. Oshima’s display. This fine quality bonsai was probably started from an air layer. Great taper too!


The sales area was open and crowded, until about 3 pm. Bjorn’s teacher had one of the best displays of good trees. In particular there was a large size Shishigsashira Japanese maple bonsai. Bjorn had a great one for sale when the show opened. It can be seen on the left side of the display area and can be purchased for only US $55,000.00. Well, someone knew quality and it was quickly sold…. But I think Bjorn said there was another Shishigashira Japanese maple bonsai back at the nursery, which was better. I wonder if that tree will appear on the sales area tomorrow?









There were some stunning, unusual and well done companion plantings, but I was only able to photograph a few as I was concentrating on the bonsai. Tomorrow I’ll try to take more photographs.




At the end of the day, for me, as I was trying to get enough energy to return to my hotel, I noticed one of our tour members carefully studying the “best of show award bonsai.” Kurt Smith owns the Flower Market specializing in bonsai in Michigan. He recognized quality and was carefully looking at the bonsai from all sides appreciating the antiquity of the Sargent juniper. This type of serious dedication is typical of our tour members as they continue to see how the bonsai are created and developed after the initial impact of the exhibition passes.