The 37th Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition is on November 18-21, 2017,at the Kyoto Messe in Kyoto, Japan. The building is just down the street from the famous Heian Shrine, well known for a large vermillion tori gate. This exhibition is perhaps the second largest and most prestigious bonsai exhibition in Japan. I particularly like this show because it features displays. Both bonsai, suiseki and art objects are formally displayed, many with scrolls. This is not the common traditional bonsai exhibition. There were a few contemporary displays as well in good taste too.
Although all the bonsai are beautiful, not all are of the high Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition quality. Professional bonsai artists nominate the bonsai for entry. There are two general sizes of display and I believe the entry fee is US $500 and $1,000 per display areas.
On Friday, the day before the opening, 13 judges gathered to select the top award winning bonsai. The trees are classified by size, large, medium and small, and by type, evergreen, deciduous, satsuki, shohin bonsai, literati, forest and rock plantings. The suiseki are classified as those in water basins, daiza bases and figure stones.
Mr. Funayama’s display at the 2017 8th World Bonsai Convention
The top Prime Minister Award for “best of show” was presented to a large Japanese five-needle pine. This impressive pine is well known because it was “for sale” at the ASPAC Convention in Takamatsu a few years ago for US$1,000,000. It was also displayed at this spring’s 8th World Bonsai Convention. I was fortunate to see the tree in the owner’s private collection several years ago. Mr. Morimae took me to see his superb bonsai collection and this pine was featured in his garden. He had a special hand made container made for the tree in China. During lunch Mr. Funayama took out an old scrapbook with an old black and white poor quality photo of his tree, taken around 1940. It’s changed quite a bit, but the basic trunk design was established many decades ago.
On the first day there were a large number of foreigners. It is interesting to me, but not surprising, that most turned right upon entry and went directly to the large sales area, rather than going left into the exhibition.
There are several large special displays as well as past award winning bonsai exhibited, and these will be featured in my next blog entry. Jet lag is over for me and it’s time to return to the exhibition for more photos and study. OK, buying too…