The 92nd Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition is being held in two parts again this year. The second part II runs from February 13-16, 2018 and here are a few photos of bonsai which captured my trained eye. Please remember that the bonsai are displayed in the exhibition are for live viewing, NOT for photographing. It is extremely difficult to get a good image of a tree because of different lighting and different backgrounds in each area. Plus the ceiling heights are also different and the exhibition is full of people trying to enjoy the beauty of the bonsai. Many of these photos were actually taken by my new iPhone X, not my Cannon DSLR. Then after trying to take a decent and acceptable image they must be adjusted for lighting, color balance, detail enhancement and the background seams must be removed, including their shadows on the display tables. Often the name tag, display number tag and information sheets are also removed to present an image of the displayed bonsai. Again, finer quality photos will be appearing in a future issue of International BONSAI.
Now having seen both Parts I and II it is my impression that Part II is better because of the quality of the bonsai and diversity of both species and styles. Also, having seen and studied more than 40 Kokufu Bonsai Exhibitions it is my opinion that this is the best show yet. I still have another two days to carefully look over Part II, and I’m certain to find things I missed during my first three times through the exhibition.
Although all 221 bonsai were switched from Part I, except for the Imperial Bonsai Special Display, I noticed several of the accessory plantings used again, and why not, they look great. There were several Ezo spruce bonsai in this part and I found a great diversity in the foliage. I’ll try to photograph them today to share.
2018 Part II Statistics
161 Individual Bonsai Displays
114 Large Size Bonsai
43 Medium Size Bonsai Displays (approx. 86 individual trees)
4 Shohin Bonsai Displays (24 individual trees)
Total Bonsai Displayed approx. 224
19 Registered Important Bonsai Masterpieces
4 Kokufu Bonsai Prizes
3 Bonsai Displayed with Suiseki
2 Bonsai Displayed by Americans
Japanese Black Pine
Congratulations go to Shinji Suzuki whose clients won three out of the four Kokufu Prize winners. He is responsible for displaying and preparing the bonsai for his clients, but not necessarily for their creation. Masterpiece bonsai of this quality take many decades to develop and are bought and sold frequently. Each time they change hands they usually improve in quality. It is not uncommon to see a famous bonsai in different gardens every year.
When my group visited Mr. Kimura’s garden last week I asked him how many bonsai he worked on which are on display. He said 55 pieces, which is down from over 70 a few years ago. Still, that’s a staggering number to be proud of considering about 445 bonsai were displayed this year. One of his newest tall rock planting creations of Tsuyama Hinoki Cypress was displayed for the first time this year, under his client’s name of course.
Three bonsai were displayed by Americans
Satsuki Azalea displayed by Mel Goldstein from Ohio. He will be displaying this masterpiece which is planted in a Gyozan container in the 6th US National Bonsai Exhibition on September 8-9, 2018, in Rochester, NY. Come see it in person.
Japanase Hemlock displayed by Doug Pall from Pennsylvania.
Dwarf Star Jasmine displayed by Adam Blank from Pennsylvania.
A beautifully carved “root stand”
Perhaps this simple and elegant sinuous styli e Japanese five-needle pine is my favorite bonsai in Part II. It is planted in an antique Chinese “Nanban” oval container. Of course there are many more impressive bonsai in the exhibition, but this tree talked to me….
Bittersweet! This vining plant is a pest in most areas of the US and is against the law to sell.
Again, the Nippon Bonsai Association has presented another exhibition of some of the finest bonsai in Japan. THE best exhibition of the finest bonsai, and the 100 finest suiseki took place at the 8th World Bonsai Convention in Saitama in April 2017.