The 38thNippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition opens tomorrow, November 23 and runs through November 26, 2018 at the Miyako Messe Exhibition Hall in Kyoto, Japan. Shinji Suzuki is the chairman this year and the exhibition is special with several private displays. This is the 30thyear of the Heisei Period, the current era in Japan. In October 2019 Japan will be enthroning a new Emperor which means a new era will begin. Therefor this will be the last Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition in the Heisei Period. There are several new changes and the entire layout is a bit different, many with taller display areas. Quite a bit of advertising has been posted on Facebook and Mr. Suzuki has been writing a series of articles during the past month in a major Kyoto Newspaper.
I’ve been fortunate to have attended and studied nearly 30 of these exhibitions and have seen many changes through the decades. Usually I’m allowed to watch the judging of this major exhibition which I find fascinating and learn so much watching the judges inspect and evaluate the bonsai.
This year I was not allowed to watch the judging because I was invited to actually be one of the 15 judges for the Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition. This is quite an honor for me being the first American to evaluate a Japanese bonsai exhibition and I feel very honored. I was not told until last Saturday when visiting Mr. Takeyama’s garden. Also, I was told to be at the Opening Ceremony tomorrow morning at 8:30. About 20 different awards were selected of the bonsai and suiseki. The judging took about an honor with a lot of walking back and forth evaluating the bonsai and suiseki. Today alone I walked 4.6 miles in the exhibition hall, yes even with a walking boot cast…. Nothing can hold me back when it comes to my bonsai passion.
In my first blog post for this tour I mentioned that I noticed a spectacular Japanese black pine in Mr. Kimura’s garden which was going to the exhibition. I did not photograph it because a better photo could be taken with a plain background in the exhibition. The bonsai looked like a winner to me, and it actually won the highest Prime Minister Award. Unfortunately, my photo did not process perfectly so I’ll try to photograph it again tomorrow. By the way, nearly every photo in my blogs were taken with my new iPhone XS Max. With Joe Noga’s instruction through the years I’m slowly learning how to adjust the images, but can’t come close to working his magic. The blue, green, yellow, silver and black backgrounds are extremely difficult for photographing.
Seiji Morimae has a huge special display where he is selling masterpiece bonsai, containers, suiseki and other art, including several bonsai from Masahiko Kimura. I only had time to photograph a couple of the rock plantings and an award winning Japanese black pine. He already sold two of these large size bonsai before the exhibition even opened. They are destined for China.
More details from this special edition of the Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition will be forthcoming. There are a great number of masterpiece bonsai and suiseki in the exhibition which will require me to spend the next four days of study here. By the way, the Japanese word “Taikan” means Grand View, and this exhibition is truly a grand view of the Japanese bonsai word.