Bonsai artist Shinji Suzuki is chairman of this year’s Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition. I’ve attended about 30 of these exhibitions and this year, with Mr. Suzuki’s direction there are numerous changes. Some of the exhibition areas are much taller than normal. It looks like some of the rows are a bit longer because the space between the displays and side walls are much narrower.
Mr. Suzuki had two unique displays. His son Hiroyuki made tall, narrow, mysterious artificial rocks and planted them with small size Sargent junipers. The trees looked like they were hanging on to life on cliff edges. The main display was quite long and the title was “Back to the Source” featuring a moon in the background. There were numerous small lights highlighting the beautiful mountains. Perhaps Hiroyuki Suzuki learned how to create the artificial stones when he was an apprentice to Mr. Kimura.
Additionally, Shinji Suzuki along with famous Chinese painter, Zhao Dun presented another display on the front side. Last year he displayed a powerful Sargent juniper in his display. Zhao Dun created a painting of the bonsai and a photo of the actual bonsai was hung below the painting. To the right three large artificial stones, also planted with Sargent juniper added to the effect. All that was missing was new age music. I have never seen such modern creativity in Japan. Personally, it reminded me of bonsai on display at a flower and garden show in the United States rather than a refined Japanese bonsai exhibition. I liked the two displays and spent some time contemplating their meaning. Go Team Suzuki!
Another new addition to was the large S-Cube Gallery of Seiji Morimae’s sales area in the exhibition area, in front of the vendor area. Mr. Morimae designed the display featuring seven alcoves complete with lighting. Five of the alcoves featured bonsai created by Masahiko Kimura and two with antique Chinese containers. Everything was well labeled, complete with prices, which were high end. Please note the small red tags which means sold.
The exhibition opened at 9:00am on Friday morning. By 10:00am ALL of Mr. Kimura’s bonsai were sold. And by noon ALL of the Chinese bonsai containers were also sold. The least expensive bonsai was $18,000. One antique Chinese container was sold at $180,000. Some are destined for China. It appeared to me the expensive items sold while some less expensive bonsai, containers and display tables remained, but there are still two days of sales remaining.
Opposite the wall of seven alcoves were more bonsai, some huge and several collections of beautiful containers. There was a great large Japanese grey bark elm bonsai which was actually sold while Mr. Morimae’s team were setting up.
At the end of the S-Cube Gallery was a wall with smaller suiseki and display tables, not necessarily cheaper. On the back side of the wall was another sales area featuring smaller and less expensive bonsai. Directly on the floor, on blue carpet, many new large blue glazed were lighted and for sale. All sold. Check out the red sold tags. The number of individual red tags on a container indicate how many containers of each style were sold.
A lovely young woman was selling artificial bonsai she made at the end of the long sales area. They were very realistic and the designs appeared to be well trained bonsai. The trunks are made if clay, and were a bit expensive. But they don’t need to be watered, trimmed or cared for, only periodically dusted. Perfect for many people.