2019 93rdKokufu Bonsai Exhibition Part 1– Part 2


All the bonsai were lovingly cared for all day long.


6P4A9523.jpgPart 1 of the 93rdKokufu Bonsai Exhibition ended yesterday. Today, Wednesday, all the bonsai will be replaced with new specimens for the public to enjoy and study. For me, personally, it’s kind of like a new semester in my intense bonsai study. So, that must mean that today is “winter break” between semesters. What am I going to do on my day off? Take a couple of trains to Omiya Bonsai Village where I was an apprentice over 45 years ago.


Mr. Saito displayed one of his many bonsai, a past Kokufu Prize Trident maple.




Chojubai Japanese Flowering Quince




Dwarf Kumquat



Japanese Black Pine


Sargent Juniper


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Japanese Red Pine





When the guides to the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition were handed out there was a slip of paper, or ballot for people to vote for their favorite two bonsai. This was only in the Japanese guide, not the English list of trees. We call that the People’s Choice, which I never liked or will do because I think it’s silly. People usually select a forest, or large bonsai or the tree with the most blossoms. The general public is not familiar with bonsai so their opinion is useless in the evaluation of bonsai. Yes, it shows what attracts them, however. For Part 1 of the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition the two bonsai the public selected was a Hinoki Cypress forest and a small mame bonsai composition. Mame bonsai are smaller than shohin bonsai and are slowly becoming popular in Japan. I was amazed they did not select one of the several beautiful fragrant Japanese flowering apricot bonsai. Perhaps, because they are common and now flowering in gardens.



Tsuyama Hinoki Forest people’s choice



Mame Bonsai Composition people’s choice



Trident Maple




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Japanese Black Pine




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Although Japan has had a very long history of displaying and appreciating bonsai, they just started a People’s Choice event. Many decades ago at a Washington, DC convention, before Japan hosted the first World Bonsai Convention, Mr. Takeyama came up to me and asked why people were buying small pieces of paper and tearing them in half. He had never seen raffle tickets. Yes, at the first World Bonsai Convention in Omiya they had raffle tickets!



There’s one in every exhibition, even in Japan….6P4A9618 copy.jpg

Trident Maple

I asked why there were ten fewer bonsai in the exhibition and was told they removed an entire row of trees and replaced it with a photo gallery AND the size of the display areas was increased 10 to 15cm each. That explains to me why there were not too many Satsuki azaleas displayed. They had the large poster images of the flowering Satsuki azalea bonsai on the posters displays thus adding color. I wonder if they will change the poster display for part 2? Oh, I did carefully count the number of bonsai displayed with suiseki. There were four and interestingly displayed near each other. Perhaps they were displayed by the same person, not the owner which are two different people.


Part 2 of the 93rdKokufu Bonsai Exhibition begins tomorrow. Also opening tomorrow morning will be the 6thNippon Suiseki Exhibition, also in the same building, but in the second floor Gallery.

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Japanese Five-needle Pine

I wonder what I can learn today for my trip “back to school” in Omiya Bonsai Village….

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