2020 90th Meifu Bonsai Exhibition

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The 90th Meifu Bonsai Exhibition was held on January 10-12, 2020 in the Fukiage Hall in Nagoya, Japan. It is sponsored by Chubu Bonsai Cooperative, which is a professional bonsai organization. The exhibition is held in a huge clear span building with excellent lighting and wide aisles. The Gafu Ten Shohin Exhibition, held in Kyoto, was held on the same dates so we were able to visit this exhibition as well.

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The Meifu Bonsai Exhibition is the second longest running show in Japan, just under the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition which will hold the 94th show on February 8-11 and 13-16, 2020. It is the third largest bonsai exhibition and Japan and an important venue to see and study fine-quality bonsai of a great number of species and styles. There was only one shohin bonsai composition displayed, but we had a couple of days at the Gafu Ten Shohin Bonsai Exhibition which displayed 535 small bonsai.

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There were over 130 masterpiece bonsai displayed with accessories and suiseki. Many of these bonsai are owned by hobbyists, but displayed by the professional bonsai artists. A large percentage of these displayed bonsai have or will be displayed in the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition. All very high-quality works of art.

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Taiwan boxwood featuring deeply fissured bark.

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A large full-color commemorative album is always published which is an excellent study guide for design as well as illustrating the current state of the Japanese bonsai community.

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There were several special displays this year. The top Tokoname bonsai ceramic artists were featured in an unusual table top display showing their bonsai containers being used to hold bonsai. We were fortunate to meet Kakuzan, one of the potters who made the large container for Japanese black pine from the collection of Yasuo Mitsuya. Mr. Mitsuya is well known in the United States for his demonstrations and instructions. He displayed his Japanese black pine which is approximately 130 years old and under his training for over 50 years.

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Mr.Kakuzan, left, next to the container he made for Mr. Mitsuya’s Japanese black pine he trained for over 50 years. Yasuo Mitsuya, right, with the first and only professional bonsai magazine published in the United States.

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Another display featured four large panels with paintings displayed with bonsai, something new in Japan. You could sit on the low red benches and absorb the beauty of this exhibition while enjoying a cup of traditional green tea used in the formal Japanese tea ceremony with a sweet snack.  I personally walked 5.8 miles today looking at bonsai, and needed to rest my booted foot. A sales area completed the exhibition which featured a good number of vendors selling tools, containers, art, scrolls, display tables, suiseki, wire and of course bonsai.

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Perhaps the most special display this year was a commemorative for Masaru Kito, who passed away three years ago. This significant display will be the introduced in tomorrow’s blog since I’m too tired to adjust the images now and do need some sleep. So, look for something special tomorrow.

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