Bonsai Tonight

Post #500 – Kokufu-ten

Posted in Excursions, Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on April 15, 2014

A little over five years ago I started this blog – and today marks my 500th post. I’ve come a long way since my first post, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you all for joining in the fun along the way. Now over 5,000 photos, 2,000 comments, 3,000 followers and a million post-views later, I’d like to share some photos from the world’s most prestigious bonsai exhibit, the Kokufu-ten.

Those of you who have visited the Kokufu-ten, or National Bonsai Exhibit, will recognize the scene below – lots of people vying for a better view of outstanding bonsai.

Kokufu

View from above – Kokufu-ten #88, February 2014

For those of you who have yet to visit the exhibit, I can say that it’s simply a treat. Hundreds of superb trees are on display in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum each February. For details about the event and the best history I know of in English, see the Phoenix Bonsai Society’s articles on the topic starting with, Kokufu Bonsai Ten, Part I.

Enough talk – it’s time for the trees!

Japanese beech

Japanese beech – Kokufu Prize

Chinese juniper

Chinese juniper

Two Americans exhibited bonsai at this year’s Kokufu – Frank Cucchiara and Doug Paul. This year marked Frank’s first entry in Kokufu – Doug first showed bonsai in Kokufu in 2010. Congratulations to you both!

Shinpaku

Chinese juniper and Japanese flowering quince ‘Chojubai’ by Frank Cucchiara

Chinese juniper

Chinese juniper by Doug Paul

Zelkova

Zelkova

Chinese juniper

Chinese juniper

Trident maple

Trident maple

Ezo spruce

Ezo spruce

White pine

Japanese white pine – Kokufu Prize

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

White pine

Japanese white pine

Ezo spruce

Ezo spruce

Japanese beech
Japanese beech

Japanese black pine

Japanese black pine

Chinese quince

Chinese quince

Needle juniper

Needle juniper

Japanese black pine - Kokufu prize

Japanese black pine – Kokufu Prize

White pine

Japanese white pine

Trident maple

Trident maple

Chinese juniper

Chinese juniper

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

Stewartia

Stewartia

Trident maple

Trident maple

Chinese juniper - Kokufu prize

Chinese juniper and trident maple – Kokufu Prize

Thanks for helping Bonsai Tonight reach 500 posts – I couldn’t do this without you!

Tagged with: , , , , ,

Junipers and maples at Nomoto Chinshou-en

Posted in Excursions by Jonas Dupuich on April 11, 2014

Although Daisaku Nomoto is well known for his pine work, he’s also a big fan of junipers and deciduous varieties. Walking through his nursery was a great opportunity to see trees that were well developed next to trees still in the project phase.

Shimpaku

 

Large shimpaku

Shimpaku

 

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

 

Shimpaku with great deadwood

Shimpaku

 

Shimpaku

The tree below was one of my favorite project trees in the garden. I’d be very curious to see it after further refinement.

Shimpaku

 

Project juniper

Shimpaku

 

Trunk detail

A number of the smallest junipers in the garden were fairly well developed. They were also green as they were protected from the cold in a greenhouse for the winter. The outdoor junipers had all taken on the usual brown cast that wears off in Spring.

Shimpaku

 

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

 

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

 

A tree grown by one of Nomoto’s customers – what’s with the pot?

Juniper

 

Shimpaku growing in a wire mesh basket set in a clay pot

Japanese maple

 

A Japanese maple in development

Japanese maple

 

Young Kiyohime maples

Trident maple

 

Trident maple

Trident maple

Trident maple

 

 

Tagged with: , , , , ,

Chojubai and white pine from Nomoto Chinshou-en

Posted in Excursions by Jonas Dupuich on April 8, 2014

 

Tsutomu Nomoto started Nomoto Chinshou-en on his birthday in 1973. Bonsai had been a family hobby for several generations but it wasn’t until Tsutomu turned away from veterinary medicine – the default line of work for his family – that the hobby became a business. Tsutomu studied at Nakanishi Chinshou-en in Shikoku’s Kinashi bonsai district (more at “Nakanishi Chinshoen“). Following his apprenticeship, Tsutomu returned to his native Miyazaki and opened Nomoto Chinshou-en.

Nomoto Chinshou-en

 

Nomoto Chinsho-en

Nomoto Chinshou-en

 

Nomoto Chinshou-en

Nomoto Chinshou-en

 

What a tidy nursery!

I first learned about Nomoto Chinshou-en from Tsutomu’s son, Daisaku. Daisaku was one of Boon Manakitivipart’s senpai at Aichi prefecture’s Kihachi-en. Today Daisaku runs the family business with his father. Here’s some of Daisaku’s work.

Chojubai

 

Root over rock chojubai

Chojubai

 

Exposed root chojubai

Chojubai

 

Single-trunk chojubai

White pine

 

Exposed root white pine

White pine

 

White pine

White pine

 

Informal upright white pine

White pine

 

White pine

White pine

 

White pine with hollow trunk

White pine

 

Exposed root cascade white pine

Inside the nursery’s workshop is a single tokonoma. It was filled, the day I visited, with a needle juniper, scroll and accent.

 

Needle juniper

 

Needle juniper

In addition to the nursery’s many pines and chojubai were a variety of other trees.

Zelkova

 

Shohin zelkova

Tsukumo cypress

 

Tsukumo cypress

Accent

Accent plant

More on the nursery’s junipers this Friday.

 

Tagged with: , , , ,

Nomoto Chinshou-en

Posted in Excursions by Jonas Dupuich on April 4, 2014

For those curious about my visits to so many Kyushu bonsai gardens, the answer is simple – Daisaku Nomoto. In addition to hosting the Kyushu portion of my recent visit to Japan, long-time friend and teacher Nomoto designed an itinerary to suit my interest in developing bonsai from scratch. So instead of visiting some of the top collections in the area, we focused on a handful of the more interesting gardens where I could see development techniques up close and ask whatever questions came to mind. This very thoughtful planning made for a outstanding visit – for this, thank you Daisaku!

Of course, many of these visits focused on techniques for developing black pine bonsai. Nomoto, who apprenticed with Kihachiro Kamiya, is well-known for his pine work. Here are some of the black pines at his Miyazaki nursery, Nomoto Chinshou-en.

Black pine

 

Daisaku Nomoto with a cascade black pine at Nomoto Chinshou-en

Black pine

 

Black pine

Black pine

 

Black pine

Black pine

 

Black pine

It was fun to see the pines in Nomoto’s nursery after visiting so many different pine growers. Many of these pines were still under development, though most were further along than the trees we’d seen elsewhere.

Black pine

 

Young black pine

Black pine

 

Black pine

The pines ranged from big to small, including a number of shohin.

Black pine

 

Shohin black pine

Black pine

 

Shohin black pine

Black pine

 

Shohin black pine

Black pine

 

Small black pine

Black pine

 

Medium-sized black pine

Black pine

 

Large black pine

There were also a number of pine projects, including grafted cork bark and Kotobuki black pines.

Black pine

 

Cork bark pine

Black pine 'Kotobuki'

 

Young Kotobuki black pine

Black pine

 

Exposed root black pine

As is typical of nurseries belonging to bonsai professions, many of the better pines in the garden belonged to Nomoto’s customers. With the rest, Nomoto is free to do as he wishes. And as there’s never enough time to give every tree one’s full attention, even the brief tour of the nursery provided Nomoto time to reflect about future plans for a number of the trees in his garden, including the interesting pine below.

Black pine

 

Nomoto considers a pine’s future

Black pine

Black pine

In addition to black pines, Nomoto Chinshou-en was full of different varieties – more on these next week.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,701 other followers