When I saw the following photos from Boon’s visit to Japan, there was no doubt about whose garden they belonged to. I simply do not know that any other garden contains comparable material.
Bob King offered me additional photos from the same visit, and again, the photos were unmistakable.
Shimpaku (Bob King photo)
Satsuki – massive trunks! (Bob King photo)
The toolshed, while not a giveaway, offers yet more evidence.
Bonsai wire and tools (Bob King photo)
More bonsai tools – note array of power tools throughout
The garden belongs to Takeo Kawabe. Kawabe studied with Kimura for 12 years before heading out on his own in 1989. He is the creator of many famous bonsai tools, including grinders, chain-saw like devices and most recently, a line of bonsai scissors. His garden contains some of the best “wood” anywhere. His impressive carving and grafting skills have combined with great artistic vision to produce some truly outstanding bonsai. He is, in many senses, where good bonsai comes from.
Kawabe Takeo (Bob King photo)
If you get the chance, I highly recommend visiting his garden or checking out his book – Bonsai Craftsman (His Soul and Footsteps). If anyone knows where the book might be available outside of Japan, do share!
Kawabe’s famous Shimpaku – it twists like a tornado
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