The contrast between the Chinese penjing and Japanese bonsai is clear when examining old scrolls and woodblock prints.  Penjing is usually shown as individual specimens accompanied by a complimenting poem or narrative,  or as part of an aristocratic estate.  Japanese ukiyoe woodblock prints show that bonsai was popular with all classes,  used as decorative objects,  and widely sold.  They became objects of trade in the hands of specialists who quickly saw commercial nursery potential.

               Individuality   .  .  .  harmony  .  .  .  dignity!  The Japanese are a unique, highly disciplined society and their love of Nature permeates all aspects of Japanese life and bonsai.  Whereas the Chinese will exploit and exaggerate a quirky concept or plant feature,  Japanese tend to create bonsai with a greater reverence to nature's rules.  Trees are solidly anchored to the ground and rise majestically in harmonious pots.  A bonsai will be formally displayed on an appropriate stand in a tokonoma display alcove.  There will be a companion planting or display accessory that compliments the bonsai.  A hanging scroll or print completes the presentation theme and aesthetic arrangement.
                Every part of the bonsai is trained to exacting detail and it's not likely that others can out-Japanese the Japanese!  Clearly,  the Japanese are the best in the world at Japanese Bonsai,  and their finest masterpieces are sophisticated,  inspiring, and extraordinary!  In 1980 the theme of the International Bonsai Congress held in Hawaii was:  "Bonsai:  Bridge to International Friendship & Peace!"   The Japanese,  led by bonsai master Saburo Kato,   participated internationally for the first time,  and have become the international leaders of this concept.  We fully endorse and support their efforts!  
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Spirit & Philosophy of Bonsai & Saburo Kato
        Japan's bonsai grandmaster Saburo Kato is the spirit of International Bonsai. We were honored to introduce him at the International Bonsai Congress 1980 Hawaii and we continue to follow his dream of bonsai becoming a bridge to international friendship and peace.  His address at the convention was translated and serves as the basis for understanding! A member of Fuku-Bonsai's International Honor Roll.
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Forest Planting Techniques by Saburo Kato
        Having the ability to consistently create high-quality forest arrangements has often been used as a guideline for a person to be considered a bonsai master. This is an area that Saburo Kato excells. We are honored to be allowed to reproduce photos from his book The Beauty of Bonsai.
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Recommended book: "Forest, Rock Planting & Ezo Spruce" by Saburo Kato
        The National Bonsai Foundation has translated and republished this 1960 classic that was out of print. 
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Restoration of "Peace Forest"
        The original trees used at the IBC 80 Hawaii creation came from Fuku-Bonsai and Peace Forest has been in our care since 1990. It was necessary to restyle and the trees are evolving beautifully.
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"Aikane;" "Peace Forest" sister arrangement
        The sister trees had begun to be trained into a tropical styling. This contrasts the differences in Japanese and Hawaiian styling concepts even when utilizing the same trees. 
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Two Styling Concepts
        In studying bonsai, it's often effective to study the outer edges of each subject area. Two junipers were trained to illustrate this concept. These two trees contrast the differances associated with Japanese bonsai and Chinese penjing.
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110-Year Old Chinese Philosopher (Thin & Tall)
       Ancient Chinese paintings showed very sparse minimal trees and these came to be associated with the literati or scholar class. Each such tree has a lot of character and each is uniquely different!
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Japanese Sumo Warrior (Short & Stout)
        Many who begin bonsai are impressed with thick-trunked "muscle bonsai." Here's how these are created.
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Takamiyama; a non-traditional Japanese/Hawaiian bonsai
         At IBC 90 Hawaii, headliner Shinji Ogasawar created this outstanding rock planting.  It's a delightful reminder that although the Japanese tend to be traditional most of the time, there are creative artists in all forms of bonsai
KaneshiroBlackPine.jpg (9833 bytes)         This Haruo "Papa" Kaneshiro memorial bonsai is a Japanese Black Pine was grown from seed planted about 1920 and trained in the formal upright style.  It was hidden in the hills above Hilo and is one of a relatively small number of bonsai in Hawaii to survive World War II. Haruo was our link to traditional Japanese bonsai.  But he was also an innovator and is recognized as the "Father of Tropical Hawaiian Bonsai.
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           January 2003     FUKUBONSAI.COM       Fuku-Bonsai   Phone (808) 982-9880