Fooled by Tanuki

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Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:41 am

Hi IBC,
I was reluctant to post this for a very long time now, but here it is.


" I Believe that more famous trees than one wants to believe are tanukis..."

"...When Someone is reluctant to admit his bonsai are tanuki, someone was hoping hers tanuki valued as a pure bonsai. Then he slips his Tanuki in a bonsai contest. This could happen because the attachment of the tree or the grafting technique is very sophisticated. The more so if the Tanuki owner is dishonest."

"Sometimes it is done well, even experts finds it difficult to tell. This is fine, This tree can be exhibited but it should be mentioned that it is a Tanuki."

"Where does lying start? Where does it ends? How much of a lie is too much?"


Quoted from Walter Pall.

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"Tanuki should not enter bonsai contest. For connecting a dead branch, to get a wonderful impression, still allowed in various contests in Japan."

Quoted from Makoto Tsuji


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"Then there are cases of when a bit of deadwood is added to a tree which also has a deadwood. This is also fine. Most of the time it is not mentioned as a Tanuki" 

Quoted from Walter Pall

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There were some stories too. that some of the famous trees we (people outside of Japan) admire very much from pictures books and the internet ( and very famous bonsai) were just tanuki.


If some great artist can fool the eyes of the masters and experts who see feel and touch these trees , what more with just the ordinary bonsai people.

regards,
jun:D

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  marcus watts on Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:45 am

it is very difficult to say at what point wrong becomes right - if a poor quality but living tree has all the foliage changed by grafting a better variety on the final result is much the same as tanuki - but these trees are highly prized and desirable. Is it because tanuki is seen as easy to do and grafting foliage needs more skill maybe - I don't know.

trees are left unchanged for ever Or;
trees are made from an early age by grafting one top to different roots
trees have live branches and trunks of the same type grafted in better places, keeping the original foliage as well
trees have all their foliage changed by grafting and all original growth is eventually removed 
trees have some aged dead wood added to their design
trees have living sections added to their original dead areas 

these are just a few examples of how a bonsai may be formed and when seen as one list it makes it hard to say categorically that one method is bad but others are fine - first ask why we need to worry about it maybe. I have no problem with any of the above as bonsai is art and art begins with the intervention of an artist - if it is done so incredibly well that no-one can tell why do we really need to know the path to the end result

well posted Jun, many people just seem to say tanuki is bad, but have they considered all aspects of bonsai creation or are they just repeating what we historically hear and read ? 

cheers Marcus

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:46 pm

I am curious why you might feel cheated ....

To the untrained eye the bending twisting chopping manipulating & carving we all do isnt seen in a show..
Do we disclose?

If an artist has the ability to create a tree that a trained eye takes for natural what does it matter how it was achieved...
Kudos to their skill

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:27 pm

Matt,

I didn't said I'm the one who feels cheated. hehehe. I know some tricks done by other people, maybe some of them you even admire, and yes what some did were pure cheating... literally.

If this is the situation- A bonsai competition specially the high caliber one or world class, gives a rule that NO tanuki (in what ever form, yes there are other forms of tanuki besides grafting young tree to dead wood) is allowed to compete and yet some artists or sometimes not just "some artists" but a respected one for example a Bonsai master, tried to sneak one in in a competition, do you think it is not cheating?
Do you have Japanese bonsai books written by famous people?- Nothing Just asking hehehe.   Travel around the earth if you have time, you'll discover some funny truth in the bonsai world...and be sure you got a strong stomach for it, if you do so.


Kudos to their skill still?  Maybe.

..and please don't get me wrong, Tanuki is fun to do and I have some of my own (for fun sake), but I won't enter it in a competition which said "NO Tanuki".

regards,
jun:D

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  my nellie on Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:54 pm

jun wrote:... ...Tanuki is fun to do and I have some of my own (for fun sake), but I won't enter it in a competition which said "NO Tanuki".
What if the competition said nothing about anything? (...nothing/anything... is this grammatically right, I wonder...)
Would you enter your tanuki in such a competition, Jun?

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Cheating is cheating.

Post  lennard on Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:06 pm

If any rules of a competition is broken, it is cheating!

(I personally don't have any problems seeing tanuki as just another bonsai ......)

Lennard

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:30 am

Intersting question, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  It's not something that would impact a show here for me, but I can see where a "competition" would be problematic.  But then, on the other hand, isn't bonsai about illusion, and if you can do it well enough to sit it next to a "natural" tree... who's to judge how you got there?

Seems like somewhere on this forum there is a whole tanuki thread, proudly showing off what I always considered something that you didn't really talk about.  When I was in Japan it was used as a derogatory term... if you do it keep your mouth shut about it.  Oh, incidentally, attaching a young juniper to an old piece of wood is just one kind of tanuki.  The other is changing foliage by grafting, like from San Jose juniper to shimpaku. In Kanuma during the big satsuki shows a really fine, big 'Kinsai' (red spider flowers) always showed up.  'Kinsai' is distinctive even when it's not blooming because of the foliage and the color of the bark.  I was told very quietly that this bonsai was in fact a tanuki.  Well, everything about it said 'Kinsai', so what's the big secret?  Apparently it was in fact correctly named, but started out as the inferior and worthless round petalled form of this satsuki that had all new branches grafted on! Everyone went about like nothing was wrong and no one talked about it pubically.... sort of like being at the Miss Universe pageant and saying "Wow, isn't Miss Columbia beautiful?" and someone whispering "Yes, but her boobs and butt are FAKE!!!".

My 2 cents.

R

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Xavier de Lapeyre on Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:37 am

I've been seeing this tanuki discussion popup here and there.
Often the original sources where those pieces of info were taken were not quoted.

I've read the article WP wrote before reading the other article Iwan wrote.
So I've got a different perspective of the message send.

For info :
Walter Pall's article [ following Iwan's questions on Tanuki in relation to meaning of tanuki, tanuki in a bonsai contest and tanuki vs deadwood ]
http://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/2013/06/tanukis.html

Then there is Iwan's post, following WP reply:
http://www.bursabonsai.com/walter-pall-tanuki-is-a-cheat-a-lie/


I'm sorry but there's lots of misleading quotes or unintentional tuncated quotes that gives the wrong message.

For instance this quote from Jun original post :
jun wrote:[...]

"...When Someone is reluctant to admit his bonsai are tanuki, someone was hoping hers tanuki valued as a pure bonsai. Then he slips his Tanuki in a bonsai contest. This could happen because the attachment of the tree or the grafting technique is very sophisticated. The more so if the Tanuki owner is dishonest."

[...]

Quoted from Walter Pall.

[...] 
As far as I can tell this is not from Walter Pall, but from Budi Sulistyo [ http://www.bursabonsai.com/walter-pall-tanuki-is-a-cheat-a-lie/ ]


OR this part, which placed in another context gives another perspective to the story to me:
jun wrote:[...]
" I Believe that more famous trees than one wants to believe are tanukis..."
[...]
"Where does lying start? Where does it ends? How much of a lie is too much?"


Quoted from Walter Pall.

[...] 
When read in this context : 

"What can Tanuki and Bonsai pitted in a contest?  Is it different Tanuki and Deadwood?

Tanuki is a cheat, a lie. Bonsai art itself is a cheat, a lie, it creates the illusion of an old tree while the tree is young. To paint one's face, eyes and lips and hair is a cheat , a lie. So why do so many people get away with it? Well, if done well and if it looks good then it is OK. But nobody believes it is for real. Where does the lying start? Where does it end? How much of a lie is too much? 

I believe that more famous trees than one wants to believe are tanukis of partial tanukis. "





Also Iwan's article in itself is misleading in my opinion. He asked some specific questions to WP ( HERE ) and just posted the answers without their proper context in his article. ( HERE )




Regards,
Xavier


Last edited by Xavier de Lapeyre on Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:39 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : badly coded url)

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:13 am

Simple,

if you enter a competition, you also have to follow the rules of the competition.

Now if you want a philosophical discussion that is another matter.
Until.
Khaimraj

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  William N. Valavanis on Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:24 pm

A few years ago I was going through the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition with Kunio Kobayashi. Suddenly he looked at a Sargent Juniper bonsai and said "Tanunk!", so I said really and he replied "100%" and quickly pointed out a very small nail hole in the living lifeline. This was on a good looking bonsai which had just won the highest award in the show and in Japan, the coveted "Kokufu Prize" or National Award.

I've also seen a beautiful persimmon bonsai at the Taikan Bonsai Exhibition in Kyoto which had lovely fruit. Since I do not grow Persimmon I studied it carefully and discovered that every fruiting branch was glued on to the tree. One of my friends then told me he saw someone supergluing small twigs on to the bonsai in a nearby bathroom.

The total aesthetic impact of both of these great bonsai was a beautiful image which is the purpose of bonsai.

Bill


Kokufu Prize Award winning Sargent Juniper from the 2011 Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition


Persimmon bonsai from the 2010 Taikan Bonsai Exhibition


Added  fruiting branch on the Persimmon bonsai

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:18 pm

Jun,
"No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is suppose that they are like himself."
~John Steinbeck ~

Bill,
Thankyou for sharing your insights, there are many telltale signs of development methods used but when they are done so well.....
I have often looked at that particular juni & wondered....

Matt

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:34 pm

Matt,

I would be very careful with that Steinbeck quote. The man was no great philosopher and didn't he kill himself?

Plus, it is normal to assume that everyone is similiar, but problematic, when the person making the assumptions is a thief, a crook, a liar or just not a very moral or ethical person.
Wicked folk tend to mistrust because they believe everyone does as they do [ and that mistrust is the punishment as seen in the phrase - what goes around, come around.]

Fortune cookies anyone.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:24 pm

I
I was supposed to asked this next question much much later... 
Thank you Bill for the informative post and confirmation on this subject of Tanuki entring the respected and some evenregards as the highest form of bonsai competitions.  

Since they are doing it even in kokufu, can we also allow tanuki in contests elswhere and would be allowed to win?,,since we are looking and regarding exhibitions like kokufu as our yardstick or model for exhibitions.

Regards,
Jun

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:31 pm

Khaimraj,
I am sorry you don't see Steinbeck as worthy of quoting....
I am no scholar so madmen & suicide'ers will have to suffice
What may be normal to 98% of people isn't to a 2%er
Assumption IS the thief, crook, liar....

Guest
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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:49 pm

Matt,

I cut off from Literature after Dostoyevsky, as the philosophies go negative. Save for Tolkien or Lewis Caroll.
I prefer solutions to problems.

I am also very old school with much of my thinking, as in pre-war 2. If that helps.
May I end with a smile of friendship.
Khaimraj

Jun,

wouldn't it be possible to just create a separate category of Tanuki things ?

Or just have an exhibition of just Tanuki ?
I am glad I don't have to take part in those decisions.
Your l.l.b.
Khaimraj

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  David Willoughby on Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:58 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:wouldn't it be possible to just create a separate category of Tanuki things ?

Or just have an exhibition of just Tanuki ?

And could it be then that the top tree is awarded "The Lance Armstrong Medal".....named in honor of one of the Craftiest of Tanuki's of Modern Time bounce

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:23 am

I asked one of the posters in my previous reply, If he has Japanese bonsai books?
If in high level competitions they were allowed to participate and then even won, But most of the people doesn't have a single clue that it is Tanuki.
How many trees in those books that most people admire were "Tanuki". If I were you I would, Start reviewing your books again. I am pretty sure some of the trees you admire were just Tanuki , undeclared Tanuki (feeling cheated now, it's up to you). There is also a story of a very famous tree in a very famous book which is just a pure Tanuki, grafted young juniper in a very nice deadwood but the author said nothing about it. even the process stated in the book by which the tree were formed were totally far from the truth.



regards,
jun:clown:

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  marcus watts on Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:32 am

until there is an absolute written definition of what a tanuki bonsai is nobody can be cheating. Tanuki means something different to many people and may or may not cover a great many horticultural practices - a show rule stating 'no tanuki' says in effect 'no cheating'. If the same exhibition lists no other defining guidelines how can the rule be broken? Sometimes people assume they know the rules, or worse still end up defining the rules for themselves and others but get it wrong !   this leads to great confusion, leads to shouts of 'cheat' by onlookers and yet the cheat only existed in the minds of others.

is tanuki grafting totally new foliage to a tree ? if so there are created junipers where the foliage is now itioigawa var. with awards from large shows the world over, but the shows often state 'no tanuki', not what the organisers consider the definition to be so these trees are just great highly refined bonsai that fully deserve all accolades...if other individuals want to start darkening winning trees histories following large shows just ask what their motives may be, and ask firstly if a real rule was actually broken in the first place. 


my assumed interpretation of no takuki would be no trees to be included where the trunk is 100% deadwood and a completely separate living tree (or trees) is attached to the trunk making a single image..I think this is our general agreement of the term and for me is where tanuki should end - grafting of life onto life is just horticulture and to be rewarded when done well - reading my last line I think "why should the rule be 'no tanuki' ?" A bonsai award is for a tree done well afterall, it is not a reward for personal achievement....unless you win a 'talent' type styling contest - that is the only award where the person wins because of the tree they made from scratch in front of everyone

Jun - if a famous tree with documented history in a book is suspected of being a form of tanuki does it really matter ? it may be 30+ years old now, be mature in its own right and it may be a masterpiece so why do we need to dissect every little detail if the tree has not deprived another worthy tree of an award. 

cheers Marcus

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:29 am

Marcus,

In the photo which William posted, it is stated that the Kokufu winning tree is a 100% tanuki, Live juniper grafted in a nice old deadwood. Based on your assumed interpretation, That should not be even allowed to enter in the competition, Am I reading you correctly?

What if like the persimmon in the Taikan exhibition, can we assume that we can exhibit a flowering bonsai like azalea and fill it up with flowers few hours before judging time? (though the flowers may fall much earlier, before judging hour you can attached flowers to the otherwise useless bonsai.), Same principles may also be applied to branches, like attaching fake living primary branches in an otherwise incomplete tree or using the same method create a very ramified deciduous tree a day before the judging day. The same thing may also be applied to create a complete nebari, or much much better create a great bonsai using new material with great trunk and just attached everything a day before a show( Leafless branches and nebari)... If like the situation of the persimmon how can you stop people by doing such a thing.

With this idea any newbie can compete in a highly prestigeous competition and can even easily win, and how can anybody stop them, they might just reply, they are doing it in Kokufu, why not here...just a thought.



regards,
jun:D


PS. With the tree in the book, If it is a tanuki, it should be stated as such,,,or like -"the process of making a good tanuki". And nope! there is no photo history of the tree, The person is just too famous to be questioned and people swallowed everything he said.


Last edited by jun on Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:01 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:59 am

Russell Coker wrote:Intersting question, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  It's not something that would impact a show here for me, but I can see where a "competition" would be problematic.  But then, on the other hand, isn't bonsai about illusion, and if you can do it well enough to sit it next to a "natural" tree... who's to judge how you got there?

Seems like somewhere on this forum there is a whole tanuki thread, proudly showing off what I always considered something that you didn't really talk about.  When I was in Japan it was used as a derogatory term... if you do it keep your mouth shut about it.  Oh, incidentally, attaching a young juniper to an old piece of wood is just one kind of tanuki.  The other is changing foliage by grafting, like from San Jose juniper to shimpaku. In Kanuma during the big satsuki shows a really fine, big 'Kinsai' (red spider flowers) always showed up.  'Kinsai' is distinctive even when it's not blooming because of the foliage and the color of the bark.  I was told very quietly that this bonsai was in fact a tanuki.  Well, everything about it said 'Kinsai', so what's the big secret?  Apparently it was in fact correctly named, but started out as the inferior and worthless round petalled form of this satsuki that had all new branches grafted on! Everyone went about like nothing was wrong and no one talked about it pubically.... sort of like being at the Miss Universe pageant and saying "Wow, isn't Miss Columbia beautiful?" and someone whispering "Yes, but her boobs and butt are FAKE!!!".

My 2 cents.

R






Russell,

Thank you for sharing your thought and experience on the matter...maybe the rules of the game has change. unlike before you can proudly now say your tree is a tanuki. 


regards,
jun:D





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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:50 pm

I suppose the rules have changed.  Hey, fake boobs don't seem to bother people either... nor do they seem to keep it a secret.

Anyway, I guess if it flies at Kokufu-ten that's makes it all ok.  I guess you could always try for a "No Tanuki" rule for a show, but then the challenge becomes make one so good that no one knows the difference and let the show people try to find it!

R

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Velodog2 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 6:10 am

All of bonsai is artifice and technique. There is no bonsai that has not been manipulated to some degree to make it more beautiful in the creators eye. The object is to make something beautiful. And I would defy any beginner to easily make something as beautiful as that persimmon by simply glueing branches to a trunk!

The comparison to doping in sports is valid because there is an an artificial line of demarcation there as well.  What is doping? Having a cup of coffee before a race? How about an espresso? How about caffeine suppositories? We decide and so the debate of where the line should be is endless.

And as an aside, I could have clocked that juniper as tanuki without seeing any nail holes. It has clearly been in training for a long time, but most of the living trunk does not follow the flow of the deadwood.

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Guest on Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:18 am

Khaimraj,
Classical & highly theocratic upbringing at a time when the world crazy was starting to really take hold (Vietnam), I try to keep an open mind, no light without dark, no problem without solution. The 20th century produced some truly great writers, I would send you my most cherished book dear friend, only, pm me your address, I don't think you want uninvited guests.
Matt

Jun,
"truth is singular... words are lies"
Singular is the tree.. 
Much when studied is not what it seems...
these are words and published photos...

Guest
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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:35 pm

Matt,

much thanks for the book offer. I also hope the group notes that if I offer something, it is for free.
Could p.m me with the title, thanking you in advance.

That said, an open mind on this topic would be - first a philosophical debate - Tanuki, what is it, how does it please or offend you and why.

Is it because it smacks of deception? Can there be deception with this type of practice, or is the improvement better and justifies the work done ?

Does everything that evolves have to follow rules from other countries?

Will there be one governing body for bonsai and one ultimate standard ?

Is any of this discussion really of any substance or has the hobbyist gone over the edge, and travelled into the realm of silliness. No one will die or mutate from bad to poor bonsai, nor will great bonsai change the world to harmony and respect for nature / living beings etc.

To competitions, to enter you have to respect the rules.

Or exhibit independently.

And so the conversation turned until the sun went down, and many fantasies were heard........
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

Post  Hoo on Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:09 pm



I can see why people don't view tanuki as bonsai

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Re: Fooled by Tanuki

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