Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  buddhamonk on Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:23 am

Maybe I can add a little bit to the discussion. I visited the nursery last year during kokufu 85th and saw this old juniper. According to one of the apprentice there, this tree was a special, well known tree in nature which was at some point illegally collected. It was found later on and placed in this nursery to be cared for so that I wouldn't go to waste. It has not even been shaped after all these years. Basically, no one meant for this tree to be a bonsai other than the crooks who thought they could make a quick buck but instead were busted and that's how the tree ended up there. It's not about ego...

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Mansei-en

Post  kora on Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:34 am

Yes indeed, the first ? usually is regarding the age of the tree-I have always been opposed to labeling the age of the bonsai at exhibition-some clubs state the years " in training" I don't care for that term either. So maybe we should rethink this whole age bit.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:50 am




digitalbeachbum wrote: Taking a 2,000 juniper out of the ground and putting it in a tray does not make it a 2,000 year old bonsai.

Amen.

That kind of bs drives me crazy. "How old is it?" and "How long has it been in training?" are 2 vastly different questions, but they're usually not treated as such especially when the unsuspecting public is involved. The answer is usually the age of the tree and besides being incredibly misleading, it's usually a guess at best and a flat out lie at worst.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  digitalbeachbum on Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:43 am

buddhamonk wrote:Maybe I can add a little bit to the discussion. I visited the nursery last year during kokufu 85th and saw this old juniper. According to one of the apprentice there, this tree was a special, well known tree in nature which was at some point illegally collected. It was found later on and placed in this nursery to be cared for so that I wouldn't go to waste. It has not even been shaped after all these years. Basically, no one meant for this tree to be a bonsai other than the crooks who thought they could make a quick buck but instead were busted and that's how the tree ended up there. It's not about ego...

Why has it not been released back in to the wild? What is the purpose of keeping it if it isn't meant to be a bonsai?

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  marcus watts on Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:17 am

buddhamonk wrote:Maybe I can add a little bit to the discussion. I visited the nursery last year during kokufu 85th and saw this old juniper. According to one of the apprentice there, this tree was a special, well known tree in nature which was at some point illegally collected. It was found later on and placed in this nursery to be cared for so that I wouldn't go to waste. It has not even been shaped after all these years. Basically, no one meant for this tree to be a bonsai other than the crooks who thought they could make a quick buck but instead were busted and that's how the tree ended up there. It's not about ego...

maybe not totally accurate.....here is an alternative story to the collecting of this tree - (i recommend you read the entire article as there is a lot to learn, but for those who cant be bothered here is the link to this trees' part in history)The materpiece hiryu

It was collected and documented by one of the last permitted mountain men - I see it as his legacy before the last legal collector died and the remaining trees became protected. Who knows how accurate the apprentices' knowledge was of history? . . knowone will know for sure, but the article i linked to is thoroughly researched and full of historical facts.

Regarding age - who cares........i could probably make a 25 year old tree look older than a wild tree of 75 with technique and styling. A restyled tree can have the foliage totally rejuvinated, same as the roots, so timescale means nothing and should not be associated to collected trees. The only interesting 'age fact' would be......"started from seed 80 years ago, etc".

I airlayered a branch from a juniper that was a known mature specimen in 1968/69, the tree will have been alive for at least 85 years. I gave the layered tree to a lady in our bonsai club, does she own an 85 year old tree or a 6 month old one?? I dont think it matters at all and I think no guessed ages should be added to show plaques.

cheers Marcus

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Glaucus on Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:45 am

Pretty cool. Makes me want to go to Japan too which I may do. Going to take some pictures in Kanuma if I go.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Brian Van Fleet on Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:34 pm

The new Bonsai Focus 146/123 (July '13) has a fantastic 10-page article on the development of this old itoigawa, going back to nearly it's collection, up through recent styling by Mr. Kimura, translated by Peter Warren. It's outstanding!

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Todd Ellis on Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:51 am

The juniper would surely die if returned to the wild because it was collected with very few roots. According to the Bonsai Focus article, new roots had to be grafted on to it. I enjoyed reading this article and learned a lot!

Thanks for posting the photos of this awesome bonsai nursery. I am sorry to hear about the trees dying due to the toxic copper run-off...even the experts make mistakes.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

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