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What is Bonsai? The absolute pleasure of bonsai is to show the landscape of nature.

About Bonsai (盆栽)

Bonsai is growing wild trees in the fields and mountains in a bonsai pot and enjoying the beauty of the form. The significant difference between Bonsai and simple potted plants is that they try to recreate “nature” in the pot by modifying the tree. The absolute pleasure of Bonsai is to show the landscape of nature through Bonsai.

Bonsai has been established as a Japanese culture because there are forms and rules for the way trees are tailored and the types. For example, it is considered to be a work of art that “Bon (pot)” and “Sai (tree)” are united. It’s not just about looking at the tree; it’s about how well it works with the pot.

Bonsai is to “tailor” the tree and enjoy it. It’s not just a matter of planting a tree in a pot; many different techniques must be used. For example, prune a branch, cut a root, bend a branch with wire, and so on. However, it is problematic for Bonsai that the artificial part should not be seen in the finish.
It is said that a good bonsai can condense the beauty and severity of nature and attract it rather than showing nature as it is.

There are many ways to express Bonsai, so it’s good to start with learning the basic tree shape.

The beginning of Bonsai

The roots of bonsai are said to be the “Bonkei,” which was practiced in China.
It was introduced to Japan in the Heian period. It is a method of planting trees by laying stones and soil on top of a tray to create a natural scene. It was called “Bonsan” and appeared in picture scrolls of the time.

From the Kamakura period to the Sengoku period, samurai also favored it widely.

In the Edo period (1603-1868), it became popular among the ordinary people and even more popular in the Meiji period (1868-1912).
It has also become a popular hobby of the upper classes, from political and business executives to cultural figures.

The current use of Bonsai

For a while, Bonsai had been shunned as a hobby for its time and effort, but since the 1990s, its reputation has skyrocketed overseas.
It’s not only Japanese people who feel an attachment to tiny seedlings as they change little by little every day; people worldwide also feel the same.
It is said that there are now more than 40 countries in the world who love BONSAI.

Nowadays in Japan, you can see more and more Bonsai in restaurants and general stores, which can be found in the palm of your hand. More and more people are putting Bonsai on their office desks and using it to refresh their tired eyes on a computer screen.

Enjoying the historic Japanese Bonsai and the casual Bonsai will be interesting.