What Happened On This Day in "Recent" Bonsai History?
|22||1918 -- Toshio T. Saburomaru was born in Hollister, CA, about 100 miles southeast of San Francisco and 40 miles east of Monterey. [He would raised in California and Japan. Returning to the States, he would later serve in the Army during World War II. ] (http://ssdmf.info/by_birthdate/19181222.html; "Deaths," paloaltoonline, Apr 24, 1996, http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/morgue/community_pulse/1996_Apr_24.OBITS24.html) SEE ALSO: Apr 16|
1989 -- Australian teacher Leonard "Lenny" Webber died at age 80. (He became interested in bonsai while stationed as a soldier in the
Occupying Forces in Japan
after World War II, was one of the first Australians to take up bonsai after being exposed to it, and developed an extensive
collection at his Sydney area home. He opened the Silver Bell Nursery in 1951. (The first Vita Koreshoff nursery was
also opened that year.) Webber eventually became a sensei at the Ryde Horticultural School in the late 1960s and awarded
completing students two different TAFE certificates.
His specialty was Ficus bonsai. He developed the Rainforest style, designed to emulate the tall, slender trees
which grow in the rainforests as they reach for the
available light at the top of the rainforest canopy. In 1969 at Ryde, Webber presented, for the first time, a bonsai
exhibition consisting solely of native Australian trees. About seventeen percent of the plants were Ficus species.)
(In 1985, his Bonsai For the Home and Garden was published. Also that year, some of his collection was acquired by Ithaca College of TAFE in Brisbane for use as a teaching aid and was later moved to Grovely TAFE.)
[While under the curatorship of TAFE, the staff and students would add a number of plants to the collection. In 1992 his From Rainforest to Bonsai: Bonsai in Australian Native Plants would be [re?-]published. The Brisbane Botanic Gardens - Mt Coot-tha The Bonsai House would be opened in November 1999 and be situated next to the Japanese Garden, an inspiring addition to the Gardens plant collections. The bonsai collection would be comprised of three separate groups which rotate on show. Unfortunately, many of Webber's original trees would have died due to the change of climate but the collection would be built up over the years with the aid of local bonsai enthusiasts to further illustrate different bonsai styles and to display a range of suitable species of plants for bonsai. The decision to move the collection to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha would ensure that Queensland residents and visitors had greater access to a large established collection of bonsai.] (Posting in AusBonsai.com by Grant Bowie, 23 Mar 2010; "Brisbane Botanic Gardens-Bonsai House Collection," http://www.bonsai4me.com/Gallery/GalleryBrisbanebotanic.htm; Webber, Leonard C. "Bonsai Group Research Exhibition," Bonsai Magazine, BCI, Vol. XV, No. 1, pp. 21-22; "Dennis McDermott, 2009 Ideas Summit Demonstrators, http://sob.ausbonsai.com/Nu2009_IdeasSummit_demonstrators.htm; "The Brisbane Botanic Gardens - Mt Coot-tha," http://www.bonsaishoponline.com/bia/country/au_qld/au_qld_botanic_garden.shtml; Australian Plants as Bonsai Study Group Newsletter, No. 4, June 2003, pg. 2 http://asgap.org.au/bonsai/apab-04.pdf; article with b&w photo of Webber here: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/51588628?searchTerm=Leonard%20Webber%20bonsai&searchLimits=) SEE ALSO: Jan 28, Nov Also, Dec 16.
1998 -- Kai Kawahara, long-time sensei of the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society (and Denver Bonsai Club before that) died a couple of weeks short of his 79th birthday. ("Persons born 05 January 1920 in the Social Security Death Master File," http://ssdmf.info/by_birthdate/19200105.html) SEE ALSO: Jan 5, FebAlso, Mar 18.
1997 -- Second generation bonsai artist and master,
Yuji Yoshimura, "the father of bonsai
in the non-Oriental world," died in Boston, Massachusetts at age 76.
(Profile of an Artist" by William N. Valavanis,
Bonsai Journal, ABS, Spring 1998, pp. 8-9)
SEE ALSO: Jan 12, Feb 27, Apr 23, Jul 17
2003 -- Teacher Masaharu "Mas" Imazumi of Berkeley, California died at age 86. (Born in the U.S., he moved with his family to Fukuoka, Japan when he was three months old and lived there until he was thirteen years old. His father then moved them back to the U.S. where he served in the Army during WWII. He started gardening right after the war, the only way he could get a job. That led to interest in landscaping, and when a job in that field came up, Mas took it and started creating gardens, especially Japanese style ones. In 1955 Homei Iseyama was asked by Mas' year-old Fuji Bonsai Club (the second oldest in California) to teach them bonsai. (Mas had known and studied under Iseyama shortly before the Fuji club was started.) One rule Iseyama-san and the club had was that members were not allowed to teach outside the club. Respecting that rule and his sensei, Mas did not begin teaching bonsai until after Iseyama-san's death towards the end of 1975. At that time Mas arranged a retrospective show of Iseyama's work in San Francisco at the Miyako Hotel in Japan Town. Mas then taught all over the country and all over the world. At least five times he was demonstrator at Golden State Bonsai Federation conventions. He contributed articles to BCI's Bonsai Magazine and was the one of six persons thanked for advice and specimens photographed for the 1994 third edition of the book Sunset Bonsai. Mas retired on June 1, 2002 due to declining health during the past couple of years.)
Mas Imazumi critiquing for Alan Walker, 05/14/2000.
(Photo courtesy of Alan Walker, 05/11/07)
(Homei Iseyama, one of three early bonsai teachers in the San Francisco Bay area, was a teacher of Mas Imazumi. Iseyama, born in Japan in 1890 and a graduate of the Nippon Imperial University in Tokyo in the early 1900s, came to the U.S. as a banker but soon changed his calling to landscaping and bonsai. During WWII Iseyama was forced to leave his forty-year-old bonsai behind when he was forced by the U.S. government to move to the Abraham/Topaz Internment Camp just west of central Utah. "When he came back those trees had grown over six feet. His caucasian friends, who were taking care of them, didn't know how to care of trees, so they let them grow. When he came back, he saw those trees, and he had to restyle them completely." "...[Iseyama] was an artist in many fields - students have come from Japan to study under him; his paintings and sculptures are models of perfection. In Bonsai he specialized in maples, many of which graced his beautiful garden in Oakland. While in the Topaz Lake Internment camp he made his sculpturing tools from discarded files, etc., to continue creating beauty even under those distressing conditions. (He also made a teapot and 5 cups and suzuri (inkwells for calligraphy) out of local slate he found in the fields.) For years he taught Bonsai at the Fuji Bonsai Club in Berkeley and the Shikishima Club in Concord, California. He shared his vast store of Bonsai knowledge with many of the clubs of Northern California, and was the bonsai judge for the California State Fair for many years. The Bonsai Issue of the Journal of the California Horticultural Society, XXI #2 for April 1960 has a picture of his garden on the cover and an article which he wrote. He was the teacher of many of the best Bonsai teachers in Northern California..." Iseyama died in Nov. 1975.)
(The Fuji Bonsai was founded in 1954 by Kusuo "Jimmy" Inatomi. Born in Honolulu in 1920 and moved to Japan when he was 3 years old, he also spent WWII in the Abraham/Topaz, Utah Internment Camp. He then settled in Castro Valley in 1950, when he started a nursery dedicated to bonsai. Inatomi continued to provide technical guidance to East Bay bonsai enthusiasts as late as 2010.) ("Mas Imazumi" by Boon Manakitivipart, Bonsai Magazine, BCI, Jan-March 2004, pg. 11; "Sad news" thread on bonsaiTALK.com, with pictures of Mas, http://forum.bonsaitalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5203, "Napa Valley Bonsai Club Newsletter," July 2002, http://www.napa-valley-bonsai.org/July%2002.pdf ; "In Tribute" submitted by Gil. Pitman, Bonsai Magazine, BCI, Vol. XV, No. 5, June 1976, pg. 158; "Masaharu 'Mas' Imazumi," excerpted from an interview by Jay Capachi on July 19, 1997, http://web.archive.org/web/19981206122925/http://www.acreagebroker.com/mas.htm; "Individual Record -- Homei Iseyama," http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/SSDI/individual_record.asp?recid=556504852&lds=3®ion=-1®ionfriendly=&frompage=99; Kennicott, Philip "'The Art of Gaman': Life behind walls we were too scared to live without," The Washington Post, March 28, 2010, https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/26/AR2010032600115.html; "Agricultural Society of Japan Honors Bonsai Club Founder," 03-20-2010, http://www.hokubei.com/ja/news/2010/03/Agricultural-Society-Japan-Honors-Bonsai-Club-Founder; "MILITARY: Japanese Detention Camp (Abraham/Topaz) Higuchi-Ishida; Millard co., Utah," http://files.usgwarchives.net/ut/millard/military/jap-det/03.txt; http://files.usgwarchives.net/ut/millard/military/jap-det/code.txt ) SEE ALSO: Feb 28, Mar 4, Jun 17, Sep Also, Nov 3, Nov 6
1999 -- A reception to honor Harry Hirao was hosted by Mr. James Folsom,
Director of the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. Over
100 of Harry's friends were present to honor him on the opening evening
of California Aiseki Kai's tenth annual Suiseki and Viewing Stone Exhibition.
Seven of Harry's very large black Eel River Viewing Stones had been donated
to the Golden State Bonsai Federation Collection at the Huntington the
previous summer. Each was now displayed on a large marble-like pedestal
(plinth) in the entranceway to the recently expanded bonsai display area.
Touching of the viewing stones is permitted.
Harry Hirao, 10/12/2002.("A Tribute to Harry Hirao" by Bill Hutchinson, Bonsai Today, 2000-5, No. 69, pp. 56-57) SEE ALSO: Jan 1, Mar 12, May 9, Oct 1, Nov 3
(Photo courtesy of Alan Walker, 05/11/07)
1960 -- Marc Noelanders was born in Eastern Belgium. [He would be influenced by
eastern mysticism that would drive him at an early age of 13 years to Karate.
He would train for several years up to the international level when his Master would
want him to learn Bonsai to balance the ying and yang of his personality. Marc
would never look back. He would stay for a long time in Japan, initially only
watering, fertilizing and pruning trees in a standard program until he would be allowed
to work on trees. He would work under Japanese masters like Masahiko Kimura.
He would be recognized by many, including the late John Naka, for his comprehensive
knowledge of the trees he works with, and for his ability to capture perfection and yet
maintain the ruggedness of his subject. Marc would teach throughout Europe and in
Russia, India, Canada, and the United States. He would demonstrate at conventions
for the European Bonsai Association (1992, 1995, 1999), Bonsai Clubs International (1997),
International Bonsai Arboretum (1997), and Golden State Bonsai Federation (1999). He
would take care of the gardens of the Queen of Belgium, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Gore,
among others. His book Bonsai Art would be published in 1998 with
forewords by John Y. Naka and Paul Lesniewicz. Marc would pass on his knowledge
and skill to small groups of pupils during the weekends. His initiative would start the Noelanders
Trophy in 2000 by organizing a contest show for quality bonsai in a Japanese setting. A
suitable venue would be found in the Convention Centre of the Belgium town of Heusden-Zolder.
The first show would be very modest,
however with every year that followed it would be expanded both in space and quality of bonsai.]
Marc Noelanders working on a Taxus, 11/17/2002.(Balbir, Shyama "An Unforgettable Visit by Marc Noelanders," Indian Bonsai Association, 2007 Bulletin Board, pg. 9; "Marc Noelanders To Be In Houston," Houston Bonsai Society, Inc., August 2005 The Bonsai News of Houston, pg. 1; "Anniversary of the Noelanders Trophy," Bonsai Focus, 2/2009, March/April, #120, pg. 44)
(Photo courtesy of Alan Walker, 05/11/07)
1942 -- Thomas S. Elias was born in Cairo, Illinois. [He would attend Southern Illinois
University where he would receive undergraduate and graduate degrees in Botany. In 1969 he would complete a Ph.D. in Biology from
St. Louis University with a dissertation on the taxonomic study of the genus of
plants in the coffee family. After completing his graduate work, he would become the Assistant Curator of the
Arnold Arboretum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During the years
between 1971 and 1984, he would work as Dendrologist and Assistant Director of the
at the New York Botanical Garden, and hold the position of Adjunct Professor at the
College of Environmental Science and Forestry of Syracuse University.
In 1984 he would be appointed the Director of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in
California and, at the same time, serve as Chairman of the Department of Botany at the
Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California. Dr. Tom would continue
in both of these positions until he assumed his duties as the fifth Director of the
U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. on November 28, 1993.]
[There, in addition to his many other duties, he would play a key role in the development and oversight of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. During his tenure as Director, the Museum would undergo considerable expansion of its physical plant and extensive expansion of its living collections, library, and museum artifacts. Dr. Tom would be instrumental in obtaining hundreds of rare and out-of-print books and serial publications, particularly from Japan, for the Museum's collections. He would serve since 2000 as the historian for Bonsai Clubs International's Bonsai Magazine, contributing nearly a dozen articles including the important two-part series "Mansei-en and The Kato Family" (2001). He would also serve as International Consultant to the World Bonsai Friendship Federation. A detailed History of the Introduction and Establishment of Bonsai in the Western World would be presented by him at the 2002 International Scholarly Symposium on Bonsai and Viewing Stones and then be expanded for the 2005 WWBF Convention, also in Washington, D.C.]
[Dr. Tom would study the plants of Asia and North America for many years and be the author of at least seven books and over 130 scientific and popular papers and articles on wild plants, trees, and threatened species in America. He would win several awards and honors, including an honorary doctorate from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow (2003) for his direction, over a period of more than 20 years, of a botanical exchange program between the United States and Russia (Soviet Union)]
[Retiring from the National Arboretum at the end of 2009, Dr. Elias and his wife, Dr. Hiromi Nakaoji, would move to Claremont, CA. Their book, Chrysanthemum Stones: The Story of Stone Flowers would be published at the end of 2010. With Dr. Nakaoji, Dr. Tom would then start growing the awesome Viewing Stone Association of North America web site, developed in response to the growing interest in Asian and, especially, Chinese stone appreciation among English speaking audiences.]
1961 -- The Midori Bonsai Club of San Jose, CA was founded.
("Who's Who in North American Bonsai,"
Also this month,
1988 -- Richard "Dick" B. Shaner died unexpectedly at his new home in southeast Missouri at age 71. (Born in England, he had moved with his family to Hawthorne, CA when he was only three years old. Until very recently, Southern California had been his home. He and his wife Dixie had helped found both the Santa Anita Bonsai Society (1965) and the Golden State Bonsai Federation (1978). Dick had been Executive Director of the Bonsai Clubs International, guiding and on hand at all of the conventions until about 1982. He and Dixie had been co-editors of BCI's Bonsai Magazine from the fall of 1976 until the fall of 1982. Dick's interests included bonsai, photography, stamp collecting, computers, and general gardening. He had retired as an Engineer in Chip Design from Kim Lighting, and had moved to Missouri just this past fall.)