What Happened On This Date in "Recent" Bonsai History?
2006 -- Lindsay Farr of Australia launched the WorldOfBonsai project's
Each biweekly episode is approximately 10 minutes long and includes material filmed in Japan recently
and in China a few years previously. Persons interviewed include Hiroshi Takeyama (Chairman of the Nippon Bonsai Association),
Masahiko Kimura, Toshifumi Obitsu, Yangzhou's Master Lin, the late Master Xu Xiaobai, and Masahiro Kurihara.
Japanese production nurseries are seen, as well as the bonsai pot factories and kilns in Yixing, China.
A total of about 20 episodes is planned. "The new series has me in
an inspired communication mode. This is so much more than a tv program about bonsai
could ever be. Because the users must download the program they acknowledge a real
interest in the subject matter. No dumbing down required. The content is awesome.
Much of it in Japanese with english subtitles... I believe it can be as entertaining
and informative to the learned scholar as it is to the newby." The series is being permanently
archived. Another location for downloading is
(personal e-mails from Lindsay to RJB on May 20, May 22, and Jul 31, 2006) SEE ALSO: Mar 4, May 20, Oct 1
1987 -- Mr. Yamanakajima of Kaitani, Japan died in an
accident. He was one of the last collectors of the naturally
dwarfed shimpaku junipers (
growing in the mountains in Niigata Prefecture near the western coast
of Honshu. Called Itoigawa Shimpaku in reference to the town
there where they were bought and sold after being collected, these
specimens have been highly prized by bonsai enthusiasts for a
("The Shimpaku Juniper: Its Secret
History, Chapter VIII: Supply Diminished, Dangers Increased" and
"Chapter IV: Famous Collector, Tahei Suzuki" by Kazuki Yamanaka,
Kindai Bonsai Magazine, June 2003, translated by Ikuyo Shisaka for World Bonsai Friendship Federation,
) SEE ALSO: May 4
|6||1960 -- Frank Ekizo Iura along with several fellow bonsai and suiseki enthusiasts founded the Los Angeles Bonsai Club. [The Los Angeles Bonsai Club initially would be exclusively for Japanese men and the meetings were only in Japanese. The club's annual exhibitions would be highly anticipated in the bonsai community. The final gathering of members would be held in February 1998.] ("Over 50 years, bonsai clubs in Southern California growing," Cultural News June 2006, http://bonsai.culturalnews.net/bonsaiclub.html, excerpted from the article "Bonsai in Los Angeles: A History of the Early Years, 1933-1975" by Ray Yeager. Photo of Iura and associates can be found on pg. 1 of California Aiseki Kai May 2007 newsletter, http://www.aisekikai.com/resources/may+newsletter+07.pdf) SEE ALSO: Feb 19, Mar 18, Mar 20|
1927 -- Jerald Page Stowell was born in Kalamazoo, MI. The middle of three brothers who survived beyond
infancy out of ten births, his parents were a papermill worker and a housewife. [And while his older and
younger brothers would be taught boxing and hunting by their father, Jerry would be subject to hospitalizations,
including one year in a body cast for a condition which arose during childhood. Jerry would have special
state-provided schooling that would eventually result in his career as an occupational therapist and a commercial
illustrator. While in New York in 1954 after graduation, he would encounter the bonsai trees at the Brooklyn
Botanic Gardens and for six weeks make the trip in the evenings to take the course given there. He would begin
collecting plant material for bonsai in 1955: apples pruned by cows in an old abandoned orchard in Brookfield, CT.
He would plant them in wooden nail kegs, having no knowledge regarding bonsai containers. In April 1957 he would
find Tatsuo Ishimoto's year-old book The Art of Growing Miniature Trees, Plants and Landscapes. By his own
admission, the information therein would be of little value with the arrangements depicted looking like dish gardens.
A month later, Jerry would purchase Norio Kobayashi's 1951 Bonsai -- Miniature Potted Trees. The small volume
illustrated with over 100 b&w photos he would describe as being "a GOLD MINE of information." In 1959 he would
study under Yuji Yoshimura. In 1963 Jerry would be temporary chairman
of the original group of 18 persons who'd meet formally to organize the Bonsai Society of Greater New York with
Yoshimura's help and become its charter president. Four years later his efforts helped 17 Americans
travel to Japan to study under the master Kyuzo Murata. On the
return flight, Jerry and several others would decide that bonsai in this country needed a focus larger than the varied
groups scattered about, and out of the New York club came the American Bonsai Society. (Not all of the New York
people would agree with the decision, including Yoshimura.) Jerry would be the first president (1967-69)
of the ABS. Five more trips to Japan -- where the blue-eyed and bald Stowell would make quite an impression -- three
books (Bonsai: Indoors and Out (1966), Indoor Bonsai (1967 handbook with W.P. Cooper), and The Beginner's
Guide to American Bonsai (1978), almost two dozen articles for ABS Bonsai Journal (1967-2001), seven articles
(one having two parts) for International Bonsai Magazine (1980-95), seven articles
and book reviews for BCI Bonsai Magazine (1997-2003), several convention engagements and club demonstrations, and scores
of wild-collected trees later, Jerry would be re-creating with plants and rocks in a wooden container for the
International Scholarly Symposium in 2002 the pre-bonsai tray landscape as portrayed in the 1309 Japanese
Kasuga Gongen Kenkie
scroll. He also would write the article on Bonsai for the "Japan Art History" section (Vol. 17, pp. 365-368) of
The Dictionary of Art edited by Jane Turner (Oxford University Press, 1996). He would receive
the 1997 American Bonsai Society Distinguished Achievement Award. In October 2000 he would give a lecture/demo
on the subject of mycorrhizae at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.]
Jerry Stowell, 04/13/2003
(Photo courtesy of Alan Walker, 05/11/07)
Jerry Stowell's Growing Benches in New Jersey, 05/1999("ABS News: Meet the Directors," Bonsai Journal, ABS, Vol. 4, No. 3, Fall 1970, pg. 16, which incorrectly gives the year of study with Yoshimura as 1957; letters to RJB from JPS, 10/26/2000 and 12/27/2000; conversations with RJB during and program from the International Scholarly Symposium on Bonsai and Viewing Stones, 05/18/2002, Washington, D.C.; "Jerry Stowell," posting by bonsaistud, 2 May 2010, http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/announcements-f5/jerry-stowell-t2925.htm) ) SEE ALSO: Jan 12, Apr 20, Apr 25, Jun 15
"There are two sections, to the left of picture, deciduous trees, crabapples, maples, hornbeams, Japanese and Chinese quince, accent plants and a few azaleas.
To the right are the evergreens, pines, spruces, junipers, and larch. There are about 200 individual trees on benches.
I have another area with about the same amount of plant material in various stages of training.
The area is enclosed with an 8 ft. Fence to keep out the deer population."
(Photo courtesy of Jerry to RJB, 12/27/00)
1973 -- David Benavente was born in Madrid, Spain. [He would first hear about the art in 1987 as a consequence of the Madrid Bonsai Club's annual exhibition. With his parents' support he would begin to cultivate trees and then in 1992 he would join the Alcobendas Bonsai Association's Executive Board. In 1994 and '95 David would work as a bonsai potter, and begin working for Luis Vallejo's Bonsai Studio as keeper of Alcobendas Bonsai Museum (built during that time as part of the so-called Japanese Garden of Arroyo de la Vega park). In 1996 part of a bonsai collection of 80 trees donated by Felipe González to the Madrid's Royal Botany Garden would become part of David's charges. (González, b.1942, was the Spanish Prime Minister from 1982 to 1996. On his retirement, he would give one of his treasured bonsai to each of his ministers as a parting present. The trees were carefully trimmed during his 13 years at the Moncloa residence and would be amassed as one of the largest collections in Europe.) The Museum's permanent collection, as of 2003, would include 60 bonsai as property of the Alcobendas' townhall, and also 17 from González' collection. (González' other bonsai would be housed in a new pavillion completed by June 1997 in the Botanical Gardens.) Other trees of private collectors would be added to the Alcobendas' permanent collection. David would go on assist Holland's bonsai master Hotsumi Terakawa at demonstrations in Madrid and enter his own trees in various international events. He would write articles for several international magazines.]
Luis Vallejo, 01/08/99
(Photo courtesy of Alan Walker, 05/11/07)
Hotsumi Terakawa, 09/10/02("David Benavente," http://www.davidbenavente.com/primeraingles.htm et al, accessed 09/23/2004; James, Barry "Basques and Catalans Drive Tough Bargain With Aznar," http://www.iht.com/IHT/BJ/96/bj043096.html; Internet posting to firstname.lastname@example.org (hard copy kept by RJB) by Bob Thompson, 1 May 1996 referencing a Reuters news story.) SEE ALSO: Dec 18
(Photo courtesy of Alan Walker, 05/11/07)
1983 -- A new entrance garden and walkway to the Japanese Bonsai Pavilion at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. was dedicated. Leading visitors to the entire Bonsai Complex, the garden was a gift of the D.C. Chapter No. 1, Ikebana International. ( International Bonsai, 1983/No. 2, pg. 27) SEE ALSO: Mar 20, May 2, Aug 26, Sep 30, Oct 1, Oct 15