Bonsai tree: Kimura’s American Apprentice

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bonsai tree: Kimura’s American Apprentice


Ryan Neil working on one of Masahiko Kimura’s most famous trees. Photo from The Art of Bonsai Project.

Coming Next Weekend

Ryan Neil is appearing at The Bonsai Society of Upstate New York on September 13th. Ryan spent six years apprenticing to the world’s most famous bonsai master, Masahiko Kimura. If you live in the vicinity (or if you don’t mind traveling) you can see him demonstrate on a collected juniper and answer questions about being an apprentice in Japan, Master Kimura, bonsai, or whatever comes up.

A little piece of an interview with Ryan to whet your appetite (from The Art of Bonsai)

AoB: Why Kimura? Certainly you could have apprenticed with another master, some even closer to home and with less cultural differences, so what made you choose Kimura?

Ryan: After I past the initial phase of excitement upon discovering bonsai it didn’t take long before I started exhausting my resources for self study. Out of the blue a family friend handed me an issue of Bonsai Today that she found at a garden center and it just so happened Mr. Kimura’s work on a cascading shinpaku was the main article in that issue. I was mesmerized by what he was doing with the tree and the manner in which he brought about such change. It was like watching him sculpt a personality and give life to something already living, a second birth of sorts. As I gathered back issues of bonsai magazines that contained Mr. Kimura’s work I became more and more enthralled with the way he was able to tease so much interest and expression out of a tree. Contrary to the sedentary image of a classical Japanese bonsai, Mr. Kimura’s work had life and vigor, it talked, and moved, and always seemed to tell a story (a theme his work maintains to this day). Like many other western bonsai practitioners, Mr. Kimura’s work opened my mind to what a bonsai could be.

Post Dated & The Magician

Michael Hagedorn’s excellent book
on being a bonsai apprentice in Japan is now on special at Stone Lantern. The Magician, The Bonsai Art of Kimura 2 is also on special.

Source: Bonsai Bark


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