World Bonsai Convention 2017 Part 1 – PINES

As many who were lucky enough to be at the WBC ’17 in Japan have said… The event was truly mind-blowing. Ryan Neil summed it up bang on: ‘The World Bonsai Convention was unprecedented and not soon to be repeated in terms of scale and talent. This event encompassed Japan’s monumental contribution and influence on an ever-evolving artform.’

Never had there been so many ‘Important Bonsai Masterpieces’, and Award Winning trees displayed under one roof. There were so many incredible trees, but I’ll just post a few pics and vids from the hundreds that I took… Dividing them up across a few different posts. Let’s start with Pines, then we’ll follow up with Junipers, Other Varieties, the Demonstrations and Trade Stand Trees. (Apologies for any strange angles… it was difficult at times to get good shots due to the crazy crowds).


Seiji Morimae’s ‘Bonsai Keiuman’ display. A modern display with many trees originally designed by Kimura.

A large White Pine at the Bonsai Keiuman display.

The famous Red Pine styled by Kimura. Mind-blowing trunk and bark.

It’s hard to describe this famous Akamatsu… It was definitely one of the show-stoppers. The sheer size of the trunk alone is incredible, but the bark is it’s undeniable feature. The bark plates are as deep as your hand. In the picture below I managed to capture the scale slightly better (compare the man’s arm at right of pic, with the bark plates on the trunk). I also managed to get a video of the tree (below), so you can get a better feel for this beautiful monster…

In the video above, a famous Black Pine from the Bonsai Keiuman collection. You’ll hopefully get a taste of how incredible this tree is. The bark is just extraordinary. No words…

Very old Red Pine from the Imperial Collection.

Large White Pine, Imperial Collection. Incredibly tight foliage.

Crowds viewing the giant 600 year old Black Pine from the Imperial Collection. Watch the video below to see the scale of this tree as someone waters it at the end of the clip… The sasha-eda (feature branch, lower left) extends roughly a metre out. Absolutely breath-taking and an incredible work of art.

Large spreading White Pine with great jins, and beautiful foliage pads.

Another giant spreading White Pine.

Beautiful cascade White Pine with amazing deadwood.

Deadwood detail…

The Black Pine from Takamatsu above was one of my absolute favourites, I returned to it time and time again throughout the convention to marvel at it. From the incredible foliage pad detail, to the awesome movement and bark, this tree really got me. The white extending candles made it look as though it was almost covered in snow from afar. Absolute beauty in every aspect.

The amazing pads…

Close up of the beautiful extending candles.

Black Pine, with awesome base, and great foliage pad separation/detail.

Lower right side.

Awesome base.

Big White Pine, with cool feature branch to the right…

Close up of the deadwood on the feature branch.

In the above footage I capture one of my favourite Red Pines, another famous one from Kimura’s garden. A twisting masterpiece… In ‘The Apprenticeship’ below, Ryan Neil talks about his study under Masahiko Kimura (which I recommend if you haven’t yet seen it). From about 7:52s – 8:02s Ryan walks up to this tree in Kimura’s garden and says ‘Probably the best tree I’ve ever seen in my life’. That was maybe around 2008 or so, and the tree has progressed a lot since then…

A famous White Pine from the Funayama Collection, this was the amazing collection of Akiei Funayama. Incredible trees… I bumped in to Jonas of bonsaitonight.com photographing trees, check out his post on this collection here.

Another massive Black Pine with insane bark. Great character to this beast.

Trunk and bark detail. Check those bark plates!

The interior… Again, check the thickness of that bark!

Above shows a fantastic formal upright Black Pine, with amazing bark extending right to the tips, very old.

A very cool twisty literati Black Pine.

Incredible Black Pine with swirling trunk, another of my absolute favourites of the convention…

Detail of the amazing trunk.

Above, a beautiful old twin trunk White Pine, with amazing shari detail running up the trunk…

Great White Pine with fantastic needles.

Beautiful foliage.

A killer Shohin White Pine!

Detail of the exposed roots/trunk.

A large full cascade White Pine.

Trunk detail. Incredible needles on this tree too.

Cascade Black Pine in crescent.

Deadwood on another awesome little White Pine.

Picture perfect White Pine on rock.

Rock planting detail. Accent plantings, often chojubai and azalea, were top notch in terms of both placement and refinement.

Up next we’ll have some of our favourite Junipers from the World Bonsai Convention, stay tuned, cheers!