Over bonsai of most species and styles are displayed at the most prestigious bonsai exhibition in the world with the longest history, the Kokufu-ten. Together with travel agency, Nippon Express, we have assembled a unique tour to the Kokufu-ten and the famous bonsai gardens of Japan. Besides this, there. First held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in with the aim of improving bonsai art and developing traditional Japanese culture, the “Kokufu Bonsai.

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Elias, originally on pg. Bonsai of the World, Book I Japan: World Bonsai Friendship Federation,pp. Japan Travel Bureau, Inc. Valavanis, especially while the latter was in Tokyo during the show.

And material from the discussion thread, http: Please do take a look at these blogs: Bjorn Bjorholm bio excerpt from his website, http: This now eight-day February national exhibit of bonsai is the largest and most prestigious of all bonsai shows worldwide. The Nippon Bonsai Association NBAthe official sponsor of the event, has worked diligently over many years to insure that only the finest bonsai in Japan are displayed.

To win one of the several prizes or sho awarded greatly enhances the career of the stylist and honors the owner of the outstanding tree.

In a given year there may be anywhere from one to five of the prizes awarded. However, the Kokufu-sho is not given if there is not a worthy tree. Once a tree does win the prize, it is never again eligible for another Kokufu-sho but it still can be entered additional times for display only. The Kokufu-sho is a “trophy” as a simple shikishi board, used for paintings.

It is gold-colored with kanji characters which read kokuvu Prize. The shikishi board is often displayed with the bonsai when exhibited in other shows. It is common for the top Kokufu Prize bonsai from the February exhibition to be displayed along with the board at the Taikan exhibition the following November. This outstanding, four-day national exhibit of bonsai is the largest and best of the late season shows, first held in This is another of the exhibits that is held for hobbyists, although many of the better trees have been styled and maintained by bonsai professionals.

The Kokufu Ten is set up on Friday and Saturday. The awards are given to the bonsai after the show is set up a few days before the opening, without ceremony. The show does not ,okufu until Tuesday. View of kokuru 92nd Kokufu ten,Part I, before the main crowds.

90th Kokufu-ten Exhibition – 2016

The small plaque on top is kokudu for an Important Bonsai Masterpiece. The kokkfu gold plaque is for the Kokufu Prize. Important Bonsai Masterpieces or kicho bonsai have been designated by the Nippon Bonsai Association as special masterpieces because of their beauty or rarity of the species. Once a year, new trees are entered for evaluation by the owners of the bonsai. There are perhaps kpkufu Important Masterpiece Bonsai now.

They can be identified by small metal tags hanging on a branch or a silver colored metal plaque. These are often displayed on or next to a bonsai when on display. They are automatically teh for display in the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition. Part 1 of the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition had exhibits with a total of more than individual bonsai specimens. These included large-size, 41 medium-size, and four shohin compositions with 23 individual trees.


It is interesting to note the current way of creating shohin bonsai compositions: It faces one way or the other, but it always leads your eye to a side bonsai lower down, often a cascade style evergreen. This style of display is often seen as boring or static, however, by Westerners. Five outstanding bonsai were selected for the coveted Kokufu Award for this first Part.

There were 18 Important Bonsai Masterpieces or kicho bonsai in the exhibition. Part 2 of the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition had exhibits with a total of about individual ko,ufu specimens.

These included large-size, 43 medium-size, and four shohin compositions with 24 individual trees. Four outstanding bonsai were selected for the coveted Kokufu Award for this second Part.

There were 19 Important Bonsai Masterpieces or kicho bonsai in the exhibition. Kokufu Prize,Part 1: Sargent Juniper Juniperus chinensis. Trident maple Acer buergerianum.

Japanese black pine Pinus thunbergii. Chinese quince Pseudocydonia sinensis. Japanese black pine Pinus thunbergiiDwarf kumquat Fortunella sp. ChojubaiSargent juniper Juniperus chinensisPrivet Ligustrum sp.

Kokufu Prize,Part 2: Needle juniper Juniperus rigida. Congratulations go to Shinji Suzuki whose clients won three out of these four Kokufu Prize winners. He is responsible for displaying and preparing the bonsai for his clients, but not necessarily for their creation. Masterpiece bonsai of this quality take many decades to develop and are bought and sold frequently.

Each time they change hands they usually improve in quality. It is not uncommon to see a famous bonsai in different gardens every year. Masahiko Kimura had worked on 55 pieces that were on display, which is down from over 70 a few years ago. Still, that’s a staggering number to be proud of considering about bonsai were displayed this year.

For the past few years there have been new backgrounds in the main gallery where most of the larger-size bonsai are displayed. The old backgrounds were beige, smooth and shiny and are still being used in the other three galleries.

The new ones are white with a slight texture like burlap and a bit reflective, making the entire room bright white and showing quite a difference and improvement from the past exhibitions. The trees also photograph better. The LED lighting is a bit harsh on many trees and some are nearly impossible to photograph. But, it is important to remember that this exhibition is set up to display the beauty of the bonsai, not to provide a venue for people to photograph the trees.

The previous year, the 4th Nippon Suiseki Exhibition was held simultaneously with the 91st Kokufu Ten, from February Over fine quality suiseki were on display from Japan and around the world. Part 1 of the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition had exhibits. These included five spectacular shohin compositions and each of these had at least five trees. Additionally there were 44 medium-size compositions, each having a minimum of two main bonsai, plus companion plantings.

That makes a total of more than individual bonsai specimens in Part 1.


92nd Kokufu-ten, 2018

Six outstanding bonsai were selected for the coveted Kokufu Award for this first Part. There were 24 Important Bonsai Masterpieces or kicho bonsai in the exhibition. For Part 2, all of the trees from the first Part 1 were removed, except for the Imperial Bonsai Display and two other special exhibits, and they were replaced by another display areas including 51 medium-size exhibits and six shohin bonsai compositions. Important Bonsai Masterpieces twn ten in total for this part.

Five outstanding bonsai were tej for the Kokufu Award for the second Part. Attendance for the 90th Kokufu Ten was estimated at about 20, people.

Parts 1 and 2 each had display areas; however, there were a great number medium-size bonsai which usually include two or more trees. In Part 2 there were only four shohin bonsai compositions which each had more than five specimens. So there were actually approximately individual bonsai on display. That year, for the first time in modern history, photographs were allowed, but without flash. Visitors had cell phones snapping away, as well as some with larger kokyfu.

A few twn earlier some visitors had complained to the Nippon Bonsai Association that the click of cameras bothered their appreciation of the bonsai.

Beginning with the 60th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition inthe Nippon Bonsai Association has commemorated every tenth anniversary year kokufuu holding the exhibition in two parts.

In order tenn present more bonsai recently also, the events in and were scheduled in two parts, each lasting four days with a switch-out day between when all the trees would be changed on Saturday. The first part of ‘s Exhibition the 88th, Feb. These are automatically accepted into the show.

Kokufu-ten Bonsai Tour – Bjorn Bjorholm

After the exhibition was set up a group of judges awarded five coveted National Awards Kokufu-sho. There were only five shohin bonsai compositions, a mame bonsai composition was not included in this part. There were 46 medium-size three-point exhibits which included a main bonsai, often two, and a companion planting.

Considering that each shohin bonsai composition had six main bonsai and a side tree all very consistent which shows the current taste of display and most medium size exhibits had two trees nearly individual specimens were shown.

Another exhibitor from Italy also displayed a Sargent juniper bonsai and received one of the five Kokufu-sho awards, the first time for a foreigner. Unlike in previous years, there were pink lights against the bright blue table coverings with the addition of dramatic spot lighting which did not make it easy to photograph the compositions. The Part 2 was held from Feb. It also had displays, 26 kicho Bonsaiand 55 medium size bonsai. There were again only 5 shohin bonsai compositions.

The judges selected six Kokufu prize bonsai for Part 2. As much as 27 centimetres — The snow storm hit the capital on the eve of its gubernatorial election.