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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:50 pm 
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Location: australia
Mark said
Congratulations on your recent appointment to the newly created position, Minister of Penjing Propaganda.
It is a shame that the good work you have done in exploring Penjing and China has taken such a "Jaded" turn.(Pun intended)
So much misinformation to dispute. It will have to wait for another time as it is our Thanksgiving Day and it is our American custom to be THANKFUL for our blessings and gifts. In our country it would be appropriate for someone who has made their living from Bonsai to be thankful rather than bitter and ungrateful. Isn't it interesting how different cultures have different values?

Mark
It is not a jaded turn Mark.
I have long searched for the essence of bonsai. Nothing new. Sorry to upset your thanksgiving day. I had the privilege of enjoying several Thanksgivings with friends in upstate New York in the mid seventies. These were wonderful family gatherings and Marietta and I felt privileged to be invited.
"Bitter and ungrateful" are your inventions. They come from within you. I'm neither bitter nor ungrateful. In fact I'm eternally grateful for my bonsai life. I live a life of possibility.
My exploration of Penjing is not "jaded" it is inspired and ongoing.
It is interesting how different cultures have different values.
I seek essence.
When I became charged with Motown representation in Australia as a 13 yo I began a journey that took me to forming The Australian blues society to dicover the roots. Then I completed the Jazz composition program at Beklee to comprehend the intricacies. Driven by the reality that.Beatles cover versions of Motown Tunes were accepted, whilst The originals were not I sought to distinguish the different sensibilities of British and Afro-Americans. To define the inner narrative of the creators. My bonsai quest is the same.

Back to Thanksgiving. As wonderful as those dinners were they were tarnished by the condescending tone that was directed towards the black maid who had cooked and served.
Her son who was a gifted footballer was in Jail for car theft. When she left the room the family gossiped about how the son had let the mother down. All this whilst it was clearly understood that the family had been actively connecting to have similar charges dropped for a white family friend. It is interesting how different cultures have different values.
So when all that turkey with cranberry sauce, gravy and pumpkin pie settles and you descend from that high moral ground I would welcome the opportunity to address the "misinformation" that you wish to dispute.



.Vance said

Are there some things Japan has in their past that are not laudable? Who does not? The Germans, The Italians, The Spanish, the English, The Americans etc? Somewhere in everyone's past is a scandal, some worse than others.

If you podered my response openly you would have noted that I referred to the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as well as the Cultural Revolution. These 2 events must rate amongst the top ten horrors of the last century Please ask yourself why your sensibilities are not offended by my reference to barbaric acts carried out by non Japanese. I also made reference to the humanity of the early Australian bonsai practitioners. I'm not seeking to make them wrong I,m simply aligning historical fact with bonsai development. Vance, you are suggesting something is wrong with American bonsai. I disagree. My inner narrative does no embrace the notion of bonsai being a competition between America and Europe. In fact I reject the notion as sophomoric.

Perhaps Vance, American bonsai is restricted by blinkered viewed maven's.

Mort said
The Danes... Just ask the English how they where threatened by the Vikings :-)
Now we chop down trees instead... :-)

Regards
A Dane - Morten Albek

That's it Morton..
Cheers
Lindsay


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:31 am 
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Location: Ottawa, KS
Vance Wood wrote:
John Dixon wrote:
Chris Johnston wrote:
I'm appalled that this article has been held up for reprint in a publication.


I had no reservations submitting it to the ABS Journal for inclusion in the ABStracts forum. As a matter of fact, I feel that we NEED these types of articles from time-to-time so that we can do some soul-searching. We seem very quick to pat ourselves on the back, but very reluctant to accept criticism when we may very well deserve it.
Vance's article has, and will continue to, strike nerves in the bonsai community of the U.S. (and everywhere else). To that I have to say GOOD. We need it. If nothing else, feel challenged to prove Vance wrong. I'm sure he would be more than happy to see that happen!
A good challenge gets the blood and creative juices flowing.
John


A funny thought occurred to me after re-reading your above comment; this is true as long as you can stay two steps ahead of the lynch mob. That brings up another issue perhaps worthy of mention; there seems to be a tendency in bonsai today to shoot the messenger, honest debate with candor and good will is replaced by character assault and name calling.


I have since rethought my post quoted here. The article needed to be printed, my biggest concern was the tone. I thought it needed some fairly heavy editing so that its valid points were not lost in the curmudgeonly slang. "Half-assed" is actually pretty crude for a publication of the high tone of this one and the ABS Journal. Just my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:24 pm 
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Chris, you disappoint me. You protested the article being printed more than a year ago, and now you criticize it because I used the colloquialism "half-assed" to describe the approach some have to bonsai in the US. Crude? Maybe, but it's accurate; at least it is not mean spirited and vindictive. If this had been a problem to the editors they could have edited it out or amended it; they did not. If anyone else had written this article, except Will, I believe you would have had nothing to say because it would have been of no interest to you. The interest lies in demeaning me.

That's OK though, what goes around comes around. I have read most of your posts on the forums and the only time your writing takes on this tone is when it is directed at either Will Heath or myself. That's too bad. On the one hand you keep saying that you want to get along and put things in the past but then you turn around and take a shot any time you think you have an opening. This does not say a whole lot for your veracity.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:18 pm 
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Lindsay,
I have to ask myself, what was the purpose of your post? Was it to tear down Bonsai or elevate Penjing?
If it was to elevate Penjing and China why did you feel compelled to attack Japan, Japanese Bonsai teachers, Bonsai culture, those that wrote about Bonsai? This is, in my opinion ,the lowest and most suspect attempt of promotion as it requires trashing one thing to prove the worth of another.
Penjing and Chinese culture were done a disservice by you with this pitiful post. It is stunning to me that the man that brought us the World of Bonsai could bring us such a twisted and shallow post.( I thanked you for this great service on this forum)
Do we really want to talk about nations with a big PR problem. You were quick to point out the short comings of my country and those of Japan,
and assign the guilt of politics, now should we do the same to a wonderful Artist like Brook ( REMOVED BECAUSE POLITICS DO NOT BELONG IN BONSAI). you have brought us to a wonderful place certain to expand insight and understanding.Your version of "history" attacks Japan and has not one mention of the CHINESE regime that has done more to
destroy Penjing,Art and culture and the Chinese people than all others in history combined. In true propaganda Minister style
you shift the focus away from the real problems and enemy to a "red herring".The ( regime) does NOT encourage freedom of expression and do NOT consider departure from convention "glorious",less has landed many in their prisons or worse.
You claim that you are grateful and not biter but your words say otherwise. You only show respect to Penjing and China and bash Japan and its teachers and Bonsai in general. For better or worse it was Bonsai not Penjing that gave you your start and like an ungrateful child you turn on it.
Bonsai AND Penjing can both be studied and enjoyed without your reinvented "history" lesson.


Last edited by Mark Arpag on Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:02 pm 
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Vance Wood wrote:
Holy Smokes guys, still getting response and reaction seven months latter. I am begining to feel Like Martin Luther when he posted his thesis on the door of the Wittenburg Chapel.. Gee I hope they don't give me a diet of worms.

Wrong Vance! It's funny, this thing is going on for almost two years.
Is it true that you are a penjing lover? I ask, course I realy don't have time to read all your posts. ;))


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:21 pm 
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Marinko Beg wrote:
Vance Wood wrote:
Holy Smokes guys, still getting response and reaction seven months latter. I am begining to feel Like Martin Luther when he posted his thesis on the door of the Wittenburg Chapel.. Gee I hope they don't give me a diet of worms.

Wrong Vance! It's funny, this thing is going on for almost two years.
Is it true that you are a penjing lover? I ask, course I realy don't have time to read all your posts. ;))


Marinko: It would seem that I have offended you somewhere, at some time, in some way. Why the acidic tone towards me? You might want to amend your attitude, people have been tossed from this site for less and I would hate to see you go.

As to being wrong: It would not be the first time but in this case I don't have a clue what you are talking about? Wrong about what? Be specific.

Do I love Penjing? Yes, and I love bonsai in all its forms; Japanese, Chinese, European and American, if that ever really defines itself and finds an identity. The only bonsai I do not love are boring bonsai, what I consider ugly bonsai, and dead bonsai.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:01 am 
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Gentlemen, shall we take a moment to reflect upon our guidelines here?

"Passionate disagreement is encouraged, but mutual respect is essential to our mission and verbal hostility will not be tolerated."

Chris,

It took a lot to recant on your earlier criticism of this article, there are not many people who would do so, even after a change of heart.


Vance,

Perhaps you misunderstood Marniko's words?

All, Excellent discussion that is far deeper and intellectually challenging than most content on the web, thank you all for putting up fodder for thought and consideration.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:18 pm 
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Editorial Staff wrote:
Vance,

Perhaps you misunderstood Marniko's words?


Yes, I think he did!
He didn't ever offended me, not at any time, as he may think. This isn't "acid tone towated him". My "wrong" has to do with his words from more than a year ago, where he was surprised that this was going on for 7 months and maybe thought it's time to finished this topic, but the treed is still going on after 2 years.
Secondly, I was reading the responce from Mark, calling Vance someone who elevate Penjing and tear down Bonsai, so my question was open, course I want to know about his personal taste.
On the other hand things like "You might want to amend your attitude, people have been tossed from this site for less and I would hate to see you go" is a bit disturbing for a guy like me, who didn't use any wrong offended words towards him. This wasn't necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:40 am 
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Mark, You are running out of integrity.
Because you have failed in your commitment to define the offensive points of my post I have chosen to re visit them with added thoughts to help you find out what's eating at you.
Then I'll respond to your post.

There is no problem with American bonsai. American Bonsai is just like Australian bonsai. Perfect. Exactly as it should be.

Why is it different from European bonsai?

American and Australian bonsai should be distinguished by the allied nations post war involvement. Australian soldiers who were imprisoned by the Japanese returned home with horrific stories of inhumanity. Japan was not only a defeated nation but one with a big PR problem in much of the western world.
This would not be polite dinner table conversation at the convention. Not necessary with no possibility for creative space. Really not worth mentioning unless an insight of some sort may be gleened. I have never known war and do not pretend to comprehend it.
Occasionaly I have contact with some old men who were in that war. They all tell me that war is a useless waste. I believe them.


China was in Revolt.

Then Saburo kato was informed of a forthcoming visit to his garden by The New emperor, General Douglas MacArthur.
Decades later Kato told David Fukumoto that his heart trembled with fear. He knew only of traditional Japanese culture.
In traditional Japanese culture a defeated enemy had no worth. Japanese bonsai was floundering. China was at war with itself.
Kato feared that bonsai doomsday had arrived.

MacArhur did not outlaw bonsai. He embraced it by ordering a number of small tray landscapes for his Japanese friends.
David Fukumoto told me about this discussion with The great Saburo Kato many years ago.I published that story in my free newspaper Bonsai Penjing News in the late eighties. 100,000 copies were distributed. If you wish to see it I will scan a copy and post it. I consider Kato to be the father of world bonsai. My great regret is that I wasn't able to connect with Mr Kato for the WorldOfBonsai series. I feel that the series is significantly diminished by his absense

In that moment, the golden era of World bonsai began. American values were implicit.
Overly romantic perhaps. I can't define a better moment

Call me a cynic but I summise that in that moment Japanese officials saw an opportunity to promote nurturing and caring
through bonsai. When I questioned Yoshimura about issues I had with content in his book he advised me " that book must not
be taken too seriously. I was under great pressure from my government to finish it. I was a young man who knew little of
the world"
I should make it clear that I discussed horticultural, not political matters with the great man. It was 1984 and the Melbourne bonsai community referred Mr Yoshimura's book as the bible.
By challenging me to look beyond his book Mr Yoshimura created an opening for me.He gave me the gift of possibility. I keep 2 copies in the library. As with Mr Kato, I only utter his name with reverence

How could a Nation where tiny trees were nurtured into works of art be a place where inhumanity to fellow man was practiced.

Perfect. The campaign was underway with no shortage of willing receptors.
If I found myself in a war dessimated place with the nation in dissaray, I'd expect my government to engage the smartest people to use every trick they could to get things back on track. I think Japanese people would want the same. No blame, just the way it is.

As a small child I have vivid memories of discussions about bonsai with visitors to my fathers nursery. These people were
bonsai pioneers. As I recall, many were immersing themselves in Japanese culture as a way of dealing with their deep sadness
concerning the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I recall one of these men who had taken to bonsai as a result of his
nightmares concerning a Japanese pilot with whom he made eye contact as he delivered a fatal bullet. Decades later at a
convention where Yoshimura had pleaded " please don't call me master and expect me to know everything" this man later stood and pleaded " please Master, take me and show me the way"
The Atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9 1945. Exactly two years before I was born. As a child every birthday was puctuated with my mothers reminder that this was the day that the atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. She described the event and requested us to ponder the suffering of the children. We did. She challenged us to fight for peace. We heard her. We have a painting named Hiroshima by an Australian artist hanging in our living room. It depicts the horror of that moment.
The Australian bonsai pioneers that I encountered as a child were inspiring artistic people. They were fine people and they sought leadership. There were cultural gulfs between the Japanese teacher and the student and only a few fast tracked. The infrequent visits did little to satiate the eager. Learning required good teachers and good students.

By the mid sixties when China was entering the most disastrous decade in its great history, Japan took it upon itself
to re-invent the history. This re-invented history was presented to international delegates at a convention in Omiya. The tale was
that bonsai origins were Japanese.
They returned home to spread the teachings. No other nation knows China like Japan does. Japanese proverbs such as
" The nail that sticks up will be beaten down" were popular. Conservatism ruled. The most powerful communication of that era the SUNSET book re-inforced the nuturing and caring aspects. Individual creativity was not really encouraged
Wu Yee Sun attended the Omiya convention. He heard the presentation then returned home to write his iconic book MANLUNG ARTISTIC POT PLANTS. The history section of this book was his response to the Omiya presentation. Japan has always been a small nation in the shadow of a large nation. Any small nation in the shadow of a large nation must as best as they can comprehend the culture of that larger nation.
The largely mystified bonsai westerners of that era took the Japanese origins claim as a pointer to conservatism and towing the line. Yoshimura's book WAS the bible. As fine a publication as it was, disciples of it restricted their consciesness to bonsai being a method of instruction. Hardly fertile ground for risk taking creativity. Those who practiced guideline bonsai had a false sense of superiority. Those who did not had a false sense of inferiority.

The bonsai community was obsessed with "not offending the Japanese". The thoughts that I express here were taboo.

Apparently they still are to the nostalgic conservatives of this community. Offence to the Chinese is however viewed By this group as acceptable conduct.

Decades passed before our consciousness gleaned that the origins were in fact Chinese. At last people began to understand that this was not a culture defined by convention but one where departure from convention was glorious.
Glorious

Around this time European bonsai enjoyed poularity and growth unbridled by the nostalgic conservatism that tarnished bonsai in Australia and The USA. The Spanish produced magazines giving readers direct access to true Japanese bonsai sensibilities. Ilona Lesniewicz and Li Zhimin's book CHINESE BONSAI was accesible. Europeans were better grounded in their understanding.

If you didn't embody a narrow consciousness then you didn't need to lose one. I think that it will be decades before those nations shake off the shackles of misinformation. The nostalgic conservatism of teachers remains an obstacle to those young Americans and Australians seeking bonsai insight.

Discussions such as this are invaluable.

Cheers

Lindsay

re your new post

In his post mark said,

I have to ask myself, what was the purpose of your post? Was it to tear down Bonsai or elevate Penjing?
Mark, the purpose of my post was to address the perceived problem with American bonsai.. The points that I make have not been reasonably challenged so I stand by them.

mark said

If it was to elevate Penjing and China why did you feel compelled to attack Japan, Japanese Bonsai teachers, Bonsai culture, those that wrote about Bonsai? This is, in my opinion ,the lowest and most suspect attempt of promotion as it requires trashing one thing to prove the worth of another.

Mark, it was not to elevate anything. By better understanding it is my hope that a clearer creative space can be accesible to all.
You need to define where I have "attacked Japan."
I cannot see an attack on anything but bigotry in my writing.
At no time have I thrashed anything to prove the worth of another.

mark said

Penjing and Chinese culture were done a disservice by you with this pitiful post. It is stunning to me that the man that brought us the World of Bonsai could bring us such a twisted and shallow post.( I thanked you for this great service on this forum)

Mark, Any utterances made here will have little impact on anything in the real world. It is not a twisted and shallow post. It offers an expanation that is plausable. Thank you for your thank you.

mark said

Do we really want to talk about nations with a big PR problem. You were quick to point out the short comings of my country and those of Japan,

Mark, I didn't attack the USA nor Japan. My reference to the thanksgiving thing was an attack on the high moral ground that you stood upon. I love the USA. My wife wants to live there. My Son Sam works there. His involvement as a record producer for John Legends song "If your out there" and it's role in Obama's campaign is a source of great pride for my wife and I. I spent four years in Boston following the Sox and studying America's most powerful art form.
Mate, Do you really believe that the Nations of this world don't practice diplomocy, PR, propaganda. Surely you can understand that all nations do that. There is no attack on Japan. You have created it within yourself.

mark said

Tianemen square,Tibet,baby girls,melamine in formula ... you have brought us to a wonderful place certain to expand insight and understanding.Your version of "history" attacks Japan and has not one mention of the COMMUNIST CHINESE regime that has done more to
destroy Penjing,Art and culture and the Chinese people than all others in history combined. In true propaganda Minister style

Mark. I'm really sorry about my role in the Tianemen square,Tibet,baby girls,melamine in formula incidents. I'm prepared to accept full resposibility. Once again I am not attacking Japan. You have created it with your own shallow inner narrative. Your above reference to Chinese issues is undoubtably the most offensive and disrespectful attack on China that I have encountered on any bonsai forum anywhere. I think that you would be wise to retract it or it may come back to haunt you.
Mark, a prime difference between You and I is that I serve no masters. This enables me to maintain the extensive network of friends and colleagues throughout China and Japan. No cow towing. Just straight talking as person to person. I have opportunities in Japan that a life time of cowtowing by some petty bonsai official could not acheive.Once again you have not read the post that I submited but invented your own version. You have once again shot yourself in the foot with your mcCarthy inspired redneck rhetoric about COMMUNIST CHINESE ( nice touch with the caps, really makes it stick out so all the good ol' boy's can see, really creative)
mark said

destroy Penjing,Art and culture and the Chinese people than all others in history combined. In true propaganda Minister style
In reality I'm presently involved in producing what will probably be the most poigniant, numbing and revealing segment about bonsai during the cultural revolution that has been seen. Straight from the horses mouth stuff. Our eyes swelled with tears. The translators are concerned that the guest may get into trouble for what he say's so I'm handling it with great sensitivity. The Chinese Master thinks that it's OK though. This is not a good look for old school China. That's a pathetic attempt to defame me mark. Truly pathetic.
mark said
you shift the focus away from the real problems and enemy to a "red herring".The communists do NOT encourage freedom of expression and do NOT consider departure from convention "glorious",less has landed many in their prisons or worse.
Mark, I choose my own words. "glorious was a word of my choice to describe a creative possibility.

Mark said
You claim that you are grateful and not biter but your words say otherwise. You only show respect to Penjing and China and bash Japan and its teachers and Bonsai in general. For better or worse it was Bonsai not Penjing that gave you your start and like an ungrateful child you turn on it.
Bonsai AND Penjing can both be studied and enjoyed without your reinvented "history" lesson.
Mark, concerning WorldOfBonsai. Did you actually watch it. If you had watched you would know that the cream of Japanese bonsai contributed as well as some wonderful Chinese people..
I think that your integrity is at stake here.
I invite you to define the crude accusations that you make or kindly hold your piece.
If this presents too much of a challenge for you I suggest that you consider the irony of the following 2 statements by you in this post
,the lowest and most suspect attempt of promotion as it requires trashing one thing to prove the worth of another.
Tianemen square,Tibet,baby girls,melamine in formula ... you have brought us to a wonderful place
pathetic Mark. You need to improve considerably
Cheers
Lindsay


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:53 am 
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No I get it!
Last edited by Mark Arpag on Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mark, your last post was adressed to Vance all the time. This way, you confussed me and the others.
So Vance, the question about Penjing shouldn't be for you.
PS/I like Lignan style from last decade, but certainly not the trees from Mao's time of "cultural revolution" (read "devastation").


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:20 pm 
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Marinko Beg wrote:
No I get it!
Last edited by Mark Arpag on Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mark, your last post was adressed to Vance all the time. This way, you confussed me and the others.
So Vance, the question about Penjing shouldn't be for you.
PS/I like Lignan style from last decade, but certainly not the trees from Mao's time of "cultural revolution" (read "devastation").


I appologize for taking your post the wrong way and jumping down your throat for it.

As to China and the Lignan style. Though I don't find the style high on my list of preferences I do applaud the fact that it did make it through the time of purging. Remarkable in itself understanding that Mao did not find the arts to be of much use to the People's Republic.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:39 pm 
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Vance Wood wrote:

I appologize for taking your post the wrong way and jumping down your throat for it.


That's all right Vance, give me a hug! ;))


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:46 pm 
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Marinko Beg wrote:
Vance Wood wrote:

I appologize for taking your post the wrong way and jumping down your throat for it.


That's all right Vance, give me a hug! ;))


Thanks, I will consider us hugged; it takes two to hug or it's considered an assault. Just a joke.


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:39 pm 
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Lindsay,
You claim one thing and your words say another, so it is your integrity that is in question here.
To summarize:
1) You claim to "only to utter Yoshimura and Kato's names in reverence.
Your Words are to the contrary:
Describing Kato as" trembling in fear"at meeting General or as you say "emperor" Douglas is demeaning as it portraits him as weak and also uneducated.
You also choose to tie that meeting with the beginning of what you call a "campaign" but goes on to sound very much like a political plot to
"promote nurturing and caring" of Bonsai in an attempt to deny war deeds. You state " how could a nation where tiny trees are nurtured into works of Art
be a place where inhumanity to fellow man was practiced" and you also state that"Australian soldiers returned home with horrific stories of inhumanity."
This does not add to understanding of Bonsai but fans anti-Japanese sentiment.
In that same paragraph you use Yoshimura's name.This creates a guilt by association scenario and is appalling.
You assert a connection to Yoshimura and this plot and put quotation's to his words so that they will not be questioned."I was under great pressure from
my government to finish it" and "I was a young man who knew little of this world" "You must not take it to seriously".
By these assertions you are suggesting that his book is only propaganda from the Japanese government and of no value.
The fact that you have two copies in your library goes to my point of your ingratitude.The book was written with the best intentions and you refer to it
like a curse.
You questioned Yoshimura with issues you had with his book and describe him as"pleading" not to "call him master and not to expect him to know everything"
. This is described in a way that makes it sound like he was a pretender and when challenged by you he pleaded ignorance. The
use of the word "plead" is used in court cases and has, especially in the context you use it, an implication of some kind of guilt.
It does not give the impression of a great man which he was. Your last post claims that you feel differently are not in alignment with your
original post and are in doubt.
Yuji Yoshimura's character and contributions are beyond question and your attempts to undermine him, as much as you try to deny it, are evident.
You further expose your true feeling in your last post, assigning blame for the current problems in the Bonsai world to it.
Again, you say you have respect and your words say otherwise. You say you are grateful but to assign blame not gratitude
Only now do you add" he was a great man" "we did not speak of politics" and "he gave me the gift of possibility" again calls your integrity to question
as their was nothing but disrespect in your original words.

2) You attack the Japanese government pre and post war. Politics do not belong in a Bonsai forum nor do discussions about war.
This is an nothing but an attempt to associate Bonsai and the Japanese people to horrible events.
. "horrific stories of inhumanity"
"a place where inhumanity to fellow man was practiced'
" when China was entering the most disastrous decade in its great history, Japan took it upon itself to re-invent the history"

3) You claim you are grateful to the Japanese who shared Bonsai with the world but your words once again say something else.
You instead blame them:
"individual creativity was not really encouraged".
"Japanese proverbs like the nail that sticks up will be beaten down"
"a narrow consciousness"
"shackles of misinformation"
"nostalgic conservatism"
This is how you express your gratitude? I can find nothing in your original or second post which even hints at any thing but
blame for problems.
Perhaps you think that reducing Bonsai to a convenient gimmick for what you describe as a defeated, desperate and opportunistic government
and its great teachers as nothing but pawns in a propaganda "campaign" will be seen as a gift.This is as dishonest as it is distasteful.
I choose my words as well and shallow and twisted are "perfect".
This is your answer to "the problem with American Bonsai".
I feel very fortunate to know Bonsai. It is a Japanese art form and I am grateful to the great teachers like Yuji Yoshimura who shared it
with the Western world. Maybe you should share your views on bonsai with the Japanese, you should let them know they can stop
practicing Bonsai now that the "campaign" is over or is it?

4) You start your post stating that American Bonsai is "Perfect" If you really thought so that should have been the end of your post.
Sadly it was not. American bonsai is far from perfect but your" issues" are not my issues.
You of course later tell us what you actually believe.that American Bonsai is "shackled by nostalgic conservatism"
If this is the reason for your post why not elaborate and give specifics.Please explain what it is,
who is responsible for it and who the American culprits are and how it is "shackling" Bonsai today.
Your integrity is at stake again.

5) Some how Penjing is inserted in this post where there is no bearing. You speak glowingly and point to Penjing and.
Chinese culture "where departure from convention is glorious" as the answer.
So your point is that Japanese culture, Japanese Bonsai teachers, Japanese Bonsai books and the art of Bonsai are the problem
and if we are to be enlightened and freed from our 'shackles" of "nostalgic conservatism" we must reject Bonsai and embrace Penjing.

6) You assert that only from Spanish produced magazines and a book on Chinese Bonsai could the real Bonsai insight be gained.
International Bonsai Magazine has been published for over 30 years and has been a most insightful publication. There have been many
good bonsai books published in English as well.In the same paragraph you speak of the tarnish of "nostalgic conservatism"
You also blame teachers in America and Australia for misinformation and the core of our "problems".
This is your opinion and I disagree with your baseless assertions and find them offensive.

Your suggesting that either I am a racist or a redneck is as an attempt to smear me and is as baseless as the rest of your assertions.
and reveals your true lack of integrity.

Thats as much of your brand of "history" as I can stomach for now.

Mark


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 Post subject: Re: The Problem With American Bonsai
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:06 am
Posts: 91
Location: Melbourne, Florida USA
lindsay farr wrote:
Why is it different from European bonsai?

American and Australian bonsai should be distinguished by the allied nations post war involvement. Australian soldiers who were imprisoned by the Japanese returned home with horrific stories of inhumanity. Japan was not only a defeated nation but one with a big PR problem in much of the western world.


Hi Lindsay - welcome to the AoB. I have enjoyed your videos on your site. Keep it up.

However I disagree with your notion that allied nations post world war II involvement/feelings distinguishes American bonsai (don't know about Australian bonsai). There is no doubt that WWII had a tremendous impact on many things including bonsai; the art was spread by returning servicemen, but in reality in the US it was really spread by Japanese immigrants to the US both before and after WWII. Chinese immigrants did do bonsai but not in as organized or numeric quantity as the Japanese. Sure some Chinese artists rue that we call the art bonsai and not pengjing but hey, so what. To me studying this line of thought won't reveal the essence of bonsai. The essence lies within yourself and not in some human based categorizations.


BTW, your comment about the "barbaric act of dropping the atomic bombs" on Japan caught my notice. One can debate this ad naseum and it really has nothing to do with bonsai but those two bombs had the most positive effect on mankind since the beginning of our species. If you were to plot the percent of the world's population killed via war over the eons and see how that number goes down after the two bombings you'd realize the atomic age has had phenomenal benefit. Sure we are a bit more paranoid as a result of it but that is better than being dead.


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