Peter Warren wrote:
If you do not want to pay even the slightest tip of the hat to Japan and the weight of history and culture that the use of the word Bonsai implies then please enjoy your hobby of "dwarf trees in a pot that look pretty". This is the same argument that applies to viewing stones vs. suiseki. The name implies a certain set of criteria, an acknowldgement of what has come before and a respect for that. So did this award.
Rob Kempinski wrote:
The Western adoption of the Japanese word "bonsai" does not limit the world to use only Japan as a role model for appreciating trees in a pot. China has just as long and perhaps longer tradition of bonsai but the fact of the matter is bonsai is now a global art and persons from around the globe can adopt and do whatever they want regarding appreciating trees in a pot. The Japanophil approach is only one way.
Thank you for this!
This is exactly what I tried to say, so many times before, in so many post and teaching abroad! And that is hard to do in my broken English! :)
It is becoming so annoying to be constantly confronted with that so obviously superieure attitude and tone towards anything others than the traditional Japanese way of doing Bonsai. As if, we are not out there, From Vietnam to Italy and from Germany to the U.K, doing our version or way of Bonsai Art.
Here in Europe we Created, in just 2 decades, a new and exciting bonsai scene that is still going fast forward. A Bonsai community, were all styles are excepted and co coexist next to each other. From the traditional Japanese Italians school to the natural style of Walter Pall and the free style bonsai that I make here in Holland! We all show are trees in the same shows, magazines or forums, side by side and most of the times as equals. Isn't it about time you tried it this way?Bonsai comes in many forms, just like people, in different varieties, colors and cultural background. And we are just as devoted, with our whole heart and souls to Bonsai as any Japanese tree bender is! We are by now means blind to the magnificent Japanese Bonsai Art, and we enjoy, study and learn from it and give it all the credit it deserves. So isn't it about time you returned the favour?
I thought the show was great and perhaps the only general critique I would make was that this was a North American show yet the main emphasis seemed to be to mimic Japan. Until the west grows out of this mode we will not fully develop our unique approach to the art.
Regarding the Yoshimura award, this award was to honor Mr Yoshimura's spirit which by definition is going to be difficult to do since Mr. Yoshimura is no longer around and therefore subject to other's interpretation. Mike's pine does not adhere to the modern design. In listening to Mr. Morimae's comments on Sunday morning he seemed to like the trunk and the lack of a helmet on the tree. Yet he said "he would reduce the foliage by 50%. to bring out the character of the tree." That comment was very telling to me, he selected a tree over other trees that he said he would reduce the foliage by 50%. What is he really saying?
So there is more to that story! :)
I am sorry that I take this matter very personal, but Bonsai is very personal to me! I am just hugely disappointed and find it very sad that AoB felt the need to highlight this Classical Bonsai award as a main eye catcher on the front page. Will they know, that there is a big controversy and discussion going on, about the way the Art of Bonsai Award was judges, were this tree was selected for this event! This is discussed at this moment here on AoB and on many, many other forums!
It is very disrespectful to the people that had questions about this and to the ones that tried to worn you!
To rub it in our faces like this is bad enough, but to do this in this "you all just don't get it way" is just plain right insulting!
And as all ways, when these games are played, the third party suffers! Mike, who created his bonsai with just as much love as I try to do, is caught in the middle of this all. And that really makes me angry! I have seen that happened so many times in Bonsai! Mike you are the man to me, don't let this get you down, this was never meant to put you down in any way. But things sometimes need to be sad and asked, others wish things like this will never change!
I have really no idea why this controversy is enhanced by AoB in this way, just to proof a Art point, and not solved in the background, like it should have been!
I feel terrible that this joyful event for Bonsai in America needed to be tarnished like this, instead of highlighted! I would love to see the pictures or hear the story's about this event. The funny thing is, that they always try to teach us: it is all about the trees! Not in this case it isn't!
I hate that I have been pushed in this position and have come to the conclusion that I just don't belong in a environment like this, it makes me angry and helpless, and spoils my soul and there for my Bonsai fun. I guess I just have to except, that I will never understand how real bonsai art is made! Well you just cant have it all!
Hans van Meer.