Good question that also raises a few other questions and answers for me.
These answers are primarely related to Shohin, and can?t be transferred to larger bonsai, which will be explained in the below text.
I am trying to keep the Lonicera pretty much with the massive trunk as the main attraction. The foliage must be developed more, adding a little more foliage in front of the trunk giving more depth to the image, also adding one cm to the height of the tree. (See the photo/drawing).
Present height of the tree is 16 cm, later it will be 17 cm. This makes it fit with other of my Shohin-bonsai that it is planned to be displayed with.
It will not be a naturalistic tree in the sense that seems to be so modern at the moment. I like some naturalism in my bonsai, but I am not into this preaching of a certain movement in bonsai.
I think a lot of different artist have their own personal touch making their work special, because it is their expression of a bonsai. Regardless of their style, because one can take it or leave it. Rather let the artworks talk for you, instead of talking the bonsai into fame.
The sumo style
One could claim that the so called sumo style (good description of this style) mirrors the Japanese Black Pine or Juniper, which is a traditional top tree at the Shohin racks when displaying. These Pines and Junipers very often (or nearly always) have a little fat trunk, with a massive canopy, often covering the trunk more or less.
(These gets pretty uninteresting, because they are reproduced in large numbers all the like but that?s aside the subject).
The Lonicera has the massive trunk instead of massive foliage, which makes it a powerful tree as top tree at a Shohin rack.
Shinpaku Juniper, Mame-bonsai, 11 cm.
Shohin, White Pine.
The function of the Lonicera is to be the main tree at a Shohin rack. Here it serves the purpose of bringing peace and harmony to the display with its formal style. The strength of this tree is shown through the massive trunk, and simplicity.
This gives room for trees with a looser style, with more movement e.g. at the lover shelf at a leveled display rack.
Judging the Shohin as individual tree is all right, but not telling the full story. A Shohin always is part of a display with more trees. The smaller the Shohin, the more trees are exhibited in a group, with the overall purpose of showing the beauty of the display, with a clear seasonal expression.
Mame-bonsai, early autumn.
The main tree must not steel the picture, but support evenly the beauty and harmony of the display. Therefore there is less room for very informal or wild styled trees, because these will risk ruining the peace and harmony of the overall display. It is a matter of balance between the elements, and here the sumo style fits in, when talking Shohin aesthetics and displaying.
So the trunk to height ratio may be inappropriate at larger trees, but in the Shohin world, it seems to fit in, in my opinion.
When larger Shohin-bonsai are displayed, there is more room for trees with greater artistic freedom.
The room for displaying is always the same for Shohin. The smaller the bonsai, the more can be displayed. The larger the bonsai, the fewer are displayed.
An exception is the newly founded Mame-Bonsai Association in Japan (2005), were the display area is scaled to fit the Mame-bonsai at their latest exhibition.
Larger Shohin, or a Chuhin (midd size bonsai) displayed with a Shohin supporting the large tree (not as an accent), gives the possibility of a more artistic display. Here the sumo style will not fit in large scale. Then a broader canopy according to trunk size will be appropriate. So it very much depends of the size what to choose. And exceptions from above might be found too.