Shinichi Nakajima restyles Juniper at 2014 AABC/BCI Conference – Gold Coast
Shinichi-san was born in 1948. He is the second Nakajima generation of Bonsai Masters and operates his own bonsai nursery in Tokyo. He has travelled all around the world to share his bonsai knowledge as the official representative of the Nippon Bonsai Association. He is the former President of “The Nippon Bonsai Growers Group.”
This type of tree is not upright, it normally grows horizontally. Therefore it can become an umbrella shape with a lot of die-back on the inside. With a juniper it is easy to develop branches but getting a good trunk is not easy.
This tree must be raised up. The front part of the tree the trunk is a bit curvy but it would be nice if it had more curves.
Mr Nakajima’s image is a windswept style. In dealing with this type of tree instead of removing all the unwanted branches I can leave some to be used as jin. This will give a very strong impression and age the tree. The tree has a lot of dead branchlets so these are being removed.
I cut a lot of long branches but some I have left for jin. If the branch is alive it is easy to strip off the bark. If it is dead it is much harder. With jinning pliers squeeze around the branch to loosen the bark and then strip it off.
Mr Nakajima prefers to use only a little wire so if the branch is thick or well set he will not wire. He wraps the wire gently around the branch, always gentle so as not to damage the tree.
If you try to make one branch as a big item it can become like a fan. It is better to make a big branch of overlapping small fans. The way of thinking that there is a big branch with small branches inside is wrong. The correct philosophy is that a bunch of small branches make up a big branch. Make small fans and the combination of small fans will make a big fan and many of these will make a branch.
Junipers tend to have downward growing branches so they are to be raised.
In Japan the wire would be left on for one year so the tree would go through the four seasons. In Australia maybe more than one year for wire is better. It depends on the tree. If the branch goes down it takes longer for the wire to be effective.
This is the tree after its first styling in this new concept. It needs to recover and fill out and then more refinement will be done.
Mr Nakajima approach to restyling this juniper was beautiful to behold and once again great care was taken not to over reduce the foliage so the tree will survive. In its next styling more refinement will be achieved and in two or so years it will be a fine bonsai.