Master Bonsai Masahiko Kimura, Sculpture for Living Object

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Masahiko Kimura (木村 正彦 Kimura Masahiko, 1940-) was born in Ōmiya-ku, Saitama, Japan on March 31, 1940 and is a widely recognized bonsai master.

His father died when Masahiko was 11. By the wishes of his mother, at age 15 he started spending his time as an apprentice under the bonsai master Motosuke Hamano of Toju-en Bonsai Garden. This was for eleven years until about 1966. (Kimura would later say that during his teens he really wanted to be a rock and roll musician.)After this he took to working in the horticulture field on his own.

He went on to become known as the “Magical Technician of Kindai Shuppan.” (Kimura has said that he personally doesn’t really care for the title of “Magician.”) His breathtaking sculpting and styling of trees on behalf of that Kyoto bonsai magazine publisher was done using hand and power tools of his own design. His skill with carving deadwood quickly made him well known in the bonsai community.el.

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While his work was at first highly controversial, his energy and vision soon became as respected as his art. A characteristic of his trees is a defined interplay of artistically sculptured deadwood with a smaller amount of more traditionally appearing live wood snaking up from the soil to foliage apex. Many of his trees have a more elaborate starkness than is ordinarily found in the wild, innovatively creative without historic mod

Because of Kimura’s willingness to break with convention, many in Japan refused to take him seriously, at least in the early years. Nowadays, no one disputes Kimura’s genius or his pioneering position in the bonsai world

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His work as documented in the form of articles and photographs has graced the pages of many major specialty publications around the world. Trees designed by him, mostly Juniperus chinensis var. Shimpaku, won the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for the years 1988, 1995, 2000, and 2001, and the Minister of Education Award in 1999. He has had a number of students and apprentices from Japan, Europe, and America, several of which have gone on to become masters in their own right

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