"Dwarf Trees" from Transactions of the Japan Society

     "Dwarf Trees" by Toichi Tsumura, M.J.S. (1901):

       (The author of the paper having returned to Japan shortly after its delivery, there has been no opportunity of submitting the proofs to him, nor of obtaining from him information as to some obscure passages, which have therefore had to be omitted.--[EDITOR.])

“…So full of shapes is fancy,
That it alone is high-fantastical.”
                                Twelfth Night, Act i, sc. I.

       [For the sake of some Web site readers who might not be accustomed to the verbose style of Victorian era writers such as Mr. Tsumura, RJB has taken the liberty of inserting some section titles to assist in reading through this article.]

      It is always a pleasure for the Japanese to find that what they think graceful and beautiful is also admired by other nations; and so I have particular pleasure in telling you that the dwarf trees, which our artists try to make beautiful, are admired by Her Majesty the Queen [Anne -- Victoria had died earlier that year on Jan. 22], by whose gracious permission I am enabled to show you pictures of certain specimens which have a home in a royal palace.
       The fancies of Japanese horticulturalists have created dwarf trees of certain shapes which Europeans look at in amazement.  They do not understand that every shape is an attempt to express some thought or feeling of the soul.  So landscape gardening (the kindred industry to Bonsai: Bon, “tray” or “to place in,” sai, “to plant,” a general term for dwarf trees planted on pots.) is seen in its perfection when the artists are philosophical, when the spectators regard their work with serious attention, as they do when their art ceases to be, as it so often is, a mere idle recreation.
       It is often remarked that these dwarf trees are “decidedly curious,” “half crippled,”  “distorted,” or “cruelly tortured;” yet those who criticize our trees in bitter language, walk in their gardens, pick the first flowers that come to hand, and arrange them anyhow in a manner which they call “studied negligence.”
       Of course, it is evident that every one of these Liliputian specimens of horticulture cannot be called artistic.  Imitation is often practised by way of flattery.  Many of the eclectics are studied and copied, and not always with success.  Another frivolous objection is that a great deal of timber could have been obtained in all these years from such a multitude of potted, shrivelled-up trees which serve to decorate rooms and make cabins more elegant.  Such an argument proves that the rigid principles, which are wrongly termed utilitarian, are truly ridiculous, since they would abolish the cultivation of the æsthetic sentiment, that forms such an important element in realizing and promoting the utopian ideals of mankind.  So utterly opposed is the æsthete to the utilitarian, that one can hardly ever be brought to appreciate and sympathize with the other.  They differ in their fundamental ideas; but to explain the difference and discern of what it consists is the only way to arrive at an impartial conclusion.  One point alone concerns us here: how far the Japanese and how far their critics are respectively philosophical.  This difference is the crucial point, from which every thing must be measured; once cross this gulf, and we shall be in a position to acquire complete and intimate knowledge.
       If we acquaint ourselves with the moods and habits of a people, we are sure to meet with fewer difficulties in appreciating what a people produces.  How the little trees are looked upon in Japan is, therefore, a matter of considerable interest.  You sometimes read in English newspapers such headings as “Motor cars as a social force,” or “Telephones as a social force.”  The writers of such paragraphs evidently believe in the greatest happiness of the greatest number.  But have they ever speculated upon tea as a social force in the humble dwelling of a miner or bricklayer?  Decidedly that much-favoured beverage in this country is as great a comforter to a toiling labourer as almost any, and the newspaper hack might urge, to develop his theory, that Lipton’s tea-room has enlightened the outlook of many hard-working men.  An ideal tea-room should win for its proprietor a higher fame than if he had won a hundred challenge cups.  It is a nobler conception, and a more practical conception, than all the vapourings of ladies of title in society papers.  If ideal tea-rooms had been established long ago, the young crusader who goes forth “slumming” would certainly have been relieved of cruel experiences to which his predecessors have been exposed.
       In Japan, a jinrikisha man will bring home a pine tree about six inches high, with uplifted, exposed roots, intertwined and twisted in a most irregular fashion; he buys it with part of a day’s hard-earned wages.  He might, indeed, have bought something that would yield more substantial comfort, but he preferred this – a pride to him – and to place it under a poor flickering light on the tiny supper-table at his right hand.  He looks at it; smiles at it.  He forgets, for a time at least, the bitter struggle for existence, while his inner self pays homage and reverence to the little tree, which is like a sympathetic friend and mesmerizes him with its silent beauty.  He is indeed a Japanese in the true sense of the word.  He is surely happier in the society of his favourite friend than the British working man when he hears that “The Fathers’ Beer Bill” has been rejected by an overwhelming majority.  That is because it is in Japan, and if you look into the soul of the artist, whose work has awakened a jinrikisha man to a fine sensation, you will find his innermost feeling has been scrupulously expressed;

“And if the world knew his heart,
After having praised him much,
It would have praised him yet more.”

       I will now invite you to look at some of the specimens, by means of the lantern slides reproduced from photographs, which, though they are not very pretentious, represent the honest endeavor of an industrious amateur.


       First of all, I should like to show you a photograph of an ash tree trained into an arbour in the grounds of the Royal Botanical Society, Regent’s Park [Plate I., Fig. 1].
       The arbour interests me specially, because of the training of the gnarled trunks; they come down from either side to meet and intertwine.  Abundant leaves flourish over them.  It is practical also, for one can sit down under that shade and take afternoon tea with friends.  This love of rustic decoration and countrified effect in the centre of the metropolis is much to be admired.  It shows love of the country and of homes in the country.  But yet we know that what is done beautifully for its own sake, and what is done beautifully for the sake of utility, are quite distinct one from the other.
       In the next illustration [Plate I., Fig. 2] we have an expression of dignity, gravity, and stability.  The tree is commonly known as Chabo hiba, the botanical name Chamæcyparis breviramia.  Its foliage is made up of tiny triangular scaly leaves, and its massive green enshrouding a rock suggests the stolid power of individuality.  Evidently that is the idea of the artist.
       The Japanese artists have this peculiarity in their reproductions of nature: they minimize the actual size of the models instead of magnifying it, and the conclusion is easily drawn that their work is apt to be more often pretty and fascinating than dignified and imposing.  But the effect of this little plant will upset that commonly alleged theory.
       The height of this araucaria with its pot is no more than two feet and a half.


       The next illustration [Plate II., Fig. 1] is of a chamæcyparis, but two different varieties are engrafted together.  It measures over three feet, and stands rather tall for a dwarf tree.  Please notice the graceful boughs of Hiyoku hiba mingling with the clusters of leaves of the ordinary Chabo hiba.  This is effected by whip-grafting.  Hiyoku hiba is the stock, and Chabo hiba is the scion.  The whole thing thus produced is rather different from either of these viewed separately, and one would be inclined to think it imitated a weeping willow.
       Now we shall pass on to examine some of the constructions of these branches – perhaps I had rather say the training of them.  There never existed in this branch of art such technicalities as in Chanoyu, commonly known as tea-ceremony, and sometimes called the tea-drinking cult, although in treatises upon landscape-gardening we learn a great many hard rules.  But the cultivation of miniature trees is more common in practice than any of the tea cults just mentioned.  It is vulgar, while they are sacred.  One might almost say it is well appreciated by “the man in the street,” and is therefore of peculiar interest to us.
       The Chabo hiba in the next illustration [Plate II., Fig. 2] is the result of rather rude and severe manipulation.  This form of an upright trunk is seen quite as often as a gnarled one in miniature trees.  The stout trunk of the tree is often not amenable to the arts of the artist gardener when he receives it; so it is sometimes expedient to cut it off at the height required; but often it is left untouched, and in other cases submitted to a skillful grafting by approach – that is, a grafting effected by bringing a younger tree to the point where it is required, and the roots of it are sawn away when the operation is completed.  This method is known as Yobi ki, “a tree sent for.”


       Next [Plate III., Fig. 1] we have quite a different style of training from those which have been described.  The tree has here been severely handled, for the stem is twisted and bent; evidently it was a young tree when it came under the supervision of the artist.
       A comparison of its back [Plate III., Fig.2] will give an idea of how its branches have been unsparingly bent and twisted.  In this picture, the vigorous bends and twists of the twigs will remind one of smashed and mingled coils of the spring of a broken watch.  They are, however, all original branches, and no grafting has been effected in any way.
       If we examine closely, we find what deliberate care is taken in all these bending, twisting younger branches.  The possibility of life and health in a branch, such as will be required to work it up, or rather conform it to an ideal, is the first principle of this kind of art.  Only by trying it can one understand and appreciate the difficulties there are to face, for every branch has its own habitual growth, direction, and power of growth, and, finally, the possibility of its future; all these factors must hence be taken into consideration.  The result is not one that can be obtained immediately.  This bending operation is usually performed in summer.  One of the London journals made a remark to the effect, “the pigmy-tree business hardly holds out prospects enough for the next generation but one, for us to invest in it, but perhaps the Japs think differently.  Just fancy, this example of living patience in the shape of a fan or a saké bottle being sold in London, for half a sovereign!  Enough to break the maker’s heart, isn’t it?”  It seems to me that the man who wrote in this way must have been a true incarnation of the cast of people so often called practical men, whose aim is to be but a stout ledger and calculating machine in frock coat and a silk hat.

       In the cultivation of miniature trees there is one very important item we must not overlook – that is the grafting.  I have said a little about it just now.  We will take a Chaba [sic] hiba as an illustration.  There are many kinds of graftings very extensively applied to cedars.  To contrive that such a mass of foliage in compact forms shall be artistic, it is evidently necessary to adopt and add fresh shoots where required.  Trees grow in their own way, and gardeners must bring them round to their ideas, so these means are resorted to.  The general practice of side grafting is carried out about March and April, when the new buds are soft.  First you must cut the graft in an oblique manner about one-eighth of an inch, and then sharply cut again just a little of the outer bark; cut the stock also at the same angle about a quarter of an inch, and take out the free portion of bark, and then place the graft in the appointed situation; tie it once with a soft straw, and then apply a bandage.  The introduced branch must be no more than one inch and a half in length.  When the whole operation is finished, take it into a dark room for some thirty-five to forty days, and then put it under a straw cover in the open air for thirty days or so.  After that it may at last be exposed without covering to the open air and sunlight.  The reason for avoiding the sunlight at first is evident.  The sap should not circulate too violently when the joint is just made, until it can be distributed with equal force into the other part of the tree.  These operations are all beyond me to describe minutely, for it is a delicate business, and needs careful handling.  These who wish to know will only learn well after some sad experiences.
       Next we shall see how the pines are treated.  The graftings and bendings here are sometimes similar to those performed on cedars.  Yet at the same time the operation is much simpler, for, among other reasons, the growth, and naturally the flow of sap, are much more vigorous than in the preceding examples, and the twigs do not crowd together so much.  The pines are symbols of bravery, while the cedars correspond to the idea of what is lovable.  The methods of training, and therefore of appreciation, must in consequence be respectively varied.
       Grafting is met with less frequently where the growth is quicker and the younger twigs can be bent in a wavy manner.  The vertical undulations are called Tatenami, and the transversal Yokonami.  When the leaves do not grow densely, there must  necessarily be some methods used to make the appearance of the tree more compact.  A zigzag line of trunk is widely adopted in pines.  The younger shoots in every alternate concave curve are nipped away, for the simple reason that they would be hidden from the sunshine, and the development, therefore, generally unsatisfactory.  But the existence of such shoots is desired sometimes for bringing them out in different planes and angles.  They are called Futokoro yeda, and may be translated as “pocket branches.”  The shoots on the apex of the concave curve are cherished and nurtured.
       Pines have a tendency to shoot out a set of branches from certain points.  These points are treated, when the bending into zigzag manner is carried out, in early summer, in such a way as to form the sharpest points in the curves.  At that time all the useless branches are cut off, and the “pocket branches” done away with.  Such, for instance, are Kannuki yeda, the “bolt branches,” so called because two sister branches spread out from the opposite side of the trunk at right angles on the same plane [“bar branches”].  This growth is to be avoided unless the trainer can see any utility later on.  Other forms are the Hasigo yeda, “ladder,” which has three or more branches forming regular steps as in a ladder, and the Ikari yeda, “anchor,” which has three younger shoots at equal distances and curved as in the classical form of the Japanese anchor.
       The last-mentioned “anchor” form is very often adopted at the top of the tree, or rather the younger part, because the chances of changing the whole shape are multiplied, and the risk of failing to realize a preconceived design is proportionately lessened.


       A typical specimen of a well-trained pine is shown in the illustrations [sic], Plate IV.
       In pines we seldom see grafting, but sometimes compound growth with young maples; but these are very difficult things to manage, and fine examples are very seldom met with.  Pine and maple are also wedded together; the green, and the golden or crimson foliages are not altogether a vulgar composition, but the arrangement of quantity and position of colours depends on personal artistic taste, and some of these compositions are very distasteful to an æsthetic spectator.

[Not otherwise referenced in the article.]

[Neagari: exposed roots]
       We generally come across, whenever we visit an exhibition of these dwarf trees, one peculiarly trained root exposed high above the ground.  It is termed Neagari; that is, “the root uplifted.”  This is the most difficult of all to appreciate.  Here the gardener’s ideal is carried to the highest and finest point.  The example [Plate V., Fig. 2] reminds one of those solitary pine trees dotted here and there amongst the hills in Japan as landmarks for pious pilgrims.

(Akamatsu: Pinus Densiflora)

       The uplifted roots are the main object in this training; they look monstrous or ornamental, whichever you like to call them [Fig. 1].  It is a theory, sometimes, and in some places much in favour, that things artistic must be copied within proper limits from the products of Nature that we see and experience frequently.  But the pines with their roots so exposed form an argument against this favourite theory.  Why should not the application to Nature of a preconceived idea equally deserve the approbation of the highest critic of art?  The pine is such by its nature, as we always see; its foliage is not clustered in masses, but widely separate.  Something was needed to fill the blank space.  Besides, Nature, if I may say so, authorizes the gardener to dispense with some of the roots in his pot, since the fibrous or hairy part of the roots is only required for absorbing the nourishment, while such as are exposed above the ground serve only to ensure the upright growth of the tree.  These are obviously not required in a little pot.

[Watering and soil mix]
       Lastly, we must know how to look after these trees.  When we have secured a treasure, we must take care of it.  The dwarf trees should be watered from January to about June at midday, when a little water may be sprinkled on the leaves; from June to August, at about two to three o’clock in the afternoon; after August, at the same time as in the spring.  However, the quantity of water depends upon atmospheric dryness; it is very difficult to fix how many drops should be given to each pot.  The mould contained in the pot and the nature of the tree must also be considered; for instance, conifers require little water when in pots.  It is better to use the smaller-sized pots for pines than those that seem to be large enough, for they prefer dry mould.  In potting them, therefore, it is desirable for gravel to be put in the bottom of the pots, to let the water run through easily; the mould laid on the top of the gravel should not be a heavy sort, nor be pressed down tightly.  The quantity of water to be given also depends a great deal on what sort of mould they are planted in.  Generally speaking, the evergreens do not require so much water as the deciduous plants, which should be habitually kept in a sufficiently damp condition to let the sap flow in a gentle manner.  This last consideration is very important, for the sap must not be overloaded with water, either when they are pruned, grafted, or, as is specially the case with pines, handled so unsparingly by a process generally known as “rings” – that is, the fastening up of young shoots in a calculated twist to an older branch of the same tree.  Besides the nature of the trees, we must take account of the local atmospheric condition.  Out-of-doors the weather and temperature vary from one season to another; indoors or under glass they do so only to a small extent.  Finally, the size, shape, and make of the pots must be considered.  It is well to bear in mind that the water, like domestic medicine, must be carefully administered.  In this country, where so much holiday-making is in vogue, and, indeed, is considered one of the necessary privileges of the rich, your gardener may go off on a summer’s day to see his cousin, and find on his return your Chabo hiba in a drooping state from want of water.  He should, in such a case as that, take this plant straight away into the shade and begin to water it by degrees; he must satisfy the thirsty tree little by little; let him remember the fable of “The Thirsty Pigeon,” and say, “Zeal should not outrun discretion.” [A century later, John Naka teaches the same care for a briefly underwatered bonsai.]

[Hardy plants]
       From the foregoing statements, you may gather that the cultivation of these dwarf trees requires constant supervision, and can only be entrusted to competent gardeners.
       The general principle of nurture is as depicted.  But every one has his own way of giving water, manure, and sunlight, and it only shows the dwarf trees are very hardy – indeed, hardy enough to survive almost any treatment, unless it is overdone.  So the story runs of MIDZUNO Genchusai -- a famous author who wrote about the cultivation of dwarf trees.  Seeing such a diverse method of attending them, he once asked Ichigoro, the gardener of HIRAGA Gennai, how he managed to prosper in his profession.  Ichigoro welcomed the author with a smile, and said, "Why, Nature knows and does her work far better than I.  If anything is the matter with the potted trees, they are pulled out and thrown [planted] into the grounds.  I take no heed of what may follow.  The frost may freeze, the raw wind bite to the pith, yet the zephyr will one day play her tune upon the outcast plants to recall their energy in company with the verdant meadows and fields."  The author went home and took the advice in good part; he dismissed all the earlier part of his manuscript containing the fruits of his experiences of long years, which he now found to preach quite a useless exercise of anxiety.  He may have been reminded of an old proverb -- "Spare the rod, spoil the child;" at any rate, his book, when it appeared, displayed a firm conviction that the amateurs could do their work as well as professionals.  The book is entitled "Somoku Kinyoshu," and from it I gathered much valuable information.

       We must take note of a few important points as to changing the mould in the pot, which naturally must be exhausted after feeding the roots confined in it for some time.  When the mould is changed, the fresh nutriment in it will give a sudden impetus to absorption, and the consequent overflow of sap causes the trees to grow out of their beautiful shapes; so the greater part of the hairy or fibrous roots have to be cut out.  This is, plainly speaking, to avoid the melancholy effect of indigestion.  To evergreens the fresh mould is given once in every three years; to the deciduous plants once a year.  In both cases, late spring is thought to be the best season for changing the mould.  The more sandy and lighter mould, with a little mixture of ordinary manure, is chosen for hard-grained trees; the darker clayish mould will not meet the requirements of such trees that are habitually given a more frequent supply of water, as it is more evaporative.

[Some history]
       Next, as to the history of dwarf trees.  Some of them are said to be of great antiquity.  If so, this quaint art of training trees must be a very old practice.  The art connoisseurs and collectors generally draw from all sources the best and oldest works of art.  But sometimes things are collected and admired only on account of being wrought during the reign of King So-and-so; no matter what they are.  For the purpose of historical researches, the value of an Art Museum should be in proportion to its contents, but there is not the least doubt [!] one would prefer paintings on the walls of Burlington House to the frescoes consecrated to the memory of an Egyptian king of an ancient dynasty.  The influence of age upon the value of a commodity is well known to be an important element.  But true art-lovers should not fail to appreciate their intrinsic value.  I would, therefore, fain dispense with discussion as to the ages of these dwarf trees, and only mention my authority that potted trees are said to have been general favourites since the time of SAKAKIBARA Juda, who introduced [sic] the cultivation of trees in pots somewhere about the end of the Kioho and the beginning of the Genbun (viz. in the European calendar, the beginning of the eighteenth century).  But it seems rather doubtful whether this be the true date, when we remember that the curious tea ceremony and the peculiar style of garden-making originated as early as the thirteenth century.  The trees in the garden of this school were very likely trained in much the same style as we see them in pots to-day.  Again, we see some pictures of potted trees drawn by Chinese artists over two hundred years old.  Hence I regret I can offer you no more than a conjecture that the practice of potting trees was very likely learned from China early in our history, and has undergone some changes on Japanese soil.  Later on, it appears to me that the schools of flower arrangement in various ways have affected the cultivation of potted trees.  But how far this is so I could not ascertain at present, principally owing to the scarcity of references at my command, and the short time which I had to prepare this paper.
       In conclusion, I should like to add (if I may do so without exceeding the generous limits of your patience) how these miniature trees illustrate the character of our people. It is evident that we can enjoy and dwell upon abstractions, though the traces of this quality seem, especially within the last few years, to be on the wane, being displaced by the more urgent necessity of turning out dynamos and setting up boilers or engines.  But what the Japanese are in heart is reflected in their pastimes.  Recreations tend to be mental rather than physical, and our people enjoy more or less the same reputation in this respect as the rest of the Asiatics.
       I remember having spoken, in the introduction to this paper, of paintings, which formed an idealistic contrast to those of the realistic school, and now, in conclusion, though it may seem scarcely germane to the intention of this paper, I may add a few remarks about them.  To do that we must go back a while to the masters from whom the art of painting was learned.  In the Sung Dynasty of Chinese history we first meet “poem pictures” of WANG Mo-ko.  These are very peculiar pictures by an artist who was properly called a Transcendentalist, since he simply sought the expression of emotions and conceptions: in every case Nature only plays a subordinate part.  They are, perhaps, too original and too independent.  They who painted them took them from the imagination and from the models which Nature supplied, as suggestions for developing expressions.  The so-called “truth” that Ruskin delighted in is almost entirely disregarded; in fact, such pictures are like rhymes and stanzas of the artists who paint their thoughts instead of imprisoning them in metres and syllables.  This imaginative school is an atelier, where the pupils all study such applications of the strokes of brushes as are thought best suited to their purposes.  It is more like a child learning how to write out his thoughts in an established method of writing.  The painting is a mere means to transfer the ideas of one to another.  Indeed, when Eastern imagination comes into play, many an original artist records his name on the rôle of human achievement.  But it often happens that his masterpiece is thought absolutely impossible, and put away with a sneer by his European comrades.  Still, the racial philosophical temper, which is developed to the highest pitch, is instinctively inclined to welcome and admire him in his native land; it is only in his own country that he is understood.  So we understand that other school of painters, who, as copyists, painted whatever beautiful things appealed to them.  They put into their pictures what they saw.  They love Nature, and try to improve on Nature in their daring designs.  These two schools have come to Japan, and are there still.



       In the cultivation of our miniature trees, it seems to me that these two schools of painting come together.  Need it be mentioned here that the influence of the idealistic paintings had a great influence upon the gardeners in forming the shapes of their trees?  Now, the gardeners in Japan are keenly sensitive to the beauties of the trees in Nature, but at the same time they exert all their art, whilst copying them, to try and excel Nature.  And how their humour and ingenuity succeeds in the result!  The Bonkei – miniature landscape [Plate VI.] – is the highest development [sic] in this industry of the cultivation of dwarf trees.  The idealistic painting is indisputably the foundation of the Bonkei.  Their peaceful recreation and gentle refinement may, as is often anticipated, vanish away before the tyranny of economical competition, which is called modern civilization.  This point I cannot here discuss.  But they have happily established in the pages of Art-history their claim to be artistic; they may not have been either thinkers, or scholars, or travellers, or inventors, but they were artists who cultivated such a tree.  And, though we must understand before we can admire and sympathize, I have every confidence that the world will admire them more in proportion as it understands them better.


       The Paper was illustrated by lantern slides, and several interesting and beautiful specimens of the dwarf trees were exhibited.

       After the reading of the Paper, the CHAIRMAN thanked the Lecturer for having prepared, on short notice, so excellent and interesting an account of dwarf trees, and said he knew he expressed the thoughts of all present when he marvelled at the skill with which our language had been handled by a member from Japan.  He trembled at the idea of what would happen if a British member of the Society were called upon at such short notice to read a paper in Japanese!  He then asked Mr. Osman Edwards, M.J.S., to propose a Vote of Thanks, which that gentleman did.

       Mr. ALFRED EAST, A.R.A., M.J.S., who seconded the Vote of Thanks, said that the subject of the Paper had interested him very much.  He well remembered having seen those little gardens in Japan which gave the impression of being so much larger than they were, and he had wished to know how the effects were obtained.  He came there that evening hoping that he might perhaps learn something of the technical processes by which the dwarfing of trees was produced.  He had heard of the grafting of the branches on the stem, and of the pruning of the roots, but unfortunately he had never had the opportunity on the  spot of learning what he wanted to know, and he was a little disappointed to-night that the lecturer had not gone further into that part of the subject.  Mr. East went on to say that they must not run away with the idea that Japanese trees were all small, and he alluded to the well-known magnificent avenue of cryptomerias at Nikko, which contained some of the largest trees in the world.

       Mr. MICHAEL TOMKINSON, Member of Council, supported the Vote of Thanks, and said that no adequate idea of the beauty of dwarf trees could be got from seeing them grow in London.  It was his opinion that the great fault of English growers in the treatment of conifers was that they gave them too much water; while as to bamboos and deciduous trees, he thought they probably did not get as much as they required.

       The motion was then put to the meeting, and passed unanimously.


1    Tsumura, Toichi, M.F.S.  "Dwarf Trees," Japan Society: Transactions, Vol. VI, Part I, pp. 2-15.  A talk given before the 11th Session, November 13, 1901. 

       Now digitalized here.

Also reprinted in Bonsai, BCI, September 1977, pp. 220-222 and October 1977, pp. 261-265.  The cryptomerias of Nikko are described in the note for the Atlantic Monthly article.

       Some biographical information on the author of the above article has since been located.  Per "Ambassadors of Commerce. II -- Mr. Toichi Tsumura, M.J.S." in The Anglo-Japanese Gazette, Vol. I, No. 4, October 15, 1902, pp. 76-77:

       WHEN commencing the series of articles which will appear in the columns of the "Gazette" under the above heading from time to time, we little thought that we should so soon have occasion to perform the pleasing duty as that of chronicling the departure from these shores of a Japanese gentleman as representative of British industries in the Far East.  Such an opportunity has, however, presented itself by the appointment of Mr. Toichi Tsumura to represent some of the leading firms in this country, and who sailed on the "Kawachi Maru" on the 10th inst.  Moreover, it is, we believe, the first instance in which a subject of the Mikado has been entrusted with a mission of this nature.
Toichi Tsumura

       Mr. Tsumura has received commissions from the following firms: Messrs. Thos. W. Ward, Albion Works, Sheffield, iron and steel work, machine tools, etc.; Messrs. Bullivant and Co., Limited, 72, Mark Lane, manufacturers of wire ropes, aerial ropeways, etc.; Mr. E. Hope-Pearse, St. Dunstan's House, Idol Lane, the sole agent for the following well-known brands: Cromartie whisky, Greenall's celebrated Warrington gins, Victor Clicquot champagne, etc.; Nicholson, Goswell Works. Stratford, varnish and paint manufacturers (this firm is making a special brand of white waterproof paint for the Japanese market, called Shirasagi, White Heron); and Messrs. E. Brown and Son, Garrick Street, of Meltonian blacking fame, etc.; Messrs. Genese and Young, 3 and 4, London Wall Avenue, wholesale clothiers and exporters; Messrs. Duhamel and Co., Plough Yard, E.C., preserved provisions, etc.; Messrs. J. and G. Webb, Limited, Islington, mineral waters.
       Although still a young man, Mr. Tsumura has managed, like so many of his fellow-countrymen, to acquire, during his eight years' residence in this country, a very thorough acquaintance of English ideas and habits.  It is experience, coupled with his knowledge of the customs and requirements of his native land -- and what he does not know in this respect, well, it would hardly be worth while going down the street to find out -- particularly fits him for the position which he has so deservedly won.
       After leaving Japan, Mr. Tsumura came to London, and turned his attention to shipbuilding, serving a one-year's apprenticeship with the Thames Ironworks, who at that time were carrying out a contract for the Imperial Japanese Navy.  During this period Mr. Tsumura studied the many intricacies of shipbuilding in its various branches.  Possibly finding that his vocation did not lie in the direction of the shipwright's craft, he then turned his attention to commercial pursuits, and was for a short period attached to the Consulate at Antwerp, at that time filled by an honorary Consul; and owing to the many delicate matters which were continually cropping up -- it was about the time of the Japan and China War -- his services were of considerable advantage.  From Antwerp, Mr. Tsumura returned to London, and entered the employ of the well-known firm of Messrs. Yamanaka and Co., of New Bond Street, which position he held until quite recently.
       Mr. Tsumura quickly impresses one with his ability to cope with the many and varied duties he will be called upon to perform.  He is a man brimful of humorous anecdote, but behind all this there is a bedrock of solid and practical information.  We may mention a slight incident that occurred during a recent interview.  Mr. Tsumura, after discussing the various interests which he will represent, called the attention of the writer to a very fine specimen of ivory handle for knives and forks, remarking that these would make suitable presents.  Quite so.  But has Mr. Tsumuru heard the tale of the philanthropic Hebrew who one day paid a visit to one of the crowded streets in one of the slum districts, and distributed rubber balls among the small boys with which to amuse themselves?  The following day this same astute son of Abraham, etc., appeared on the scene as a journeyman glazier.  One is inclined to ask whether Mr. Tsumura is prepared to supply "Turner" blades for these handles.  Although a business man to the core, Mr. Tsumura has devoted much of his spare time to literary pursuits.  At the [77] present time he is engaged on a work which will deal with the British commercial struggle with the Dutch during the seventeenth century.  This should prove extremely useful to those who are interested in the present position of Japanese commerce.  Mr. Tsumura is a member of the Japan Society in London, and at a recent meeting he contributed a very interesting paper on "The Dwarf Trees of Japan."

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