What Happened On This Date in "Recent" Bonsai History?


Days 11 - 20
Days 21 - 31 +

1 1971 -- Twelve people gathered at the Minnetonka YMCA to form what would become the Minnesota Bonsai Society. (""Minnesota Celebrations..." in ABStracts, Bonsai Journal, ABS, Vol. 30, No. 3, Fall 1996, pg. 124)

1990 -- A pair of postage stamps was issued by the Republic of Indonesia under the title of "Flora."  One was of a cactus; the other was of a bonsai Wareng.  The Gmelina elliptica is S-shaped with a massive whitened trunk bearing deadwood and growing up through moss in a shallow elliptical tray.   SEE ALSO: Jan 23, Jan 29, Feb 3, Feb 16, Mar 27, Mar 31, Apr 3, Apr 6, Apr 18, May 6, May 29, Jun 16, Jul 20, Aug 20, Aug 22, Sep 22, Oct 1, Oct 4, Dec 9.

2001 -- Dorothy S. Young died at the age of 82.  (In the late 1950's Dorothy became actively interested in bonsai as she had a supply of rejected poorly-shaped culls from the Keith Valley Nursery, a wholesale organization operated by her and her husband, Luther, in Spring House, PA.  Keith Valley was also one of the first bonsai nurseries on the east coast.  A handful of bonsai fanciers met in the mid-1960s at her home in Spring House and gave substance to several years of wishing: the establishment of a group that would serve the interests of all bonsai enthusiasts throughout North America.  Dorothy was thus one of the founders of The American Bonsai Society, and served as its president from 1973 through 1976.  She was the first editor for the ABS Journal (1967 to 1972), consulting editor (1977 to 1978), editorial advisor (1979 to 1985), and supplied over thirty articles to that periodical.  A charter member and founder of the Pennsylvania Bonsai Society, she was also the first editor of that club's  newsletter.  She was one of the assistants for Yuji Yoshimura as Master in Residence for his "Practical Applications -- Creation of the Five Basic Styles" presentation during the 1978 ABS Symposium in Ithaca, NY.  She also participated in the 1971 BCI Convention in Cleveland, OH as well as the1975 ABS Symposium in Kansas City, MO.  A true pioneering spirit in American bonsai, she authored an excellent textbook on the subject Bonsai, The Art and Technique (1985).  Dorothy and her husband, along with the Rosades, conducted a bonsai tour of Japan in 1970.  While in Japan, she was able to study another of her interests, that of Japanese brush painting.  She and Luther would conduct several tours to Japan.)

(Bonsai, BCI, September 1972, pg. 23)

Lynn Perry & Dorothy Young, 04/07/1989.
(Photo courtesy of Alan Walker, 05/11/07)

("Comment," Bonsai Journal, ABS, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1967 Spring, pg. 2; Stowell, Jerald P. "Dorothy White," ; "Falling Leaves, March 2001,"; McGroarty, Cynthia J.  "Dorothy Young, 82, Pioneer In Bonsai Plants," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 6, 2001,    SEE ALSO: Feb 19, Apr 20, Jun 15, Jul 21.

2 1985 -- The $25 million Kanuma Nature and Bonsai Park, designed by Japanese publisher and Satsuki azalea enthusiast Kenko Rokkaku, opened.  Visitors there can enjoy almost 250 masterpiece bonsai of a variety of species on display in five traditional Japanese style exhibition houses located on part of approximately 30 acres of scenic forest and wildflowers surrounded by mountains.  One hundred minutes by train from Tokyo, the complex is operated by Rokkaku's Satsuki Kenyusha publishing company, includes four miles of wooden paths, and has parking spaces for 400 cars and thirty buses.

("Something New Under the Sun" by Russell Coker,  Bonsai Magazine, BCI, May/June 1986,  pg. 25, datelined Kanuma City, Japan, gives the grand opening date as March 2nd; "Biography of Mr. Kenko Rokkaku" by Bill Spencer, same issue,  pg. 17, gives opening of Feb. 26.  Other sources, including International Bonsai, 1985/No. 2, pg. 27,  give March 2; photos from full-page ad on back covers of Bonsai Magazine, BCI, July/August 1986 and March/April 19878.)   SEE ALSO: Feb 23

2014 -- Harry Tomlinson died early Sunday morning, after having suffered from Alzheimer's for a number of years.  His condition had deteriorated rapidly during his last week.  (He had exhibited bonsai and gained awards in Britain and Japan, and judged the bonsai section at Britain's world-famous Chelsea Flower Show.  He was a professional bonsai artist since 1978 with his own studio, Greenwood Bonsai Studio in Nottingham, England.  This was the largest and most complete bonsai nursery in Britain.  In 1992 he married Petra Engelke, a full-time ceramic artist from the western German town of Essen who had moved to England the previous year.  To give a permanent display of their joint work, Harry and Petra opened the new "Greenwood Gallery" in conjunction with the studio.  By 1993, her bonsai pots were available through selected distributors in Europe, USA and Australia, and were featured at the World Bonsai Convention in Florida.  The Greenwood Bonsai Studio is now run by Harry's sons, Corin and Paul, who continue serving the bonsai community with quality trees, unsurpassed customer service and bonsai care/styling advice.  One of Europe's leading bonsai artists and instructors, Harry was also the author of several books including DK's The Complete Book of Bonsai (1991) which has been translated into several languages and Bonsai: 101 Essential Tips (1996)-- as well as the non-bonsai Educational Leadership: Personal Growth for Professional Development (2004) and Educational Management: Major Themes in Education, which he edited in 2004.  Harry retired from the business in 2008.) ("Welcome to Greenwood Bonsai Studio,"; "RIP Harry Tomlinson," posted by Corin Tomlinson 02 Mar 2014,; "About Petra Engelke Tomlinson,"   SEE ALSO: May 25, Oct 19
3 1951 -- Beginning today and running through the 11th, the California International Flower Show was held at Hollywood Park in Inglewood.  At this show, the fledging Southern California Bonsai Club won another first prize for its entry.  This group had been officially formed the previous November by John Naka and four friends, Fusaji ("Frank") B. Nagata, Morihei Furuya, Mrs. Ai Okumura, and Joseph Yamashiro, to bring bonsai within the reach of everyone.  Mssrs. Nagata, Furuya and Naka, along with their teacher Sam (Tameichi) Doi, one of the early knowledgeable bonsai men in Southern California, had arrived at the 1950 Gabriel Valley Fall Flower and Garden Show at the Fannie E. Morrison Horticulture Center in Pasadena to exhibit their trees.  Informed that individuals could not display unless they were sponsored by a club, the quick thinking Frank Nagata spoke up and said they were a club.  Without hesitation or benefit of conference he then gave the group's name.  These artists were now allowed to enter their trees, which did win a trophy and a blue ribbon at the Show the next day.  [And the following month (April 1951) the club would win a special award in the Southern California Spring Flower and Garden Show, again in Pasadena.  The group would go on to become one of the most influential in the state and be the training ground of many national and international teachers.]

Founders of The Southern California Bonsai Club (later the California Bonsai Society, Inc.)
(Bonsai in California, #1, 1967)

( Bonsai Techniques (BT) by JYN, pg. 257;  "My Husband, the Bonsai Man" by Alice Naka, Bonsai Magazine, BCI, Vol. XXV, No. 3, May/June 1986, pg. 22; even monkeys fall out of trees by Nina Shire Ragle (Laguna Beach, CA: Nippon Art Forms; 1987), pp. 7-8; "John Naka at the Atlanta Bonsai Congress '73," by Ann Getman, Bonsai Magazine, BCI, Vol. XIII, No. 6, July/August 1974, pg. 28; Bonsai in California, No. 1 (1967), pg. 1; "History of Bonsai West" by Dorothy S. Young, International Bonsai Digest presents Bonsai Gems, Fall 1974, pp. 93-94, also pg. 82; International Bonsai, IBA, 1986/No. 2, pg. 12; "History of California Bonsai Society" by Khan Komai, Bonsai in California, Vol. 3, 1969, pg. 38.)   SEE ALSO: Apr 20, April Also
4 2001 -- The first 30 minute episode of the 13-part  "Lindsay Farr's The Way of Bonsai" aired in Australia on Foxtel Lifestyle TV.  This was the first English language series entirely about bonsai.  A companion web site was also established.  [Viewers would tell the presenter and co-producer Farr that they "have found a greater strength of resolve towards their individual expression through Bonsai.  An insight into the origins and philosophy seems to better enable this."  A long-time bonsai nurseryman, Farr has had experience producing varied topic cable programs for both Western and Asian audiences.  A second 13-part series, which would include quite a bit of footage in China, would be in pre-production by this time and negotiations would be underway for international release of series one.]   (Linsay Farr in personal e-mails to RJB on October 15, 2000 through  January 26, 2002, and March 20, 2005 to change URL.)   SEE ALSO: May 20, Jun 1, Jun 17, Oct 1

2010 -- The Agricultural Society of Japan's Green and White Award conferment ceremony was held at Consul General Yasumasa Nagamine's official residence in San Francisco in honor of recipient Kusuo "Jimmy" Inatomi of Castro Valley.  The Agricultural Society of Japan, of which Inatomi is a member, selected him as an honoree last November for more than 50 years of contributions to U.S.-Japan friendship.  (Inatomi had founded the Fuji Bonsai Club in 1954.)

Kusuo "Jimmy" Inatomi (left) receives the award
from Consul General Yasumasa Nagamine.

("Agricultural Society of Japan Honors Bonsai Club Founder," 03-20-2010, )   SEE ALSO: Feb 25, Mar 10, Dec 24
5 1908 -- Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and others opened a second and more ambitious exhibition of Japanese woodblock prints at the Art Institute of Chicago.  This show, which would run through March 25, was displayed in six rooms designed by Wright.  The 649 prints, from several local collectors, were hung against gray walls on green cords and simply framed in wood.  Potted bonsai trees were placed on specially constructed platforms to give the exhibition space a more relaxed and intimate audience.  (The first display had been for 3 weeks in the spring of 1906 at the same venue, but with over 200 Hiroshige prints consisting of purchases made by Wright in Japan one year earlier, and apparently without bonsai.)   (Mirviss, Joan B.  The Frank Lloyd Wright Collection of Surimono (New York: Weatherhill Inc. and Phoenix (AZ) Art Museum; 1995), pp. 25-26, whose Fig. 1 is a photograph of the exhibit showing what appear to be 2 small conifers in sunken containers on top of half-height pillars/tables by the doorway.  No particular style is identifiable, other than "foot-tall one-gallon nursery specimens with a cut-off apex" (per RJB); "Exhibition History of The Art Institute, 1905-1909",
8 1908 -- Hugo Storer was born in Puerto Rico.  [He would go on to be the first bonsai enthusiast there.]  ("History of Bonsai in Puerto Rico," (    SEE ALSO: June 28

1915 -- Leo Cunningham was born in Gold Creek, MT.  [He would graduate from high school in Wallace, ID and attend Cheney College where he would major in music playing the violin.  In 1940 he would obtain a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and start a career in Industrial Engineering.  The Boeing Company would then hire him as one of the first three Industrial Engineers at that business.  Leo would marry his wife also in 1940, and after four years in Wichita, KS, they would come to Seattle where their only daughter Jeri Lee would be born.  Leo's interests would range from music, painting, winemaking, and gourmet cooking to golf and ice skating, but his one true passion after his family would be bonsai.  He would found the Puget Sound Bonsai Association and be its third president.  He would later be president of the American Bonsai Society (1987-90).  He would travel the Far East and Europe many times for his interests, as well as numerous U.S. cities for seminars and bonsai conventions.  In 1988 he would lead the team that would put together the original Weyerhaeuser Pacific Rim Bonsai collection.  In 1992 he would retire from Boeing.]

Leo Cunningham
(Bonsai Journal, ABS, Summer 1988, pg. 1)

("In Memorium...Leo Cunningham," Bonsai Journal, ABS, Vol. 38, No. 4, Winter 2004, pg. 17.)   SEE ALSO: Jan 26, Apr 2, Oct 7, Oct 31, Dec Also.
9 1916 -- Arthur Douglas Hall was born.  (Some forty years later he would start to make an impact with some of the earliest bonsai developed in South Africa.)  ("News" by Don and Pam Norquoy,, accessed 10/23/2005)  SEE ALSO: Sep 17

1981 -- The Indian Bonsai Association was formed by Dr. Leila Dhanda (Vice-President) and Dr. Hussain Tayebbhoy (President).  The purpose of the association is to propagate this artform.  Twenty-six years later, the group has more than hundred active members. ("Indian Bonsai Association -- Association,"   SEE ALSO: Nov Also
10 1967 -- Seventeen persons, from all over the U.S. and sponsored by the Bonsai Society of Greater New York, arrived in Tokyo via Honolulu for the start of a three-week tour of Japan.  [During the first week, the group would attend a traditional Japanese style dinner hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Kyuzo Murata, and participate in a series of lectures, demonstrations, and classes relating to bonsai.  The second week would involve sight-seeing around Tokyo, visits to the private bonsai collections of Chūzō Ōnuki and Saburō Katō, and viewing of auction items at the Ueno Bonsai Club.  The final week would take the group to the various celebrated temples of Kyoto, cruising the inland Sea to Takamatsu and the Kinashi Bonsai village, and via super express train to the famous "Yamaaki" bonsai container kiln in Tokoname in Nagoya.  One high point of the trip would be seeing the Imperial Bonsai Collection on the Imperial Palace grounds.  There the group would see a matched pair of red pine bonsai that were over 180 years old.  One of those pines would nine years later be gifted to the U.S. for its Bicenntennial.  Upon returning to the states, several members of the tour began a dialogue with others regarding a national bonsai society so that information could be distributed from coast to coast.  From these discussions, the American Bonsai Society would be born.]  ("The 30th Anniversary of ABS" by Jerald Stowell, Journal, ABS, Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring 1997, pp. 4-7, with 4 b&w photos)  SEE ALSO:  Feb 28, Mar 20, Jun 9, Jun 15

2003 -- California bonsai nurseryman and teacher Peter Sugawara died at age 87.  ( "In Memoriam," Kusamura Bonsai Club, )   SEE ALSO: Aug 1, Nov 6

2009 -- French bonsai artist Michel Sacal died.  (He was editor of the bimonthly France Bonsai magazine (1995-2001), president of the French Bonsai Association (1996-2001), edited the French edition of Salvatore Liporace's 2001 book Bonsai, Spirit and Substance (What Color is the Wind?), was editor of the French language edition of Bonsai Europe magazine beginning in the Spring of 2002, and authored the 2003 book Les Bases du Bonsaï: Le guide de l'amateur du bonsaï.  Michel demonstrated in the eleven-part Secrets of Bonsai 2006 video series.  See teasers for Vol. I ("Welcome to the world of Bonsai") and Vol. II ("Your first steps").  He also created the forum EDGFicus carica was a species that Michel promoted heavily.)

Michel Sacal, 07/2004.
(Photo courtesy of Alan Walker, 05/11/07)

( "A small Akamatsu pine in tribute to Michel Sacal," Internet Bonsai Club Forum,; photos of Michel can be found here.)   SEE ALSO: Jun 23

2011 -- The Agricultural Society of Japan's Green and White Award conferment ceremony was held at Consul General Hiroshi Inomata's official residence in San Francisco in honor of recipient Seiji Shiba.  The Agricultural Society of Japan selected him as an honoree last fall in recognition of his distinguished achievements in the promotion of agriculture and goodwill between Japan and the U.S.  (Shiba was involved in directing the establishment and sustaining the 13 years of the GSBF Bonsai Collection-North, which was renamed as GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt.  Director of that Collection from 1994 to 2008, he served as President of GSBF from 1997 to 1999.  A member of many local clubs, he has displayed his bonsai at those clubs' shows, GSBF conventions, National Bonsai Exhibits, and Kazari contests.  He has been a partner of a bonsai tool business, Shibui Bonsai, Inc., since 1994.)  (Morimoto, Carl N.  "Seiji Shiba Receives Green and White Award from Japan," GSBF Golden Statements, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, September/October 2011, pg. 7)   SEE ALSO: Feb 25, Mar 4, Aug 1, Sep 14, Nov 6

Days 11 - 20
Days 21 - 31 +



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