JOHN YOSHIO NAKA
IN CELEBRATION OF A GRAND MASTER'S LIFE
This Page Last Updated: October 16, 2010
Bonsai Techniques II
was published in 1982. (This one and the first would see translation
into four other languages by the end of the decade.) The 442 pages
and 1,005 b&w photos and line drawings made this required reading in
the practice of the art of bonsai. Most of the earlier books in English
leaned more towards basic horticultural knowledge and techniques for keeping
the trees alive. In time, this material shifted towards explaining
the aesthetics involved in styling and shaping.
For the twentieth anniversary symposium of the Bonsai Society of Greater
New York in April 1983, Yuji Yoshimura and John Naka were the principal
lecturer/demonstrators. They then headlined July 6 through 10 for
the BCI Convention in Orlando, FL
And Naka-san was one of four leading teachers who participated in a series of Master's Design articles for International Bonsai magazine. Each artist was allowed to discuss his own particular design for the given style. This year's style was Informal Upright, 1984 would have the Cascade, 1985 would be Slanting, and 1986 would see the Formal Upright. Each artist was allocated 100 points to divide among the designated elements pertinent to his bonsai design, and each supplied sketches which were then rendered into a standardized format. 23
After displaying it at the Philadelphia Flower Show March 10 to 17 to some
quarter million people, John presented his masterpiece juniper forest
National Bonsai Collection
in Washington, D.C. in March, 1984. The composition
was the first resident of the new American Bonsai Pavilion and the largest
bonsai at the National Arboretum. It was slightly taller than the
49" high, single trunk Japanese red pine (
) donated by the Imperial Household in 1976. At the reception honoring
was dramatically displayed against a golden screen, and was the only bonsai
in the room.
In 1985 John Naka came to the
with a tour group of mainly Americans. He held a one-day lecture
which included the restyling of a few trees. The event is considered
the turning point for bonsai in that country. Naka was the first
to speak on the subject there and the members of the Philippine Bonsai
Society, Inc. (formally organized in 1975) attended the lecture in full
force. His advocacy for "the rules" was easily accepted. After
that visit, his second book became available and it became the bonsai bible
there, too. Subsequently, nearly every tree was restyled and judged
in shows in accordance with the "the rules."
A color photograph of
graced the May/June 1986 cover of BCI's
The GSBF Convention in Anaheim from Nov. 5 through 8 was the site of Masahiko
Kimura's first appearance outside of Japan. Knicknamed the
"The Magical Technician"
Kimura accomplishes fantastic and sometimes
unbelievable bonsai designs with the use of power tools. For his
demonstrations he used two different junipers. During these and his
workshop for ten students, Kimura assisted each student in his quiet, empathetic
manner while John Naka translated (as he often did for major bonsai events featuring Japanese masters).
John Naka conducted a demonstration and workshop on April 23 and 24, 1988
for the fifth annual Mid-Atlantic Bonsai Festival held in Willow Grove,
PA, before a gathering of a dozen clubs.
The first World Bonsai Convention was held in Omiya,
-- the center of the world's bonsai art for most of this century -- between
April 6 and 9, 1989. Its theme was "World Peace Through Bonsai."
Almost thirteen hundred enthusiasts from twenty-eight countries gathered
for the event at which three dozen Japanese masters gave lectures and
demonstrations. John was also a headline demonstrator.
At the 1990 ABS Symposium in Columbus, OH, John was the lead artist (June
27 - July 1). Three days later for the BCI convention in Honolulu,
Japanese grand master Saburō Katō was the headliner with Shinji
Ogasawara and John.
On February 21, 1991, in the city of Cali,
the Latin-American Bonsai Federation (LABF) was formally organized.
The meeting coincided with the celebration of "Cali-Bonsai-10 Years."
Among the impressive co-signers of the Constitutive Act was WBFF Vice President, John Yoshio Naka.
The IBC'92 Convention, "Magic in Memphis," took place from May 21 to 25
in Memphis, TN with Masahiko Kimura and John Naka as the guest artists.
The aforementioned LABF held its first formal meeting here.
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