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Empire Bonsai's Kimura Masterclass, Reviewed by Michael Hagedorn


Before and after Shimpaku Juniper by Masahiko Kimura. No wonder they call him the Magician. The tree's height started at 15" (38cm) and ended up at 28" (71cm)


Empire Bonsai's new Masterclass with Bonsai Master Masahiko Kimura is cause for celebration in our world bonsai community. Though I have not had a chance to review the course, Michael Hagedorn has (Michael is the owner of Crataegus Bonsai and author of Bonsai Heresy), and anything Michael writes or says regarding bonsai deserves our attention, so it seems a good idea to simply reprint his review here

But first... because we know that many of our readers are relatively new to bonsai and may not know who Masahiko Kimura is, suffice the he is often referred to as 'the Magician' and the title is perfectly apt.

Master Kimura, more than anyone, revolutionized and brought the art of bonsai into the modern era. And he has accomplished this with remarkable innovation, daring and flair combined with deep knowledge of both the aesthetic and horticultural foundations of bonsai. Almost anyone who seriously practices bonsai has been influenced by Master Kimura, whether they know it or not
Continued below...

This is magnificent root-on-rock planting is one of many that Mr. Kimura created just a few years ago. The photo is from an event at the the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, titled Contemporary Bonsai Masters: Masahiko Kimura; Playing with Bonsai, the Origin of His Works

 Michael Hagedorn's review, in his own words...

"Bonsai Empire keeps rolling out new online courses, the latest being a rare look into the garden and work of Masahiko Kimura. This is the first time Mr. Kimura has agreed to do an online course.

Kimura Masterclass is divided into several sections: 1. the styling of a windswept white pine, 2. creating a juniper rock planting, 3. a wander through the garden’s two areas, and 4. an interview."
Continued below...


 Michael's review continued...,
"While Mr. Kimura does not offer any of the rare bending techniques he’s famous for, the sensitivity with which he sets branches on this white pine shows that he’s not just an inventor. The slow pace of the course allows for a thoroughness in the teaching."


 Micheal's review continued...
"He explains many fine points in his styling including the reasoning behind why he made such a broad crown on this windswept. It is interesting to see how the set of his branches has changed over the years, becoming much softer in the latter part of his career."


 Micheal's review continued...
"Apprentices help attach pre-wired junipers to this rock. They create their own dramatic rocks using techniques of reductive sculpture, later coloring them as well. Commonly Mr. Kimura uses a rock to suggest a trunk, and several small plants to suggest one larger one, and this composition follows suit."


 Micheal's review continued...
"Two areas are shown, the display area (shown here), which is public, and the private area, which is not, containing client trees and works in progress. It is very rare to get a look at anything in the private area so this is a nice glimpse."


Micheal's review continued...
"The end of the course was my favorite part, an interview showing off Mr. Kimura at his most introspective."

"Once again Oscar Jonker of Bonsai Empire shows off his skills as a videographer and as a reporter, only gently guiding with questions through a translator, and mostly allowing artists to speak and present for themselves. Keep them coming!

"To enroll in the lifetime membership online course, visit Kimura Masterclass."

Here's your link to Michael Hagedorn's Crataegus Bonsai website & blog


The Magician
from Stone Lantern's Masters Series


Michael Hagedorn's Post-Dated and Bonsai Heresy 



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