Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Evergreen Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: GastroGnome on July 20, 2012, 11:09 PM

Title: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 20, 2012, 11:09 PM
 I have had this Kifu Shimpaku for a bit over a year now, and decided to take a shot of it after putting up a new bench in the garden this afternoon.  Was wired to the tips last fall, and this season I've edited some deadwood, added others, and cleaned up the live veins.  In the future, I'm planning on reducing the weight of the foliage mass significantly, which is a matter of pushing back growth now.  I think in the future this will better balance with the thin trunk and elegant lines of the live veins.
Height from rim of "Tofukuji"(unknown as to generation) pot is 11".  When the foliage mass has been reduced, perhaps a nice old Nanban.....
Any suggestions or virts of the lighter foliage mass plan and Nanban pot welcome.
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: Elliott on July 21, 2012, 12:22 AM
Sweet piece of art! your trunk, 1st branch and apex all flow in the same direction. This gives you the feeling of calmness. This is a soft flow to design. Nothing wrong with that, but it works better on deciduous or something with really good nebari.
 Since its a juniper with some good movement and Shari's, etc, it would be more appropriate to create some dynamic tension in the design.
 Change the angle of the trunk so its moving to the right and then wire the apex and 1st branch so they are going to the left (maybe someone that has photoshop can do a virtual for us). When the apex and 1st branch are moving in the opposite direction to the trunk, now you have some dynamic flow.
 Doing that change will make your composition much more interesting. Go to and watch the video's with Ryan Niel and Mark Noelanders doing a side by side demo's at a recent show. I think its called dueling demo's or something like that. Ryan really explains this concept well and your tree looks like it was born to be much more dynamic.
 I would be happy to take this little beauty off your hands and do it ! LOL!!
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 21, 2012, 01:26 AM
Hi Elliot,
Thanks for the reply.  I believe I can deduce from your profile that I've seen you acting afool on film in Orlando recently...LOL.  :-)
But that's besides the point, I have buttloads of Shimpaku with Dynamic tension, In your face, wow, bang trees.  That's the point of this tree and why I got it.  I want this tree to express feminine elegance, as modern Shimps seldom do.  The goal is a quiet, calming near-bunjin.
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: Owen Reich on July 21, 2012, 03:08 AM
Off to a good start.  I agree the pads need to be chased back quite a bit.  The style you want sounds like what Kouka-en tends to go for with that trunk line.  I'd highlight that base as much as possible.  Ryan's and Marc's critique was well done.  Good points were made.  Different peole have different styles they prefer for shimpaku for instance.  Ryan made the point that dynamic tension is something his sensei likes.  Nobody is "wrong" ;D.  I lean more toward the graceful style with a trunk line like that.  One suggestion would be to decrease the visual weight of the current shari.  May just be from the flash or really white lime sulphur. 
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 21, 2012, 03:39 AM
Chaz Rae,
Thanks for your response, and thank you for continuing to post and read here.  I believe this is the best forum around(and have said so on my links page) and have decided to step up my efforts in posting, as their seems to be a lull, of sorts.  No dreams deferred here.
I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said.  I'd purchased the tree and "sale wired" it, knowing I'd be spending some time reducing that mass, for a bunjin ji-ish tree.  Fujikawa San is nothing if not consistent, it seems.  I had a one on one day this spring with the artist formerly known as Bjorn, and he echoed the sentiments I bought this tree for, those stylistic things under discussion.  While we did nothing more than give this tree a look that day, and discuss its wiring(which has many flaws and took me forever), we didn't work on it, but his suggestions echoed my own desires for the tree.  One day I looked at my evergreen benches and noted a dearth of elegance.  My Shimps, my pines...all are powerful, masculine trees, with bigass trunks and twisty Shari.  Not a damn thing Peter Warren would enjoy!  Lol.  So I set out for that other style, bunjin, cascades, and aged elegance the goal.  This is the first I picked up after that revelation.
Thanks again for the reply, update your blog!
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 21, 2012, 04:06 AM
And the focal jin, which is what I believe you're referring to, Owen, is way overplayed in this photo.  There is actually some very nice, old, white deadwood Shari, completely in shadow, from the bulging live vein and the shadows from the "kicker" lights.(total photog novice, ova here!). In person it's entirely different, though I admit to a tendency to over sulphur as well...120 days of 100% humidity a year makes one real paranoid about deadwood.  I had a 3 year old pressure treated lumber bench rot this summer....hence, the reason for the post(scroll up!)
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: Owen Reich on July 21, 2012, 07:14 AM
Blog posts are coming soon.  Finishing one on Stewartia monadelpha now actually.  It will be up in a few hours.  My blog is (
Any suggestions or feedback are welcome.  Many new Bonsai Art of Japan espisodes will also be coming out soon.  Bjorn has a new camera (with mic) so sound quality and effects will be even better.  Chazreee may make another appearance......Fujikawa-san was so blown away by the response he received about the YouTube series that we don't have to film at lunch any more! ;D i got in trouble many times for that repotting episode.

Oh, and I think that is a 2nd gen Tofukuji pot but need to see the bottom.
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 21, 2012, 10:35 AM
Good stuff, love those movies!  I'm about 75% sure it's a 2nd gen Tofukuji, there are some things that point to 1st gen, and others that point to 2nd.  The drum style, thickness of the pear skin clay, rivet type, that the pear skin appears on the interior and exterior of the pot(on most Jrs and forgeries its only the outside), foot style, and drying fabric impression on the bottom are all 1st gen, late work, style.  The way the feet are attached, lack of secondary chop, and that I bought it as a 2nd gen, all point to 2nd.  The master at Yorozuen(them guys know their Tofo!) echoed these points, and noted that the chop used is one Sr. Used mostly for pots over 7"(this is around 6.5"), he wouldn't say definitively either way.  I'll post a pic of the bottom when I have a mo.
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: John Kirby on July 23, 2012, 11:21 AM
I like this tree a lot. The pads will develop, but the tree has a really nice "feel" to it. You have chosen and done well.
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 23, 2012, 03:20 PM
Thanks a lot John!  I don't think I've ever posted trees here before, so to get such positive feedback from you and Chazree makes me a happy camper!
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: Elliott on July 23, 2012, 07:58 PM
Ahhh, only been to orlando once. Was realy hi in the 80's and I was driving thru with a couple of lesbian friends who lived in Valdosta Georgia and they were going to their favorite hairstylist. All I remember was being real hungry and needing to pee real bad.
 I reread ur post and realised you weren't asking for design advise, so sorry for my two cents, but when you post a pic on here, you might get rich on everybody's two cent's worth.
 Since you have buttloads of junipets with dynamic tension, send me a half butt load! LOL!
whatever you do, just keep makin trees!!
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 23, 2012, 08:20 PM
My bad Elliot, my bonsai friend Gerry,  local to LA sent me some photos and videos and I remembered one of the tags being an Elliot F.  Not so small world.  Every bodies 2 cents welcome!  That's why I like this forum, most everybody's 2 cents seems to be worth more like a hundred bucks!
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: Yenling83 on July 25, 2012, 10:26 AM
Very nice tree!
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 26, 2012, 11:09 AM
Here are some up close and personal pics of the pot.
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: Owen Reich on July 27, 2012, 12:01 AM
Ok, the nail heads, feet, and marking left by the fabric on the bottom of the pot do not match the father's work.  So, 2nd gen.  That comes Maeoka-san, my sempai (also an extremely talented pot maker).  Wait til you see what he's making for me  ;D.  I will post photos of his work later this year after he fires. 
Title: Re: Kifu Shimpaku
Post by: GastroGnome on July 27, 2012, 01:05 AM
That's the part that's confusing(and intriguing)about bonsai pottery to me Owen.  The master at Yorozuen said These exact same items WERE of the fathers style, but that this chop was normally used on bigger Poppas, and the method of foot attachment(see divets) is very common for Jrs, uncommon but not unknown for Srs.  I think part of the confusion lies in the breadth and depth of the fathers work...every type of pot, glazed and unglazed, scores of unique glazes, use of multiple clay types...