With a heavy heart I learned of John's passing on May 19, This extraordinary generation helped bonsai to survive the traumas of World War II, nurtured its regrowth, and dedicated it as a vehicle for international friendship and peace. Ours was just one of countless honors. John has received the National Heritage Fellowship, our nation's highest cultural award. He also received Japan's Imperial Cultural Award.
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It doesn't take very long once someone becomes interested in bonsai before they hear of the late John Naka. His books "Bonsai Techniques I and II" are likely the most recommended books in the art, not only to beginners but also to the more advanced artists that somehow missed reading them. They are a welcome addition to every artist's library. We offer this trilogy as a testimonial to the artistic genius of John Naka.
Originally conceived as three separate galleries sorted by drawings, bonsai, and photographs of John, we later decided not to divide or classify the submitted photographs into different galleries, but instead to offer them together, in a single gallery as an in depth exploration into his genius.
Next to John's bonsai, his drawings and sketches speak the loudest of his obvious talent and his great love of trees. John had the gift of not only seeing the future of a tree, but also of being able to dramatically capture his vision on paper. Couple those gifts with his ability to transform these ideas into actual living, artistic bonsai, and you have the stuff legends are made of. It is little wonder that John Naka is remembered with awe and respect and is often referred to as the father of American Bonsai.
AoB usually includes a brief bio of the featured artist at this point, in this case we have decided to forgo the bio, as there is no way we can do justice to this great man by adding anything that would surpass that which already has been done. We mean this to be a dynamic gallery in which those who view it can add any content that they may have by John Naka, be it scans of his drawings, photographs of his bonsai, or photographs of John himself, simply by emailing them, with your name and a brief history of the drawing or drawings, to will artofbonsai.
As always at AoB, the owner of the pictures retains all copyrights and will receive full credit for them.
AoB only requests permission to use them in this gallery. We hope you'll take the time and help us expand this gallery. Hillsborough Bonsai Society is no longer in existence. Bob Kato passed away in and is missed greatly by the Bonsai Community.
Photograph by Mike Page. Prints were made in a limited edition. The crest in the background is John Naka's family crest that he gave a framed copy in gold foil to his disciple students. John gave Patrick permission to use his image and the print was copyrighted. Photograph submitted by Ed Trout. A drawing of Mike Page's California Juniper done at a workshop.
Mike still has the tree and greatly values the drawing. Scan of drawing submitted by Mike Page. From the collection of Jim Smith, this sketch is of a Ficus salicifolia originally created by Mayna Hutchinson in In Jim acquired the tree and restyled it. From the collection of Jim Smith, this sketch is of a Ficus salicifolia that was created by Jim in The bonsai died last year due to hurricane damage.
From the collection of Jim Smith, this sketch is of a Portulacaria afra Jim created in , his first Portulacaria. Jim restyled it last year completely different. Jim asked John to make a sketch of this tree as a cascade, he did, but Jim never made the change. It was in the National Bonsai Collection and has since died. In John spent a weekend with Jim's Study Group, Jim asked him to make a sketch of this bonsai in a new style, he did, but Jim never made the change.
From the collection of Jim Smith, this sketch is one of the many drawings of bonsai that John made of the members bonsai at Jim's study group in Besides this drawing, a haiku was also included. Photographs by Patrick Giacobbe. Taken at the National Arboretum in , Patrick was disappointed to see that Goshin was turned so that the back could receive sunlight at the time of his visit. Many years later he realized that the photographs he took during that visit showed views of Goshin that are not commonly seen.
These photographs and the angles that they were shot at allows us to seen the genius of John Naka at work. This forest is truly inspirational in that it shows incredible balance and flow even from these rare views, offering more than a single visually pleasing view. The following photographs and scans were sent to us by Ed Trout who has the originals from the now defunct Eastman Kodak's Applied Photography Magazine.
This 6 page layout featuring John Naka appeared in issue 41, It would seem that bonsai as an art form was alive and well in The method of overlaying Naka's bonsai creations onto stylized backgrounds using both imaginary creations and actual photographs, gave a dramatic effect that is rare in today's presentations.
The last page states that one definition of bonsai can be proved photographically by cropping the pot out of the picture and what is left should be the "illusion of full scale reality" and used to judge exellence.
I am sure we will all agree that the results of this experiement shows excellence and as such reintroduces us to a method of photographing bonsai that we would do well to try and duplicate today. Copyright The Art of Bonsai Project. All rights reserved. Ficus salicifolia originally created by Mayna Hutchinson in Ficus salicifolia that was created by Jim in Portulacaria afra Jim created in , his first Portulacaria.
Eastman Kodak's Applied Photography Magazine.
He was born a Nisei Japanese-American , but at age 8 moved back to his parents' home country, where he extensively studied the art of bonsai due to his grandfather's influence. In Orange County , Naka and four friends founded a bonsai club in November, , which is known today as the California Bonsai Society. He became a very important force in American bonsai art in the s—60s. He was a driving force in the spread of bonsai appreciation and the practice of bonsai art in the West and elsewhere. Naka traveled and taught extensively around the world, at conventions and clubs, but refused to hold classes in Japan where bonsai had been highly developed along certain lines over the centuries , saying "They want me to teach, and I tell them it's like trying to preach to Buddha.
John Y. Naka, 89; Brought Art of Asian Bonsai to the West
It doesn't take very long once someone becomes interested in bonsai before they hear of the late John Naka. His books "Bonsai Techniques I and II" are likely the most recommended books in the art, not only to beginners but also to the more advanced artists that somehow missed reading them. They are a welcome addition to every artist's library. We offer this trilogy as a testimonial to the artistic genius of John Naka. Originally conceived as three separate galleries sorted by drawings, bonsai, and photographs of John, we later decided not to divide or classify the submitted photographs into different galleries, but instead to offer them together, in a single gallery as an in depth exploration into his genius. Next to John's bonsai, his drawings and sketches speak the loudest of his obvious talent and his great love of trees.
NEA National Heritage Fellowships
It is a forest planting of eleven Foemina junipers Juniperus chinensis , the earliest of which Naka began training into bonsai in Naka donated it to the National Bonsai Foundation in for display at the United States National Arboretum and it has been there ever since. Naka began working with the first two of the eleven trees that would ultimately make up Goshin in Goshin first took shape as a forest planting around
John Yoshio Naka, the world-renowned bonsai master who was credited with bringing the art to Western culture, has died. He was The cause of death was not announced. The Japanese art that dates back to the 13th century -- though it originated in China several centuries before -- involves dwarfing and shaping miniature trees and shrubs with wire and careful pruning. It took 55 years for Naka to grow it. In , the U. National Arboretum in Washington, D.