This Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) won the environment minister’s prize at the 20th Green Festa Kokubunji bonsai fair in Takamatsu’s Kokubunji town, Japan. It is 46 centimeters (18.1″) high and about 80 years old. It is owned by Michiyo Yano from Onohara in the city of Kanonji, Kagawa Prefecture and appears on the Bonsai World website.
So what’s eccentric about a small masterpiece that won a major Japanese prize? Two things catch the eye.
A large wound
First is the large wound on the lower left side of the trunk. Often large wounds are unsightly and spoil the beauty of a bonsai. Also, this one looks like it was just left to heal naturally rather than carved as is so often the case. Fortunately, the result is natural and uncontrived, rather than the overly refined look that sometimes comes with carving, and adds character to an already powerful tree.
Second are the lines of the trunk. After the first bend the trunk line is straight (horizontal). This is followed by a 90 degree angle and then the trunk is straight (vertical) again. Right angles together with straight lines are usually considered unsightly and might cause you to dismiss most trees as unworthy bonsai material. But one look at this tree reveals that in some cases, straight lines and 90 degree angles work to perfection.