Meifu Bonsai Exhibition 2015

Meifu Bonsai Exhibition is one of the longest running shows still happening each year in Japan.  Second oldest in fact, right behind Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition held each year in Tokyo.


The entrance display is always very impressive at Meifu-Ten.

I really have a great time at this show.  It is by far my favorite exhibition venue.  A large convention center with floor to ceiling windows pouring natural light onto the bonsai.  Some of the trees are really great and many of the visitors and other professionals are from the Nagoya area, so I get the chance to chit chat with some familiar faces while hanging around at the show.

MT149 MT148


From what I’ve heard, Meifu-ten was at one time considered a top level exhibition.  Similar to Taikan-ten and Kokufu-ten.  Bringing huge crowds and some of the highest quality bonsai from all over Japan.  Since the 1970’s however, bonsai popularity has been in decline all over the nation and consequently many bonsai shows have scaled back and become local shows or even dissolved all together.  At this point, Meifu is somewhere in the middle.  Many of the trees are amazing, previous Kokufu winners, certified masterpiece bonsai, and trees working their way up in the circuit. Some of the trees have a very local feel however, sort of top level amateur or lower level professional quality.  When there is a huge gap in quality its much easier to appreciate the good stuff.  Go to a top level show and its one world class tree after another.  Not to say this is a bad thing, just saying its more difficult to compare.  Especially if you dont look at bonsai all day every day.

In this article I’m going to share photos of displays from the show.  As you’re scanning through, try to take note of a few things.  How the display is set up.  Do the display elements enhance the tree or draw attention away from the tree?  Are the sizes of the display items and available space proportioned well?  Is the table a good match.. strong enough, soft enough, too high, to low, etc.  While there are no set rules to display at Meifu-ten, there are a few general guidelines that tend to make for a more attractive set up.  Typically a center focused display works best.  By this I mean a display set up in a way that the bonsai and the accent are both moving toward each other and the center of the display, versus moving away from each other.  The idea is a common layout concept in many design formats, not just bonsai.  When everything is moving toward the center it keeps our eyes in the display.  When we face things away from each other it has a tendency to break our focus and kick us out of the display.  It’s amazing to watch people consistently walk right past a display at a show and not even realize that they did it.  I wont get into rules and rights and wrongs with this thing.  Just thought it would be fun to give some food for thought while you view the show.

Lets go!MT1 MT2 MT3

MT5 MT6 MT7 MT8 MT9 MT10 MT11 MT12 MT13 MT14 MT15 MT16 MT17

MT18 MT19 MT20 MT21 MT22 MT23 MT24 MT25 MT26 MT27 MT28 MT29 MT30 MT31 MT32 MT33 MT34

MT36 MT37 MT38 MT39 MT40 MT41 MT42 MT43 MT44 MT45 MT46 MT47 MT48 MT49 MT50 MT51 MT52 MT53 MT54 MT55

MT57 MT58 MT59 MT60 MT61 MT62 MT63 MT64 MT65 MT66 MT67 MT68 MT69 MT70 MT71 MT72 MT73 MT74 MT75 MT76 MT77 MT78 MT79 MT80

MT81 MT82 MT83 MT84 MT85 MT86 MT87 MT88 MT89 MT90 MT91 MT92 MT93 MT94 MT95 MT96 MT97 MT98 MT99 MT100 MT101 MT102 MT103 MT104 MT105 MT106 MT107

MT108 MT109 MT110 MT111 MT112 MT113 MT114 MT115 MT116 MT117 MT118 MT120 MT121 MT122 MT123 MT124 MT125 MT126 MT127 MT128 MT129 MT130 MT131 MT132 MT133 MT134 MT135 MT136 MT137 MT138 MT139 MT140 MT141 MT142 MT143 MT144

MT145 MT146 MT147


And last but certainly not least, an old Japanese Black Pine named Zuio.  Zuio is a previous winner of the Kokufu prize and is a certified important bonsai masterpiece.  Additionally it took 1st place at Meifu this year.  Zuio has a long history at Aichien and is one of the most powerful pines I have seen.  Mr. Tanaka was kind enough to grant me the privilege of preparing Zuio for the show this year.  Exhibition aside, it was an honor just to spend a few days working on it.  Sometime in the near future I will be doing a blog post dedicated to Zuio’s history.  Keep an eye out!



Ok everybody, thats all I’ve got for this one.  Maybe you noticed some new things about display that you previously didn’t consider.  If so, keep trying to view bonsai displays with this type of eye.  Taking in the entire composition as a whole.  It can make bonsai shows even more enjoyable.  A strong display is often times much more than just the sum of its components.  If they don’t go well together it might not work, regardless of how nice they are.  When its good, its good.

Thanks for reading! Until next time…