Need help finding set of Japanese books

Ohmy222

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Got a tough one but I am looking for a set up Japanese books that are about 10 volumes or so with each book being focused on a species or a group of species. I don't know the name but saw them recommended once (likely here) and wanted to find them. I jotted them down but no idea where I saved it off. The books had both drawings and photos I believe. Any ideas?
 

meushi

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That describes several series, but most probably one of the following two:
  • Kyosuke Gun minibonsai series from the 1990s, which now has an official French translation (easier to type into a translation engine than Japanese) that covers 8 of the original 10 volumes. There are 3 add-on volumes: "mini bonsai tips", "a mini bonsai that can be done in 3 years" and "mini bonsai 365 days of work and management". I have the entire series in Japanese + "mini bonsai tips" and "mini bonsai that can be done in 3 years". They're decent books, but the content is now 30 years old... the techniques and horticulture knowledge have evolved a bit in those 30 years. You'll probably only find the Japanese version on second hand marketplaces (Amazon, yahoo auctions, eBay).
  • Kinbon "tree type" MOOK series, which ran until 2017 but is only available in Japanese so far. I have roughly half the series so far, the content is pretty decent. The entire series can be ordered from Kinbon (in English) for around $100 + shipping or from Amazon.
 

meushi

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Another possibility would be the "Bonsai special class" series (盆栽専科) from Bonsai Senka Publishing. Those are really complete books from the 1970s, so the techniques and horticulture knowledge have evolved a lot since their publishing. As you've probably guessed, the whole set is in my bonsai bookshelf. The pines volume includes the first version of Abe's "Pine bonsai".
 

Ohmy222

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Thanks so much for your help. I am pretty certain it is the Kinbon series. I can't find the English version on their site though. Interested in which of these is your favorite though.
 

meushi

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I didn't express that correctly :)

You can enquire in English about purchasing through the "For foreigners" function: https://www.bonsai.co.jp/contact_en/index.php

The product codes to reference in the enquiry are:
  1. Japanese white pine: S000B41
  2. Japanese black pine: S000B42
  3. Shimpaku: S000M01
  4. Japanese red pine: S000M07
  5. Ilex serrata and Malus halliana: S000M09
  6. Japanese maple and Japanes beech: S000M10
  7. Ume and chojubai: S000M15
  8. Kaki and kinzu: S000M17
  9. Trident and zelkova: S000M20
  10. Japanese camelia and cherry trees: S000M25
  11. The entire set: H191954
They will normally reply within 2 or 3 business days with a quote including shipping.

The three series are really different.
The Kinbon series is a compendium of modern horticulture info and bonsai techniques for a given species (the "sodate kata" in the title means "how to grow"). You will need a pretty good Japanese reading ability to get the most out of it. The automated translation engines tend to really suck at Japanese, so pretty much forget about using the camera automated translation of your smart phone.
The Kyosuke Gun series contains a few pages of horticulture and bonsai techniques, but each book is really a set of projects taking you from raw material to show-ready mini bonsai. Some projects take 3 to 5 years (zelkova broom), some projects take over 10 years just for the trunk like (thick tapering trunk moyogi chojubai). There isn't much text once you're in the projects, but the text contains the details and nuances that can't be expressed in drawings. You could almost go through it by knowing a few kanji (日 for day,月 for month,年 for year,葉 for leaf,枝 for branch) and some Japanese conventions (cross means no, triangle means possible but not best, circle means best).
The "Bonsai special class" series would require being at a true native level of reading Japanese and a lot of time to digest the information and chase updates from the 40+ years since publication. The page count per volume is scary, Abe's "pine bonsai" is less than a quarter of the pines volume.
 

R3x

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That describes several series, but most probably one of the following two:
  • Kyosuke Gun minibonsai series from the 1990s, which now has an official French translation (easier to type into a translation engine than Japanese) that covers 8 of the original 10 volumes. There are 3 add-on volumes: "mini bonsai tips", "a mini bonsai that can be done in 3 years" and "mini bonsai 365 days of work and management". I have the entire series in Japanese + "mini bonsai tips" and "mini bonsai that can be done in 3 years". They're decent books, but the content is now 30 years old... the techniques and horticulture knowledge have evolved a bit in those 30 years. You'll probably only find the Japanese version on second hand marketplaces (Amazon, yahoo auctions, eBay).
  • Kinbon "tree type" MOOK series, which ran until 2017 but is only available in Japanese so far. I have roughly half the series so far, the content is pretty decent. The entire series can be ordered from Kinbon (in English) for around $100 + shipping or from Amazon.
Great info, thanx a lot! Could you please provide Japanese title for Kyosuke Gun series so that searching for it is easier? Thank you.
 

meushi

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Sure thing!

The main Kyosuke Gun series is aptly named "図解 群境介のミニ盆栽" (Zukai Gun Kyousuke no mini bonsai - Illustrated Gun Kyosuke's mini bonsai). It is made of 10 volumes:
  1. クロマツ -> Japanese black pine
  2. ヤマモミジ -> Japanese maple
  3. サツキ。ツツジ -> Satsuki & Tsutsuji
  4. シンパク -> Shimpaku
  5. ウメモドギ。ヒメリンゴ -> Ilex serrata & crab apples
  6. ウメ。サクラ -> Prunus mume & cherry trees
  7. トショウ -> Juniperus rigida
  8. カエデ -> Trident maple
  9. ケヤキ -> Zelkova
  10. ボケ。チョウジュバイ -> Boke & Chojubai
There are additional books:
  1. 図解群境介のミニ盆栽コシのコシ -> Zukai Gun Kyousuke no mini bonsai koshi no koshi -> Illustrated Gun Kyosuke's mini bonsai tips (ISBN 4540920995)
  2. 図解3年でできるミニ盆栽 -> Zukai san nen de dekiru mini bonsai -> illustrated mini bonsai that can be done in 3 years (ISBN 454089143X)
  3. マンガミニ盆栽365日 作業・管理編 -> manga mini bonsai 365 nichi sagyou / kanri-hen -> 365 days of mini bonsai work / management (ISBN 454005158X)
  4. ミニ盆栽のすべて -> mini bonsai no subete -> All about mini bonsai (ISBN 4564408569)
  5. やさしくつくれるミニ盆栽 -> yasashiku tsukureru mini bonsai -> mini bonsai that can be made easily (ISBN 4391125803)
  6. 失敗しないミニ盆栽 -> Shippai shinai mini bonsai -> mini bonsai that doesn't fail (ISBN 4416403143)
 
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Are you looking for the 近代盆栽樹種別シリーズ, by chance?
I have the shinpaku and white pine issues and they are both excellent.

They are quite difficult to find used, but Kinbon has a listing for all of them here.

I personally still want the Japanese maple/beach and the trident maple/zelkova books, but I have yet to find them for sale anywhere.

Edit: I see someone above mentioned these as well. It really doesn't get much better than these IMO.
 

meushi

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The momiji/buna and kaede/keyaki books are quite good. I started the collection backwards from the tsubaki and rouyagaki volumes. I still need to buy the goyoumatsu, kuromatsu, shinpaku and akamatsu volumes to complete the series.

I also have the goyoumatsu and kuromatsu volumes from the 作業実例から学ぶ/"learn from work examples", which are decent as well. I'm currently tempted by the "all about shinpaku"/真柏のすべて book.
 
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The momiji/buna and kaede/keyaki books are quite good. I started the collection backwards from the tsubaki and rouyagaki volumes. I still need to buy the goyoumatsu, kuromatsu, shinpaku and akamatsu volumes to complete the series.

I also have the goyoumatsu and kuromatsu volumes from the 作業実例から学ぶ/"learn from work examples", which are decent as well. I'm currently tempted by the "all about shinpaku"/真柏のすべて book.
真柏のすべて looks quite good. Fairly similar to the 樹種別シリーズ. What I really like about them is not only the detailed season-by-season care, but the major work progressions in the back of the book. It's good to see long term development in bonsai books. But yes, I really want to get my hands on the momiji/buna and kaede/keyaki books, although I don't have/don't plan on getting any buna or keyaki. I'd even be happy with one of them. I didn't realize they were only 1,200 yen / each new. I might just see if I can find them new. I hate paying new price for books though, I normally search book offs, yafuoku, and merukari for everything.
 

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