I've seen this tree at the GSBF Collection in Oakland. The story behind the tree is very impressive. Great to see that it has been kept alive under bonsai conditions all these years. Beyond the impact that the tree's history conveys, the tree itself is not really to my liking. The deadwood and trunk are very impressive, however the leaves are WAY too large to be in proportion with the overall design. But who cares, right? When you consider how old this puppy is, petty criticisms we have (you know we sure have them on these forums ) go right out the door!
It is quite an impressive tree to actually see in person, the photos do not due justice to the size or beauty of this tree. The Collection North in Oakland is a rare gem and I recommend a visit for those in the Bay Area.
So, this tree has been a bonsai since the times of the feudal warlord society in Japan. I don't give a rat's @ss about how big the leaves are, but this bonsai is nothing short of a legend, and it should be considered as a national treasure, here in the US. The fact that it survived for so long outside Japan, makes it even more impressive. The person who takes care of it every day, should be given a memo, saying "This tree, or your life".
I am going to visit the collection in a few weeks (the first time), and it will be a humbling experience to touch the tree (when nobody looks). To me, it incorporates everything that a bonsai is about.