KUSAMONO :: Grass is packaged in such a way, then used as the main companion in bonsai display. What they (Walter Pall, Robert Steven and Tomohiro Masyumi) say about this trend?

William N Vallavanis (USA) use Kusamono in his bonsai display

William N Vallavanis (USA) use Kusamono in his bonsai display

Perhaps, long ago Kusamono be an alternative to replace suiseki because less costly. Japanese bonsai enthusiasts believe kusamono arise or become known at the time of the Meiji period, a period which is considered as the beginning of the modern Japanese bonsai.

In further developments, kusamono not just made from grass. Can be made from flowering plants, from plants trunked but the trunk can’t be large. Nowadays almost every bonsai shop in Japan are sells kusamono. Has own fans (mostly women), have own community, not only in Japan but also in other countries such as America, Korea, China, etc.

Kusamono began to seize the attention at around the 30′s, when seen in a bonsai display at the Kokufu exhibition —the largest bonsai exhibition in Japan. In recent years kusamono almost become a special identity in the prestigious bonsai exhibitions, everywhere.

Morten Albek (Denmark) use Kusamono in his bonsai display

Morten Albek (Denmark) use Kusamono in his bonsai display

“I usually use kusamono as a assistance for a main tree. It is used basically for positioning the ground, and sometimes for expressing a season. Remember … we have four seasons in Japan,” said Tomohiro Masyumi —one of the bonsai master from Japan— on “So it have to be smaller than trees,” he remainded.

According to Robert Steven, now kusamono has been commonly used everywhere, including in China and almost all the great bonsai exhibits. Its function is as an accentuation display, as well as a sweetener composition may as well as an element of counter balance. There are no limits type of grass or plants in use, including container.

“It’s will also be one of the mandatory elements in the exhibition of International Bonsai Art and Culture Biennale 2014 which will be held in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in addition to container planting ideal and harmonious and table /placemat,” said Robert Steven on

WALTER PALL SAYS ____________________________________

Why when we look at the bonsai exhibition in China rarely use ‘kusamono’ as a companion of bonsai?
Because kusamono is a Japanese thing and foreign to many Chinese.



Actually how kusamono history in the world of bonsai?
Mainly done in Japan, now spreading throghout the world. A lot done in Europe. It has not much to do with bonsai, but is only used as companion.

What is the function of the first? Is only as a complementary and comparative visibility?
There are lots of rules and ideas in Japan about this. Some also follow these in the West. I think we can just see it as decoration and use our artistic instinct. This may well be quite different from what a Japanese person would do. This is especially true when we show trees which are not Japanese species from Japanese origin.

And is it okay to use anything other than an kusa grass?
Sure, you can use any little plant that you like.

Besides, is there a philosophy, and may not use kusamono in an exhibition and contest?
Because they think it is a Japanese craft and one must do as the Japanese do. I personally see bonsai as and art form and you can do anything. But you may be the only person who likes it. Kusamono for me is decoration that you can use, both don’t have to. Often there is too much on bonsai exhibits. If a tree is large and impressive and does not have too much space on an exhibit it is better to not use an decoration with it at all.



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  2. Newbie says:

    Awesome topics!
    Thanks you master WP
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  3. Bonsai Line says:

    I’ve seen a lot of bonsai exhibition in Europe. I think with Kusamono, display a bonsai become look more natural and artistic.

  4. Mark says:

    Really Cool Sites …

  5. Eliana Herkstroeter says:

    I prefer without kusamono on every bonsai display. Back to the original rule, bonsai is something objective view from close range. If a bonsai given kusamono as a additional accessories, the bonsai look like penjin.

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