North American Japanese Garden Association To Host Philadelphia & New York Heritage Tour & Workshop

Two-Day Event Focus On Modernist and Traditional Japanese Design In the Garden

Philadelphia, PA – On October 7 and 8, the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) is teaming up with the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) to explore the adaptation and preservation of Modernist and traditional Japanese design in several garden settings found in New York and Philadelphia. NAJGA is a non-profit that promotes the art, craft and heart of Japanese gardens in USA and Canada.

The coach heritage tour on October 7 will feature prime examples of Japanese and Mid-century modern architecture in two garden estates: Kykuit at the Rockefeller estate in Tarrytown, New York with its century-old Japanese garden, and the Manitoga / The Russell Wright Design Center in Garrison, New York with its Japanese-influenced woodland garden. Also included with the tour registration is a box lunch and free admission to the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia, which will be the assembly point for the tour.

“Autumn is one of the best times to be in a Japanese garden and as the leaves turn and fall away, we are better able to isolate and appreciate the architectural aspects of the garden, particularly the buildings that exist in its context,” says NAJGA board president and JASGP executive director Kim Andrews.

The work of revered Japanese architect Junzo Yoshimura will be a prime focus of this event. Aside from being the acclaimed designer of Shofuso, he also built a traditional teahouse for the Japanese garden in Kykuit. The tour will include a lecture about Yoshimura’s works as well as a viewing of the exterior of the Marcel Breuer House in Kykuit.

On October 8, Yoshimura’s legacy at Shofuso will be further scrutinized through the lenses of an ongoing heritage preservation project in a workshop that includes a Japanese carpentry demonstration, practicum on historic preservation reporting, and hinoki roof demonstration. Shofuso’s heritage preservation project aims to uphold Yoshimura’s rigorous standards for designing Shofuso using traditional Japanese design, and one of its most major components is the restoration of the roof made from the bark of the hinoki cypress. Heritage preservation experts and craftsmen skilled in traditional Japanese techniques will serve as lecturers and facilitators during the workshop.

“Our ongoing effort to meet the preservation challenges presented by Yoshimura’s uncompromising standards is also an excellent learning opportunity for everyone else interested in heritage conservation and the modern adaptation of traditional Japanese design,” says Andrews. “Knowing about how to properly report on conditions for heritage structures, for example, is a must for community custodians of these structures inside and outside the garden setting.”

The two-day event will be occurring during one of the busiest weeks in the Philadelphia design scene as it is also part of the 2016 DesignPhiladelphia festival (October 6 to 16), the oldest open-source event of its kind in the United States, and of the Docomomo US Tour Day 2016 (October 8), an annual event for raising awareness of and appreciation of buildings, interiors and landscapes designed in the US during the mid-20th century.

This event is open to the general public. To learn more and to register, visit http://najga.org/Philadelphia-2016.

North American Japanese Garden Association To Host Philadelphia & New York Heritage Tour & Workshop

Manzanar’s Japanese Gardens – Excerpts from the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal

Creating Beauty Behind Barbed Wire by Jeff Burton and Mary Farrell

Manzanar 2

“A desolate prison camp in the high desert seems an unlikely place for a Japanese garden contest, let alone an outstanding collection of Japanese gardens. World War II would seem an unlikely time for Japanese Americans to assert their Japanese heritage. Yet the Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Manzanar Relocation Center, now Manzanar National Historic Site, left a legacy of beauty, resistance, and resilience in Japanese gardens.

The incarceration of almost 120,000 Japanese-Americans — most American citizens — by the US government during World War II is one of the most shameful stories in American history. The “Relocation” removed persons of Japanese ancestry from their homes, schools, and businesses on the West Coast and placed mostly behind barbed wire. Manzanar opened in March 1942 — one of ten camps — to incarcerate more than 10,000 people.

Although this episode managed to stay out of US history books for decades, it has come to light through the efforts of the Japanese-American community, civil rights advocates, historians and archaeologists.

Three of these sites are now part of the National Park Service, which is charged with educating the public to prevent similar government-sponsored racism…..”

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On the Purpose & Role of Japanese Gardens in American Internment Camps by Seiko Goto, Ph.D.

Manzanar garden 1

“Multiple Japanese gardens were built in all ten internment camps. Japanese gardens in Manzanar Relocation Center have been called “Momoyama-style gardens,” and summarized as an “important means for the expression of Japanese American cultural values within the regimented organization of the camp.” The question arises: why would internees facing such hardship due to their nationality decide to build gardens to express their culture? It is thus important to analyze the purpose and role of Japanese gardens in the internment camp to assess their value….

….Internment is generally the confinement of people done by a government to police people and confiscate their assets. Japanese internment in the United States, however, was unique in that these camps confined people with American citizenship based only on their ethnic background. The camp gardens were also for viewing and living, not solely for food production…

…Conditions and facilities in the camps varied. Administrators in Gila River, Granada, Manzanar, and Topaz supported garden construction and large scale gardens were made in these camps. Small ornamental Japanese gardens, however, were made in all. Poston is notable as the famous Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi became the chief landscape planner…”

Read the full version of these articles in the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal. The Journal is free to members of the North American Japanese Garden Association. To order additional copies or to order as a non-member, click HERE

Manzanar’s Japanese Gardens – Excerpts from the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal

“Cherry Diplomacy” in US-Japan Relations

(The following passages are excerpts from the book “Japanese Flowering Cherries” by Wybe Kuitert)

David_Fairchild
David Fairchild

 American garden lovers were given a first-hand look at the art of Japanese gardening at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, where Japan exhibited an extensive garden in the native style. Two years later, a historically important shipment of a hundred cherries, dispatched by the Yokohama Nursery Company, reached the United States. The order was made by David Fairchild (1869-1954), an administrator with the US Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. The imported trees were successfully planted on the spacious grounds of his private estate.

Encouraged by this undertaking, Fairchild and his wife, Marian, decided to organize a planting of cherries on Arbor Day. Again, cherries were ordered from the Yokohama Nursery Company. The trees were shipped to Seattle on the West Coast and then traveled by rail across the United States without any problem. On Arbor Day in March 1908, each public school in Washington D.C. received its Japanese cherry. Trees were planted in the school yards, which attracted the attention of Mrs. William Taft, wife of the U.S. president.

Washington_C_D.C._Tidal_Basin_cherry_treesThe First Lady had visited Japan with her husband, who had successfully concluded an important treaty with Japan in 1905. She developed an appreciation for the beauty of flowering cherries and began to include the idea for a mass planting of Japanese cherries in her plans for developing Potomac Park. Mrs. Taft was supported in this endeavor by Fairchild and Eliza Skidmore, a journalist who wrote about Japan. In April 1909, ninety trees of “Fugenzo” were purchased from an American nursery. Then, in the summer of that year, it became clear that the city of Tokyo wanted to donate two thousand cherries for the Potomac Park. It is striking how eagerly Japanese officials reacted. In November of the same year, Tokyo shipped two thousand large trees of ten varieties to Washington. That a gift of the country’s flower with such a profound emotional meaning could be made to a great Western power was without doubt enthusiastically welcomed by any Japanese cooperating in the donation.

In the meantime, in the United States, the increasing import of plant material had aroused a growing concern, and the US Department of Agriculture began inspecting imported plants for insect pests and diseases. The shipment from Tokyo proved to be severely infested. With great diplomatic sensitivity, the Japanese side was informed that no other measures could be taken than to burn the trees. It was a matter of regret for both parties.

PrunusYedoensisIn Tokyo, a second shipment of trees was prepared. Funatsu helped select new planting material from the banks of Arakawa. Trees were grafted and trained by the Agricultural Experiment Station of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture. Thoroughly fumigated with hydrocyanic acid gas, the shipment of six thousand young trees arrived in Seattle in January 1912 and passed severe inspections without any problem. Three thousand trees were meant as a donation for New York. The other half of the shipment went to Washington D. C. In Potomac Park, thousands of specimens of Prunus x yedoensis were planted along the Tidal Basin, and eventually, this plant became known as the “Potomac cherry.” On the peninsula farther south, two thousand fragrant and double cherries of the following varieties were planted: ‘Ariake,’ ‘Fugenzo,’ Fukurokuju,’ the green ‘Gyoiko,”Ichiyo,’ ‘Jonioi,’ ‘Kanzan,”Mirukuma-gaeshi,’ ‘Shirayuki,”Surugadai-nioi,’ and ‘Taki-nioi.’

In the United States, a general appreciation of Japanese flowering cherries developed from a friendship between the countries that was profoundly felt in the early twentieth century. Of all the countries in the world, only the United States had a Potomac Park as a show garden for cherries on a scale that resembled the best of the cherry picnic places in Japan. Every spring, the Park revived, and continues to revive a nationwide awareness of the cherries.

Read the rest of the book here: “Japanese Flowering Cherries,” Kuitert, W., Peterse, A.H. , 1999, Timber Press, Inc.

“Cherry Diplomacy” in US-Japan Relations

“Centennial Gardens”: Excerpts from the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal

Japanese gardens outside of Japan number more than 450, of which approximately 300 are in North America. Of that substantial number, fewer than 20 have reached the centennial mark. In this issue, six gardens across the continental United States and out into the Pacific were asked to share their centennial stories.

Book Review – “One Hundred Years in the Huntington’s Japanese Garden: Harmony With Nature” Book reviewer – Dr. Jill Raggett, NTF; Edited by: June T. Li; Contributors – Kendall H. Brown, James Folsom, Naomi Hirahara, Robert Hori, Kelly Sutherlin McLeod

Huntington Japanese Garden Book“Every historic garden should have a book like this, a publication that brings together the physical and archival evidence about a designed landscape in a readable and engaging form. This book uncovers the stories of the origins, creators and on-going appreciation and use of the Huntington’s Japanese Garden following a year-long closure during which a $6.8 million renovation was undertaken… The garden reopened in April 2012 to mark its centennial as a beloved and iconic landscape in Pasadena, California.”

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Maymont: A Victorian Estate’s Japanese Garden, 1912                                                   Carla Murray

Maymont-Japanese-garden

Maymont, a 100-acre estate in Richmond Virginia, celebrated the centennial anniversary of its Japanese garden in 2012 with a year-long series of programs and events…Japanese gardens were among the favorite showplaces for Gilded Age showplaces such as Maymont, so it is no surprise that James and Sallie Dooley employed Japanese garden makers to plant such a landscape in the wedge-shaped section of land, adjacent to the Kanawha Canal, which they purchased in 1911.”

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, 1915                               
Brian Funk

BBGJapaneseHillPondGarden“In 2015, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden commemorates the centennial anniversary of the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden. The garden, initiated with a gift from philanthropist Alfred T. White (1846-1921), opened to the public on June 6, 1915. Serving as a landmark for the borough of Brooklyn and containing a rather dramatic history, this garden is among the earliest public Japanese gardens in the United States. It is a beloved garden for urbanites trying to escape the clamor of the city. It also is popular as a home to many koi, turtles, ducks, and occasionally, herons.”

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San Diego, California: The Japanese Friendship GardenJapanese_Friendship_Garden_Path_koi_pond_1
Marisa Takeuchi

“The Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego, California got its start in a different location at Balboa Park as a tea house for the 1915 Panama California Exposition. Starting several years ago, the garden embarked on a major expansion to increase its size to more than eleven acres by clearing the ravine behind the present garden. Since then, a waterfall and stream have been installed. ‘Pink Cloud’ and other cherry trees planted in a new grove bloom annually for a festival begun nine years ago….”

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Hakone Estate and Gardens in Saratoga, CA Celebrate Centennial in 2015                  
Lon Saavedra

Hakone_Gardens,_Saratoga,_CA_-_IMG_9196“In 1915, San Francisco philanthropists Oliver (1877-1918) and Isabel Stine (1880-1959) purchased land to establish a mountainside retreat for their family, international dignitaries, and friends of the art…The following year, Mrs. Stine sailed to Japan, where she visited various historic gardens…Upon her return to America, Mrs. Stine began work on a Japanese-style country estate and gardens in Saratoga on an eighteen-acre hillside…Hakone is one of the historic crown jewels of the Silicon Valley with a rich history of cultural events and celebrations throughout the past century.”

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Lili’uokalani Garden in Hilo: A Century-Old Tapestry Woven of Many Threads liliuokalanigarden             By K.T. Cannon-Eger

Lili’uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawai’i resulted from the collaboration of several women: the Queen after her rule was overthrown, an immigrant Japanese women’s society, and a Caucasian whose travels to Japan left her deeply smitten with Japanese gardens… Preparations are being made for the dual centennials in 2017 of the passing of Queen Lili’uokalani and her namesake garden…Hilo is so fortunate to have a living work of art adjacent to the ocean and with a view of the majestic Mauna Kea.”

The 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal is free to members of the North American Japanese Garden Association. To order additional copies or to order as a non-member, click HERE.

“Centennial Gardens”: Excerpts from the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal