Illinois

Volunteers invited to help clean Lili`uokalani Gardens

The sixth volunteer garden help day at Lili`uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawai`i is scheduled for Friday, December 19, from 8 a.m. until noon.

“Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens, East Hawai`i Master Gardeners Association, Moku Aina, Moku Loa Chapter Sierra Club, UH-Hilo exchange students, Urasenke Hilo, and Fukushima Kenjin-kai are among groups who have participated this year in helping our County at this jewel of a park,” said garden enthusiast K.T. Cannon-Eger.

“Through donations to Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens (a 501-c-3 charitable organization), we are able to provide water, trash bags, and gloves to volunteers. Please bring your favorite tool and join in the fun.”

For further information, contact Cannon-Eger at (808) 895-8130.

… and now for something related … a video and news report from NHK on the conference held by the North American Japanese Garden Association in Chicago in mid-October. Please click on the link.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/culturesports/20141029.html

fall

Chicago Botanic Garden features chrysanthemum displays in the fall at the Japanese garden.

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more news about NAJGA in Chicago in October

http://najga.org/Blog-and-Newsletter/3095819

This link posted above is to a North American Japanese Garden Association newsletter, which has more news about the up and coming international conference in Chicago in mid-October.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a wonderful host. Specialized workshops and tours will be held pre- and post-convention in the Chicago and Rockford area.

For more information, contact the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) at info@najga.org, tel (503) 222 1194. On-site and one-day registrations are also available.

north end of Osaka Garden

The Palace of Fine Arts for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition is now the Museum of Science and Industry. This view is from Garden of the Phoenix, the site of a 2014 pre-convention workshop on moss.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

bridge with seasonal floral display

Chicago Botanic Garden: the entry bridge between the Visitor Center and the Crescent Garden in fall

a cool woodland

a cool woodland with azalea hillside (photo by Bill F. Eger)

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NAJGA Conference in Chicago in October

This video previews one of Dr. David Slawson’s talking points for his forthcoming skills development workshop happening as part of the 2014 NAJGA biennial conference at the Chicago Botanic Garden this October 16-18:


Go to the NAJGA web site for more information on the conference, speakers, workshops, hands-on training sessions, and tours.
NAJGA Conference 2014

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NAJGA conference set for Chicago

The second biennial conference of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) will be held October 16-18, 2014, at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

The theme of this year’s conference is “New Pathways: The Role of the Japanese Garden for Society and Self.”

Hoichi Kurisu

Hoichi Kurisu will be the keynote speaker at the second biennial conference of the North American Japanese Garden Association. He will also offer workshops during the three-day conference.

Keynote speaker is Hoichi Kurisu who studied landscape design and construction under Kenzo Ogata in Tokyo, Japan. Kurisu was appointed Landscape Director for the Garden Society of Japan (Nihon Teien Kyokai 1968–1972), during which time he supervised construction of the Portland Japanese Garden.

In 1972 he founded Kurisu International, Inc., which has since designed and built a number of gardens including the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, Roji-en Japanese Garden at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida, the Japanese garden at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Iowa, and the a Japanese garden for Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, in Lebanon, Oregon, which was the winner of a 2006 Healthcare Environment Award for Landscape Design.

The Morikami Museum

The Morikami Museum in Delray Beach, Florida, is visible from Yamato across a large pond. Roji-en, a collection of Japanese gardens by Hoichi Kurisu is across the bridge and to the left

Kurisu firmly believes that encounters with nature are essential to mental, physical, and spiritual equilibrium. Each of his designs addresses a unique social purpose and reinforces the quality of humanity. By harmonizing light and shade, water and rock, and space with the senses, the Japanese gardens of Hoichi Kurisu restore peace of mind, physical health, and strong and compassionate communities.

His firm presently is at work constructing a new nine-acre Japanese garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Garden. The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is scheduled to open in June 2015.

An extensive list of workshops covers the basic tracks of horticulture, business culture and human culture with topics such as: Keeping koi healthy, Updating traditional light in the Japanese garden, the new civic garden movement in Japan, Planning for long-term maintenance and renewal, Art of the thatched roof for Japanese garden structures, Art of bamboo, Significance of sukiya style in the Japanese garden, Frank Lloyd Wright and the influence of Japan, Archaeology of the Japanese gardens at Manzanar, Tea in the garden, The Adachi Museum’s operational philosophy, and Using technology to enhance the visitor experience, among other offerings.

The conference also offers pre- and post- conference extended sessions and tours.

The deadline for early registration is July 1. For more information and to register, please refer to the NAJGA web site events page: http://www.najga.org/EVENTS

NAJGA logo

Categories: Chicago, Glencoe, Illinois | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Where do I find…..

The right tool makes any job easier. Finding the right tool can be something of a pilgrimage.

We are fortunate in Hilo to have Garden Exchange close at hand for bamboo splitters, hand forged pruners, and properly balanced hedge shears.

For those seeking carpentry tools as well as garden supplies, sewing kits, and bonsai equipment there are several wonderful places we visited on the mainland.

Friends in Phoenix, Arizona tipped us to Anzen Hardware in Los Angeles.

Anzen Hardware

My husband’s father ran a hardware store in Texas. Anzen Hardware was a treat to visit.

Located on East First Street near the Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Anzen Hardware is full to the rafters with wonderful goods. Chefs seek this store out for its fine selection of quality knives. Sake makers come here for their supplies. There are bamboo brooms and gravel rakes for the gardener.

Fans call it an old fashioned hardware store for the handyman. Best of all is owner Nori Takitani who started as a high school part time worker in 1954. One of the elders of the community, he can be counted on for good service and advice.

My favorite purchase from this store (so far) were the vegetable seed packets along with good advice from Nori to put them in the refrigerator first “to wake them up” before planting.

Another seed source was the gift shop at the Japanese American National Museum a few blocks down the street. Kitazawa Seed packets and a well stocked bookcase were favorite attractions in the JANM store.

Contact the museum at: http://www.janm.org/

Or find Kitazawa Seed at: http://www.kitazawaseed.com/

To the north is Hida Tool on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Hida Tool

Bill waits for the doors to open early one morning.

Like Anzen, Hida Tool has crowded shelves, knowledgeable staff, and museum pieces on the wall. In addition to the store, Hida Tool has gone high tech with a web site.

http://www.hidatool.com/

As mentioned on their site, “Hida Tool was started in response to requests from San Francisco Bay Area woodworkers to get tools like those being used by Makoto Imai, who had come from Japan in 1978 after his 5-year apprenticeship in carpentry plus 9 years as a teahouse and temple builder. His were the hand tools of the builders of traditional homes and temples in Japan, including saws with both crosscut and rip teeth on the same blade, planes with wooden bodies quite different from those of European and early American wooden planes, and both plane blades and chisels forged by methods developed by the blacksmiths who created the famous samurai swords. These tools had a layer of very hard steel forged to a larger mass of softer iron, which allowed the formation in the tempering step of a harder cutting edge than was permissible in tools made entirely of similar carbon steel.

“The business was opened in San Rafel, California (north of the Golden Gate) in 1982 by Imai-san’s brother-in-law Osamu Hiroyama and Kip Mesirow, author of “Care and Use of Japanese Woodworking Tools” and former owner of a smaller Japanese tool store in Berkeley. Hida Tool Co. moved to our current location in Berkeley in the summer of 1984 with a greater variety of carpentry tools. Because of the interest in tools used for Japanese gardens, these became the second category of tools stocked. Kitchen knives, the third “specialty of the house,” also make use of the swordmakers’ technique of combining two different metals. A smaller number of other tools, etc., all imported from Japan, can be found on this website and in the store.
“Whether you enter through the front door, your computer email, or telephone, our staff at Hida Tool Co. will do our best to help you find the exact tool that you need within these specialties. However, still true to our origins, we carry no power tools, although we do stock a large assortment of drill bits for your hand or power drill.”
I purchased tools for fence building and knot tying plus exquisitely balanced hedge shears, camellia oil in a spray bottle, small sewing scissors, and handkerchiefs for fellow workers. All was shipped to me by the store and arrived in good order.

Wandering down the street from our hotel in San Francisco, we came upon Soko Hardware on Post Street. Another family-style hardware store carrying excellent culinary knives, garden supplies, woodworking tools, plus kitchen equipment, fine dishes, paper lanterns, and seeds among many other items.

Owned and operated by the Ashizawa family since 1925, Soko Hardware is now under the guidance of the third generation, Roy Ashizawa.

http://sfjapantown.org/soko-hardware/

A Yahoo reviewer noted of Soko Hardware: “The ceramics section holds a dizzying array of vases in aesthetic organic shapes, plates in all sizes and shapes, and platters suitable for a tea ceremony. Traditional finishes, such as oxblood and crackle glaze are the order of the day and the quality of everything is good whatever the price tag.”

Garden and museum gift shops are another source.

Heritage seeds from the time of Thomas Jefferson can be found in the gift shop at Monticello.

Monticello gift shop

“…there is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me…” Thomas Jefferson said in a 1790 letter to his daughter.

Bamboo fabric gloves were a favorite purchase from the Chicago Botanic Garden gift shop.

gift shop at Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden gift shop in the Visitor Center
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

An annual sale of bulbs got my attention in Denver.

An annual sale of bulbs got my attention in Denver.

Organic products of all kinds, including seeds, were available at Weatherford Gardens just outside of Fort Worth, Texas.

http://www.weatherfordgardens.com/

photo-025

a sampling of products carried in the store (photo by Bill F. Eger)

a sampling of products carried in the store
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

a small section of the seed shelves where I did my shopping (photo by Bill Eger)

a small section of the seed shelves where I did my shopping
(photo by Bill Eger)

Where do you go to find that special thing for your garden? Comments are welcome.

Be nice! All photographs appearing in this blog are the property of K.T. Cannon-Eger or Bill F. Eger. All the photography on this blog is protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be manipulated, downloaded or reproduced any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions without written permission. Copyright 2013 K.T. Cannon-Eger All Rights Reserved.

Categories: California, Fort Worth, Glencoe, Illinois, Texas, Virginia | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

What else has been in the garden?

coyote track

Tracks of wildlife are not uncommon at Sansho-en, the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden at Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, IL. This coyote track was found one morning near the shoin house.

What’s in your garden when you aren’t looking? Gardeners have to deal with more than the occasional insect infestation or small children climbing on stones.

Perhaps the coyote at Sansho-en was hunting something like the rabbits I noticed all over the lawn at Marston House in San Diego.

Late one afternoon, rabbits covered the lawns at Marsden House in San Diego at the upper end of Balboa Park.

Late one afternoon, rabbits covered the lawns at Marston House in San Diego at the upper end of Balboa Park.

Birds seem to cause the most difficulty for gardens with ponds, especially birds that eat koi like a heron at Fort Worth and another at San Antonio’s Sunken Gardens at Brackenridge Park.

photo by Bill F. Eger

Focused, this fast beak scooped up several small fish from the pond at Sunken Garden in San Antonio.

goose

A wary goose halted momentarily at the end of the path near the plum viewing arbor at Missouri Botanical Garden. Geese leave behind copious amounts of waste making paths into minefields.

mallards

Ducks join koi in the pond at Ro Ho En in Phoenix, competing for food.

But of all the critters we came across, furry or feathered or two-legged, the smallest seemed to cause the most problems. My husband was unfamiliar with squirrels and chipmunks and was taking a lot of photographs. Horticulturist Benjamin Carroll at Sansho-en noticed this and commented that Bill “wouldn’t find them so cute when you see the damage they do.”

This bold fellow owned the path at the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford IL.

This bold fellow owned the path at the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford IL.

NYC squirrel

Waterfront squirrel in between Battery Park and the wharves in New York City

Photos in this blog otherwise uncredited are by K.T. Cannon-Eger.

Categories: Arizona, Glencoe, Illinois, Missouri, Rockford, San Antonio, St. Louis, Texas | Tags: , | Leave a comment

First NAJGA Journal published

The first issue of the Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association

The first issue of the Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association features a view of the tea deck at Sho-Fu-En in Denver Botanic Gardens.
photo by Bill F. Eger

The first issue of The Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association arrived in our mailbox the other day and it’s gorgeous! Within heavy cover stock are more than 60 pages of well written, beautifully illustrated articles.

Topics in this inaugural edition include an extensive article by Robert Karr on The Garden of the Phoenix in Chicago — which article has been translated into Japanese. The story celebrates the 120-year history of the garden and looks toward the future with plans for mass plantings of cherry trees in the lagoon nearby.

It is followed by a detailed account of a garden now gone: Middlegate Japanese Gardens of Pass Christian, Mississippi by landscape architect Anne Legett.

As Journal editor Kendall Brown points out, “The former garden’s bright future and the latter’s forlorn state signal the fragility of gardens and the need for careful stewardship.”

Six regional gardens — Birmingham, Alabama; Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California; Kumamoto-en in San Antonio, Texas; Sho-Fu-En in Denver, Colorado, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden on the campus of California State University Long Beach and Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon — offer comparative and contrasting views on several questions surrounding the topic of master planning. NAJGA executive director Diana Lawroe analyzed results of questions, interviews and documents, pulling together a cogent and insightful article.

A Living Friendship of Flowers details horticultural challenges in observing the centennial of the Japan-U.S. Cherry Blossom Gift. Case studies include Chicago Botanic Garden, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, and Waimea Hawaii.

An article on interpretive education offers case studies on docent tours, ephemeral and permanent signs, and new technologies such as cell phone guides.

Jill Raggett, Ph.D., is a specialist in the emergence of Japanese style gardens in the British Isles, historic garden restoration, and biographies for the Japan Society. This distinguished speaker offers her view of the first conference of NAJGA — Connections — held October 2012 in Denver, Colorado.

Finally there is a book review of a reprint of the 1940 work by America’s first Japanese garden expert Loraine E. Kuck, well known to Hawaii garden folk for her books and garden designs here. Miyuki Katahita-Manabe, Ph.D., of Osaka notes in her review: “The reprinting in 2012 of Loraine Kuck’s The Art of Japanese Gardens, first published in 1940, provides an opportunity for reassessing this important book that introduced many English-language readers to the cultural history of Japanese gardens.”

The Journal is a benefit of NAJGA membership. It was made possible through the support of The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. Japanese language translation service were provided by Matsuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd.

NAJGA is a professional non-profit membership organization dedicated to the advancement and sustainability of Japanese gardens throughout the United States and Canada. Founded in 2011 with input from more than 200 Japanese garden professionals, NAJGA focuses on the Horticulture, Human Culture, and Business Culture of Japanese gardens through a variety of programs and services. NAJGA membership is open to everyone.

For more information, go to http://www.najga.org

CCF05262013_0000

Cover photo for The Journal by Bill F. Eger. Comments on this and other articles in this blog are welcome.

Categories: Alabama, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Texas | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America arrives on bookshelves worldwide

cover photo by David Cobb of the hexagonal yukimi style lantern at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle

cover photo by David Cobb of the hexagonal yukimi style lantern at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle

A new look at Japanese gardens in North America — Quiet Beauty — provides the viewing public with detailed information and delightful photographs on 26 peaceful places across the continental United States and into Canada.

Author Kendall H. Brown is a professor of Asian art history at California State University Long Beach. Photographer David M. Cobb is a member of the North American Nature Photography Association, Garden Writers Association, and Professional Photographers of America.

Released by the esteemed publishing house Tuttle Publishing, this beautiful book offers history and invites thoughtfulness on how these gardens came to be and what they offer to us now. Insightful text is accompanied by more than 180 stunning color photographs and a few reproductions of antique postal cards.

In the introduction — Places to Dream — Dr. Brown notes, “Japanese gardens or, more accurately, Japanese-style gardens, in North America offer distinct pleasures. In contrast to the cacophony of cities, the anonymity of suburbs, and even the anxiety of deserts or forests, these gardens can provide beautifully controlled environments. In artful landscapes we lose ourselves in a path woven around a pond and a harmonious stone arrangement; we delight in the variegated colors of graceful koi and the bright hues of blossoming plums; and we are calmed by a stream’s gentle murmur and the dappled greens of moss. Another kind of pleasure is contextual and social rather than sensory and psychological. Japanese gardens in North America are often found where we least expect them, and in places unknown in pre-modern Japan. Thus we feel a special delight in discovering a ‘dry garden’ of stones and sand at a museum, a lush pond garden on a college campus, or a waterfall-fed stream garden in a hospital. Those familiar with gardens in Japan may also enjoy Japanese-style gardens intellectually, noting creative plant substitutions or thoughtful ways of interpreting Japanese design principles within distinctly North American spaces.”

Dr. Brown takes three eras posited by garden historian Makoto Suzuki of the Nodai Institute, professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture, and expands them to five: the age of world fairs and expositions, building bridges, innovation by adaptation, expansive visions and traditions transformed.

During the past ten years. I have read many articles by Ken Brown and have heard him speak at several conferences. I serve on the editorial board of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) which editorial board he chairs. In person, I can verify that Dr. Brown delivers a substantial amount of information in a short amount of time — all of it masterfully accompanied by photographs, post cards, newspaper clippings and other visual aids along with a good sense of humor and split second timing. There are times I have felt he is delivering information faster than I can absorb it so I am delighted to have such a beautiful volume I can savor at leisure.

I have a special appreciation for David Cobb’s photographs. My husband and I have been to many of the places depicted and know what it takes to get the perfect image of that spot. So many of Cobb’s shots are truly breathtaking.

back cover photo by David Cobb of the Japanese garden at Fort Worth Botanic Garden in Texas

back cover photo by David Cobb of the Japanese garden at Fort Worth Botanic Garden in Texas

Gardens featured in Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America are:

the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco California 1894;

Japanese Garden at the Huntington Botanic Garden, San Marino California 1911 (also 1968, 2011);

Maymont Japanese Garden, Richmond Virginia, 1911 (1977);

Japanese Hill and Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York 1915;

Hakone Estate and Garden, Saratoga California 1918;

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1958;

Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle Washington 1960;

Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver B.C. Canada 1960;

Japanese Garden at the Blodel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, Washington 1961 (1978, 1986);

Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Oregon 1963;

Japanese Garden in San Mateo Central Park, San Mateo California 1965;

Nikka-Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge, Alberta 1966;

Nishinomiya Garden in Mani to Park, Spokane Washington 1974;

Japanese Garden in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Fort Worth Texas 1973;

Shomu’en at Cheekwood, Nashville Tennessee 1990;

Seiwa’en at the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Missouri 1977;

Sansho’en at Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe Illinois 1982;

Shofu’en at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Colorado 1979;

Suiho’en at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, Van Nuys California 1984;

Seisuitei at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen Minnesota 1985 (1996);

Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford Illinois 1978;

Japanese Garden at the Montreal Botanical Garden, Montreal Quebec 1988;

Tenshin’en at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Massachusetts 1988;

Roji’en in the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach Florida 2001;

R0ho’en in Margaret T. Hance Park, Phoenix Arizona 2002; and

Garden of the Pine Wind at Garven Woodland Gardens, Hot Springs Arkansas 2001.

Marvelous additions in the appendices include garden contacts and a select bibliography including books, journals and websites plus a listing of 75 important Japanese gardens in North America, five of which are in the state of Hawaii.

The Hawaii gardens appearing in this list include:

the Cultural Gardens at Honolulu International Airport 1967;

Imin (East West) Center at the University of Hawaii-Manoa 1963 (teahouse 1972);

Byodo’in Gardens, Kaneohe Oahu 1968;

Japanese Garden and Teahouse at Kepaniwai Park, Wailuku Maui 1968 (teahouse 1972); and

Lili`uokalani Gardens, Hilo Hawai`i (1917).

December 17, 1944 from the library of the Hawaiian Historical Society

Lili`uokalani Gardens on December 17, 1944 from the library of the Hawaiian Historical Society in Honolulu

For more information on Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America and other books available from Tuttle Publishing, please consult the web site

http://wwwtuttlepublishing.com

DSCF4948

For more information on the North American Japanese Garden Association, please consult the web site:

http://www.najga.com

Categories: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Texas | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

News from Chicago on Celebration for 120th year of Garden of the Phoenix

The following news arrived from Chicago where plans are in motion to celebrate the 120th year since the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition brought the beginnings of a Japanese garden to Wooded Isle in Jackson Park. Formerly known as Osaka Garden, The Garden of the Phoenix is located near the Museum of Science and Industry.

Please enjoy their plans for Sunday, March 31 at the following web site.

Congratulations Chicago!

http://gardenofthephoenix.org/

WEBSITE UPDATES COMING SOON
ABOUT | PROJECT 120 CHICAGO | GET INVOLVED | EVENTS | NEWS + BLOG | 日本語

The Garden of The Phoenix Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works with the Chicago Park District to ensure that the “The Garden of the Phoenix” is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to learn about Japan and experience Japanese culture.
1893-2013 CELEBRATING 120-YEARS OF U.S.-JAPAN RELATIONS IN CHICAGO

The Garden of the Phoenix is located in Jackson Park, Chicago, and has its origins in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, when the United States and Japan dedicated the site on March 31, 1893 for the Phoenix Pavilion.

Today, the garden continues to grow and reflect both the past and future of U.S.-Japan relations.

THE GARDEN OF THE PHOENIX | JACKSON PARK | CHICAGO

Beginning in the Spring of 2013, more than 120 cherry blossom trees will be planted by the Chicago Park District and the Foundation to commemorate the 120th Anniversary of this site, and celebrate the peace and mutual respect enjoyed between these two nations.

Thank you for your support.

For more information:
info@gardenofthephoenix.org


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Categories: Chicago, Illinois | Tags: , | 2 Comments

1893 garden in Chicago continues to provide respite, tranquility and beauty

[NOTE: The following article was prepared in mid-2012. Since that time, this garden has a new name: “The Garden of the Phoenix.” To learn more about activities planned for the 120th anniversary celebration March 31, 2013 please go to the garden friends’ group’s web site: http://gardenofthephoenix.org/  ]

From the first “Great Exposition” of 1851 in London, more than 90 world’s fairs have been held — most of them in Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan.

Though the themes may have differed, the motives were strikingly similar: “to commemorate a historic event, to educate and entertain, to sell new products, to peer into the future, and, although it’s rare, to turn a profit for the sponsors,” as noted by Norman Bolotin and Christine Laing in their 2002 book The World’s Columbian Exposition: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 published by University of Illinois Press.

To this day, we can enjoy remnants of those fairs: The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco dates back to an 1854 fair; the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego at Balboa Park dates from a tea pavilion at a 1915 fair. The present Osaka Garden had its beginning as Wooded Island in the 1893 World’s Columbia Exposition with additions following the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair: A Century of Progress.

In looking at all the world’s fairs, Bolotin and Laing noted: “when it comes to pure scope, grandeur and far-reaching legacies, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 outshines them all. Twenty-eight million visitors (in six months). Buildings stretching a third of a mile long. The world’s first Ferris Wheel — with cars the size of buses! The first amusement section ever at a fair. Replicas of a full-size battleship and Columbus’ three caravels. Architectural impact reaching into the new century.”

Wooded Island 1893

Looking southeast from the Illinois Building on the 1893 fair grounds, a bridge led to Wooded Island, a peaceful retreat for fairgoers amid 200 buildings constructed for the six-month fair. The present Osaka Garden site is in the wooded area to the left of the Ho-o-den buildings.
photo from The World’s Columbian Exposition: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, the White City Artfolio

Wooded Island was at the center and provided respite from the bustle of the fair. On the north end, three buildings were constructed representing Japanese architecture from the 12th, 16th and 18th centuries. They were connected to form the shape of Ho-o, a mythical bird like the phoenix. Some suggest the phoenix was used as an emblem for the City of Chicago, reborn from the great fire of 1871.

To get an idea of where this park is located, take a look at Google maps:

Osaka Garden

The red pin marks an approximate location for Osaka Garden on Wooded Island in Jackson Park on the south side of the Museum of Science and Industry. It is easily reached by bus or car.
(Google Maps)

In a history for the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Parks Committee, Gary Ossewaarde wrote:

“The 1893 Ho-o-Den consisted of three structures joined by covered walkway to form the shape of the phoenix bird, which it did resemble from ground level). The beams and joinery were part of the beauty and ornament. Inside were artifacts and treasures from three periods of Japanese history-scrolls, vases, decorative screens, writing materials, and musical instruments. A major feature was the lanterns– both the elaborate stone ones and the paper lanterns at ceiling level. The elements and art were designed and crafted in Japan and brought over by steamer and train, along with carpenters, stone workers and gardeners. The construction itself was an activity that drew many visitors. A reporter wrote, ‘They move about serenely as if it were a pleasure to work’.

entry bridge

Another view of the Ho-o-den on Wooded Island at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
(Dream City: A Portfolio of Photographic Views of the World’s Columbian Exposition)

“The Japanese exhibit and pavilion also helped introduce Americans to Japanese culture, religion, arts, and architecture at a time (post-Meiji Restoration) when Japan was especially anxious to show the world its power, modernization, and accomplishments. Frank Lloyd Wright was but one of several architects and artists influenced by the Phoenix Pavilion, but the impact on him was arguably transformational leading not only to prairie houses but large structures such as the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, and it influenced his decorative arts. It’s not only the exterior look and visible (“unmasked”) structure with form following function, and combination of fine craftsmanship with simple, everyday materials, but also the interconnecting corridors and holistic flow of the “rooms” that influenced Wright and others.”

north end of Osaka Garden

The Palace of Fine Arts for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition is now the Museum of Science and Industry.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

It remains a place of tranquility between the University of Chicago to the west and the Lake Michigan shore to the east, a baseball field, marina and golf course to the south and the Museum of Science and Industry to the north. The Museum of Science and Industry is the last remaining structure on the site of the 1893 fair. Built as the Palace of Fine Arts, it was of more substantial, fire-proof construction to protect the art.

The Ho-o-den was donated by the Japanese government at the close of the 1893 fair with the intention that it remain as a lasting memento. In 1933, for the Century of Progress World’s Fair, Chicago and the government of Japan constructed a traditional tea house on Chicago’s near/mid-south lakefront and also created a garden on Wooded Island’s northeast side and refurbished the Ho-o-den. The garden was designed by issei Taro Otsuka, a garden builder based in the Midwest. After that fair closed, a torii gate, the Nippon Tea House and lanterns from the Century of Progress were moved to Wooded Island in 1935.

The Noh Stage style pavilion will serve as a gathering spot for cultural displays and presentations. It is located on the same spot as the 1933 tea house. The waterfall offers several points from which to view cascading water. A flat rock crossing below the waterfall offers an even closer view.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

More work on the Japanese garden was done by George Shimoda and built with assistance from Japan. As it does today, the garden consisted of a double pond with islands, a cascading waterfall, stone walkway, flowering cherry trees, iris, lilies, a moon bridge, rock formations and stone lanterns.

The garden and buildings fell prey to public fears during World War II and several fires destroyed the buildings from 1941 to 1946. Gradually, the site became neglected and overgrown.

One rebirth began in 1973 with the formalizing of a Sister City relationship with Osaka, a relationship that went back to the 1950s. Also in 1973, Douglas C. Anderson began leading bird walks “in part to reclaim them for birders and the communities of Hyde Park, Woodlawn and South Shore. Gradually, thanks in good measure to Doug and to picnics/People in the Park events held by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and Open Lands, citizens and birders returned, rediscovered Osaka Garden and demanded its restoration,” Ossewaarde wrote.

“Also, by 1974 Jackson Park had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. During that decade, the Park District added new landscaping, stabilized the shoreline and either restored or reconstructed most of the original features.”

Osaka Garden pond

Pine, bridge and stones — all carefully placed — are reflected in the surface of the pond below the waterfall (behind and to the right of this point of view).

Another rebirth occurred in the 1980s when designer Kaneji Domoto was brought in. He was known for his work designing Japanese gardens at the 1939 world fairs at both Treasure Island in California and in New York. Nissei Domoto (1913-2002) worked at his parents’ Northern California nursery and later was interned at the Granada War Relocation Center during WWII. He studied at Berkeley and with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin and had a 50+ year career as an architect and landscape designer. In 1974, he authored Bonasi and the Japanese garden. In 1983, Domoto received the Frederick Law Olmsted Award for his redesign of the Japanese garden at Jackson Park. George Cooley, formerly a JPAC officer and Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference officer, shepherded planning and secured grants including federal funds for the Garden restoration.

The designs of the 1970s and 1980s followed the original paths designed in 1893 to provide a stroll through the wooded area.

Osaka Garden gate

Text of the sign reads: “The Osaka Japanese Garden is a culturally authentic site, designed to create a feeling of peace and tranquility. Please stay on the paths and refrain from activities that will disrupt the special experience for other patrons. Your pets are welcome if they remain leashed and you pick up after them. Thank you for your cooperation.”
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

The next phase was in 1992 and 1993 when the 20th anniversary of the Sister City relationship was celebrated and the Garden was renamed Osaka Japanese Garden (1993). In 1994-95  a new traditional formal gate and fence, were dedicated, funded by the City of Osaka and constructed entirely without nails and by hand using tongue and groove methods. A major historical study and report were produced in 1992.

Yet another rebirth began in 2000 with the direction of Sadafumi Uchiyama in creating a master plan for the garden. Uchiyama is a third generation Japanese gardener from southern Japan, His family’s involvement in the business dates back to the Meiji era (1909). He served as secretary of the International Association of Japanese Gardens from 1996 to 2000 and currently is garden curator of the Portland Japanese Garden and a member of the board of directors of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA). Uchiyama received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in landscape architecture from the University of Illinois and is licensed in Oregon and California.

Initial work was completed in 2001 with steel retaining walls that line the banks of the pond, 100 tons of new boulders to shore up the edges of the pond and lagoon, and resetting of 120 tons of rock. Uchiyama picked jagged stones to redesign the “behavior of the water” in the waterfall. It flows into the pond at 600 gallons per minute.

Osaka Garden pond detail

Stone from Wisconsin was chosen to augment stone already in the garden.

“In 2008, after a hiatus in reestablishing a maintenance contract, and some less than satisfactory catch up pruning, parties including the City of Osaka Chicago Office, new contractors Clauss Brothers, expert pruning supervisor Bill Koons, CPD supervisor Karen Szyka and Department of Planning and Development took action. Main improvements included repair and cleaning of the torii gate, numerous cherries, replacement of a burr oak blown down in a storm, and most important replacement of the waterfall pump,” Ossewaarde wrote.

“Rededication on October 18, 2008 — the 35th anniversary of the Sister City partnership — included dedication by the Vice Mayor of Osaka and performances of a traditional sit down comedy–Kaishi and two Rakugo.”

Osaka Garden lantern

This lantern may date back to the 1893 fair.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“Everyone is aware that some shoring up will still be needed, and such gardens need permanent funding to make the intensive maintenance sustainable– and high level of security. Any permanent oversight group will have to look at which garden template is to be the goal, bearing in mind that a Japanese garden is meant to be changing and evanescent through the seasons and years– a never-ending work of art.

“The Garden’s theme, from 1893 to the present, is peace–between humans and nature, within people, with the spiritual realm, and between peoples. These themes are dear to the people of Osaka, Chicago, and the park’s neighboring communities. Long may this garden continue. As the Osaka Garden Committee of Sister Cities International wrote, ‘A garden develops over time….it is lasting. The same is true of the relationships between people, nations and cultures. Every gardener knows that quiet observation and attention to nature facilitate the success of a garden. Likewise, peace and understanding facilitate our future’.”

Osaka Garden sign

A waterproof box under a sign pointing the way to the entry bridge holds a history of Wooded Island and a guide to trees planted along the entire island’s paths.

On a personal note: This area of Chicago holds many memories for both my husband and me. Bill attended the University of Chicago in the mid-1950s. For me as a youngster living in Michigan, a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry was a really big deal. On this trip we spent the afternoon at the Museum until closing then were met by Osaka Garden docent Sonia Cooke.

It was a true delight to be in her presence wandering from the museum to the bridge leading to the garden and all through every part of this lovely jewel. Her lifetime knowledge of architecture and her current enthusiasm for the garden made our visit most enjoyable. Thank you Sonia. And thank you Robert Karr and William Florida of the Friends of the Japanese Garden for putting us together.

Thank you Gary Ossewaarde for permission to quote from your extensive history. For those who wish more information, please look at http://www.hydepark.org/parks/osaka2.htm#history

Osaka Garden bridge

On the list for repair is this traditional arched bridge.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Photos not otherwise credited in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. To see a full size image, click on any photo. Comments on this and other articles are welcome.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893

from Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography by Meryle Secrest, published by The University of Chicago Press in 1992, pages 185-187

“Most writers agree that Wright’s interest in Japanese art probably began with the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, if not before — one recalls that, as a member of [Louis] Sullivan’s office, he would have had detailed knowledge of the advance planning — and, in particular, with one of the most popular exhibits, “The Ho-o-den,” a wooden temple of the Fujiwara Period, which the Japanese government erected on a small plot of ground set in an artificial lake. It was the first real introduction of Japanese art and architecture to the Middle West. In terms of the enormous interest in all things Japanese that had followed Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s trip to Japan in 1845, this discovery must be considered rather late. Bronzes,  lacquers, fans, ceramics, and above all, prints had been flooding to Europe for twenty or thirty years, and artists as disparate as Redon and Steinlen had drawn new inspiration from these exotic and unfamiliar objects, seizing on the lessons they had to teach as a way to revitalize their imagery.

“Architects were just as susceptible and, after the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, where Japanese pavilions had been built, and especially after publication of the first English-language book on Japanese architecture in 1886, they focused their attention on this aspect of Japanese culture. For Americans oriented toward the Arts and Crafts Movement, Japan offered ‘the example of an indigenous culture that embodied the organic quality they found in the middle ages,’ as Richard Guy Wilson wrote. He added, ‘Japanese motifs from curved gable ends to nearly wholesale replication of pagodas and torii gates, appeared in Arts and Crafts houses and bungalows from coast to coast.’ One believes Wright’s new interest to have been at least partly connected with the exhaustion White had noticed and remarked upon just before his employer left for Japan [in 1905]. It began the year before, White wrote, when Wright seemed very ‘petered out.’ However, in the last three months it had been impossible to get Wright to give his office any attention at all. In fact, Wright had been confined to bed for several weeks that winter with a case of tonsillitis that had made its way around the family. He returned from Japan in May sounding more like his old self. … His interest was entirely genuine and his visit would have a lasting influence.

“Several writers claim to see a more or less direct connection between the Japanese temple that Wright saw at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and some of his own buildings. Vincent Scully demonstrated that the treatment of exteriors in the Willits house resembled those of the Ho-o-den, and Wright’s use of light-colored stucco panels edged with bands of darker wood seemed to suggest Japanese models as well.  Scully published copies of the two floor plans to support his assertion that the house Wright designed for Willits was modeled almost exactly on that of the Japanese shrine. Another authority on Wright believed he had been most influenced by the Japanese print, and he had certainly begun to collect ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) sometime before his first visit to Japan, because photographs of his interiors showed such prints prominently displayed. He returned from Japan with over two hundred woodcuts by Hiroshige, considered the artist to have had the greatest influence on the West, and lent them to the Art Institute of Chicago a year later for the first ukiyo-e exhibition to be held in that museum. He bought them as investments, making no bones about being a dealer, and was so successful that he had a sizable collection of Japanese prints on hand all his life, to be cashed in when necessary, and some famous collectors as clients. But he was also passionately interested in the subject, almost obsessed, and would talk endlessly about the exquisite qualities of these prints, their serenity, simplicity, sense of the natural world and reduction to essentials. While on that first trip he wore native robes and took extended trips into the interior to collect his prints and porcelains. All of this indicates that the feelings aroused by Japanese art were wholehearted, yet there is a suggestion that, at some level, Wright was made acutely uncomfortable by that most conformist, ordered and rigidly circumscribed culture that he apparently admired for its spirituality.”

Wright returned to Japan for many months during the years 1916 to 1922 building not only the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo but also residences such as that for Aisaku Hayashi in 1917.

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