Thursday, February 25, 2016

Juki Iida's 1974 'Niwa' article - 2015 translation

by aleks
The Seattle Japanese Garden will open its gates to the public in a few days on March 1st, and the following Sunday March 6th it'll have an official First Viewing with a customary Shinto ceremony.

This is a good time to reflect on the words of Juki Iida, the builder of our Garden, penned after his visit to Seattle and the Garden 13 years after the construction was finished; the article was originally published in the Japanese magazine 'Niwa' in February 1974, and just recently translated into English by Shizue Prochaska and Julie E. Coryell.

Below the beginning of Juki Iida article's translation; the whole translation at link below the excerpt.  The captions under the pictures of the Garden how it looks today, are taken from the Juki Iida's 1974 article.
• • • 
Next week:  look for the article by Koichi Kobayashi on the 'Welcome Rock by Dick Yamasaki' (the stone arrangement in the area between the current south entrance gate and WPA vintage stone bridge, which was not completed by the end of the initial garden construction).

SJG • 10/27/15
Juki Iida, 1974: ‘[…] We pruned most of the lower branches of some trees located in the path of view lines. Of course, I had to admit that our work looked pretty strange, however, it was done with the future in mind. Fortunately we obtained spruce and yew trees seven-to-eight-feet high so we could plant them from the base of the waterfall up the hill around the jūsansō-tō, thirteen-story pagoda.[…]

Shizue Prochaska and Julie E. Coryell, translators, 2015.
[Note: translators added information within brackets for clarity].

Gai Yō, Introduction
This garden was constructed thirteen years ago between 1959 and 1960. I learned that
the University of Washington made the initial request to build a garden. Consul General Yoshiharu Takeno in Seattle contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which in turn, conveyed the request to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
When I was asked to assist in this project, two points struck me. First, how could rocks, plants, and other materials for a large-scale Japanese garden be obtained outside of Japan? Second, how could people of European descent and second-generation gardeners [of Japanese descent] build such a garden? Never having experienced such a project and thinking it could be a great opportunity to learn, I was happy to undertake the work.

SJG • 10/27/15
Juki Iida, 1974: ‘[…] The pond covers 850 tsubo [about 1.5 acres]. The plan is a stroll garden in “somewhat Momoyama style.” Where the creek enters the pond, large sawa tobi ishi, marsh stepping-stones connect the shores. A yukimi-tōrō, snow-viewing stone lantern stands nearby.[…]’

Sekkei, Planning
With the leadership of [master landscape designer Sensei] Kiyoshi Inoshita, the design team included [Tokyo Metropolitan Park Department Director] Tatsuo Moriwaki, [Tokyo Metropolitan Park Department Engineer] Nobumasa Kitamura, Messrs. [Shoshi] Iwao Ishikawa, Naotomo Ueno, Chikara Itō, and myself. The year before [in 1958] discussion of building a Japanese garden in Seattle started around the time Park Director Moriwaki visited the United States and viewed the site personally. Using his firsthand report and photographs and other materials sent to us from Seattle, we formed the basic plan.

Genchi Chōsa, Site Research
In the autumn of 1959, I traveled to America to check the initial plan for the proposed garden site and to explore the availability of rocks, trees, shrubs, and other materials. The day after my arrival, I attended a meeting of the Arboretum Foundation members with the Acting Consul General and [Cultural Affairs liaison James] Fukuda. There I explained the plan in detail. Everyone present appeared to be satisfied with the design. I was told that the garden was planned to be built for the centennial celebration of the Japan-

America treaty [1858] but was delayed for various reasons. The Arboretum Foundation members left matters in my hands to build an authentic Japanese garden “not to be found” outside Japan. 

SJG • 10/27/15
Juki Iida, 1974: ‘[…] A yatsuhashi, zigzag bridge and a dobashi, earthen bridge link the middle island to the shores.[…]’

Zōen Shikichi , Garden Site
The garden site covers about 6,000 plus tsubo [actually three and a half acres], stretching north to south fronting a public road to the east. It faces slopes of zōkibayashi, woodlands, to the northwest and south. There is a numasawachi, marsh, at the bottom of the slopes. I found the site ideal for building a Japanese garden and not likely to require extensive revision of the design. There is already a teahouse donated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on the south side of a small hill. [...]

The whole article  (+ a dictionary of Japanese terms used in the article) here:

SJG • 10/27/15
Juki Iida, 1974: ‘[…] To create the atmosphere of a harbor town and boat landing, between the foot of the north slope and the pond we used sandstone pavers measuring two by seven-feet, and to represent a lighthouse, we placed an omokage-gata tōrō, face-style or reflection lantern. To protect the foot of the slope we created a seven-foot high rock wall and planted a chain of small shrubs on top of the wall. […]’

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This May: Invitation to the most memorable tour to Kyoto and Kansai, Japan

We are currently finalizing a group tour (Max. ten)  to Kansai Region of Japan. This tour will concentrate on gardens, architecture and townscape of  Kyoto, Nara and Takayama of Japan starting on May 13 for 12 days.

Special feature of this tour is to follow a number of gardens illustrated by Yuri Ugaya in her just published book, “ Splendid Gardens in Kyoto”. She once studied with me when I was a visiting professor at Awaji Landscape and Horticulture Academy of  Hyogo University.

Koichi Kobayashi

小林 竑一 

Visiting Research Fellow
Hyogo University, Japan

Kobayashi Global, Seattle, WA. USA

The link below will take you to 5-page detailed schedule of the trip, features, pictures of potential places to visit, cost and contact: 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lecture: Evolving garden in Japan and abroad

-- Mr. Takuhiro Yamada of Hanatoyo Zouen of Kyoto will make the following presentation. You and your friends are invited.

1. Presentation:

10:30-11:30 AM, February 15 , 2016
Place: Theater at Bayview Manor
11 West Aloha Street, Seattle, WA 98119
Ph: 206-284-7330

2. Tour and workshop at the garden

1:30 PM-3:00 PM at Tateuchi Community Room

He has recently designed and installed Tea House and Garden, Urasenke style at Hungtington Library and Museum in Pasadena and has been maintaining the garden. He has been working on Japanese Garden around the world including Kubota Garden in Seattle.

Koichi Kobayashi

小林 竑一

Visiting Research Fellow
Hyogo University, Japan

Kobayashi Global, Seattle, WA. USA