What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is attracting attention all over the world in recent years. Did you know that from thirty two countries, over twelve hundred people attended the World Bonsai Convention held in Omiya-city, Japan? May or may not be because it allows you to be more involved than flowers do. It seems that Japanese aren't the only ones who feel the affection for a small plants changing little by little every day. But what exactly is Bonsai?

BON is a word for bowl or tray, and SAI means plant in Japanese. Although the word “bonsai” is now used worldwide, its origin is in China as Pun-sai. The Chinese Pun-sai were influenced by myths and legends, so the shape of trees were grotesque and animalish.

In one theory, the beginnings of Bonsai history in Japan goes all the way back to 1300 AD ( Kamakura period). It was introduced in Japan from China under the influence of Zen Buddhism. Unfortunately, Zen Buddhism can not be described with words, since it does not rely on any languages but the main purpose of this is to find real meanings of life. The meaning of bonsai is up to you. Ten men have ten tastes. It is another great thing about Bonsai. You get to decide what to do with it, and how to do it.

Bonsai was often used to express the thought of connection between human beings, nature and soul. It also has an art trait. Bonsai is a miniature replica of landscape, and its goal is to represent the nature in a little pot.


To achieve the goal, it is necessary to learn about bonsai. And, once you gain acquaintance, you will be able to decipher the hidden story of the bonsai using the observing eye and those knowledge you got to the fullest,. Where and how the bonsai was brought up, what the person who trained the tree intended to do... Once you start to see those, the sauce of Bonsai would be doubled.

Caring bonsai requires a lot of time and efforts. Bonsai isn’t just a hobby. It has something that is much deeper than any other hobbies. Let’s start growing Bonsai and find out what it is!


Click here for a Japanese page explaining about bonsai (日本語の解説ページはこちら) → About Bonsai