My interest in bonsai began in 1955, soon after I returned from the Korean War. My father had just turned his hobby into a business, and asked me if I would help him manage Bonsai By Kay in San Francisco. My father had been collecting and growing bonsai soon after returning to California from the internment center in 1946. It became a business in 1952. Word of his trees quickly became news in the Bay Area and his business fared well.
My father was among several contributors to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens “Handbook of Dwarf Potted Trees, The Bonsai of Japan, 1953.” He was also well regarded by his peers, Homei Iseyama (Berkeley), Yuji Yoshimura (Japan), and John Naka (Los Angeles).
I worked under his tutelage full time for three years and part time for another three years, while I was a student in Landscape Architecture. I left the business to become a Landscape Architect in 1964.
It’s been more than sixty years since I wired my first Blue Atlas Cedar. I use a method which I haven’t seen used in local bonsai shows or in club demonstrations in recent years. My late father and his friend, Mr. Iseyama, in the mid-fifties, always used Blue Atlas cedar for their demonstrations. With their technique, the entire tree from its stem to all its branches are configured. The transformation is instantaneous and dramatic. Every bend and turn of the trunk is considered, and branches are either removed or trimmed and wired.