The word “Kazari” in Japanese is “to display”. The word alone or used as a suffex as in “Toko Kazari”, to display in a Tokonoma or “Seki Kazari” to display on a table top has many rules and traditions. In the West, we can show our bonsai in the more traditional Japanese style or allow more flexibility and display with more flare and western themes. Either way is acceptable provided the event is not judged, arnd if judged, the competitors meet the criteria of the judging rules.
Judging rules are not up for debate. Once written down they must be adhered to, allowing an even platform for the judging to take place. If the rules focus on traditional Japanese aesthetics and the tree entered does not adhere to these rules, then it may be judged less than a tree not on par but better fitting the judging aesthetics. In many cases, clubs and public displays will allow a judging for “Peoples Choice” or a peer choice from the members for especially artistic specimens.
In Hanford California, Bob Hilvers, curator of the public bonsai collection at the Clark Center for Japanese Art, has assembled an exhibit in a museum setting with 15 individual Tokonoma for the display of Asian arts. In 2009, the first annual Toko Kazari was introduced in April with much anticipation by the organizers. A corporate donation was set up in the amounts of $2500.00 for first place and $1000.00 for second place, and $500.00 for third. Judging is achieved thru the curator of the Museum, highly trained in Asian Arts with a secondary and tertiary judge. Judging is done independantly and agreed on upon combining the scores.
Let us look at the photos of the first year. The first place, second place and third place trees will be shown in that order with the remainder of the trees in no particular order.
At the end of the current years exhibit I will post some of my interpretations on the display qualities based on my expertise and those of the judges when known. While the display of bonsai is open to interpretation and subjectivity, there are still many rules and guidelines that can help keep all the displays on an even keel. How might knowing some of the judging criteria better equip someone entering a tree for the first time? Let us take a look at some of the rules asscoiated for displaying bonsai in a formal setting.
The First Kazari
The Second Kazari
The Third Kazari
The Fourth Kazari
The Fifth Kazari