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4th Int'l Japanese Garden Symposium - Day 2

Contact: info@jgarden.org
Last Updated: 9/6/2004

The following notes are from Day 3 of the 4th International Japanese Garden Symposium, held in Seattle, Washington 28 August 2004 - 30 August 2004. The following is not an exact transcript - your editor has taken liberties in order to construct some complete sentences and any errors in interpretation are entirely his responsibility.

The 3rd day of the symposium had two tracks of activities. Your editor was only able to attend one of them and the notes will reflect this.

Presentation 5
Evolving the Japanese Garden: A Look at the Adaptations to Place in Time proposed by Mirei Shigemori - Christian Tschumi Part 1: Background
Mirei Shigemori (1896-1975)
Shigemori devoted his live to the evolution of the Japanese garden. But he was also a brilliant painter. A big fan of Kandinsky, his paintings are vibrant and full of color. He tried to establish a university called Bunka Daigakuin, but it failed.

Jean Francois Mirei was a an important influence, so he changed name from Shigemori Kazuo to Shigemori Mirei.

Began writing books in 1930’s:
1930-32 - Complete Works of Japanese Flower Arrangement Art (9 volumes)
1933 - Art in Kyoto (Garden Edition).

Kasuga Taisha, 1934 – first true shrine garden. The shrine garden did not exist prior ot this. Design is inspired by shimenawa and gohei. The stone arrangement created a 3/5/7 grouping from each of 3 directions. The white, paper gohei that often hangs from the straw shimenawa is represented by the path that passed through site.

Illustrated Book on the History of the Japanese Garden (26 Volumes), 1936-1939 It was an ambitious undertaking, and it was almost not completed. In order to complete the project, he was given a small fortune of $1,000 by a friend. He took many photos using a 4x5 camera (these glass slides are still held by the family).

Shigemori was concerned that the evolution of the garden had come to a halt and that most garden designers were simply engaged in imitation.

From 1940-1949, he published 33 books.

1950-1975, his emphasis shifts to designing and building gardens. An important catalyst was a meeting with Isamu Noguchi in 1957. Shigemori was asked to help Noguchi to gather appropriate stones for the UNESCO Paris garden. They remained in touch for several years afterwards, continuing to influence each others work.

Part 2: Adaptations
Tschumi feels that Shigemori has made two important contributions:
  1. Elements: to the points of stone and plane of gravel, Mirei added the line as independent elemnt
  2. Color: the planes of gravel were no longer limited ot a single color, but used up to four different colors in his gardens.
These adaptations are represented in the following gardens.

Kishiwada Castle, 1953 - Hachijin no Niwa (Garden of Eight-fold Battle Camp Formation)
One of his earliest designs as garden design career resumed after the war. Make reference to the walls of castle but also a famous Chinese battle (zubei yang). It is a karesansui design that incorporates 8 stone settings, the center one of which is the ‘Captain’s Camp’. It is structured as a flat pyramid shape in which each level drops 30 cm from the center camp. Each setting is named as Earth, Tiger, Heaven, Phoenix, Snake Captain, Wind, Cloud, and Dragon. The garden is places in the courtyard of the castle, inside the walls.

Kanun no Niwa (Garden of Appreciating Clouds) Kozen-ji, Kiso-Fukushima, elevation 1200m
Not only closer to the gods, air is different due to altitude. The garden is a karesansui that uses sand to outli

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