Serialized Essay

Artists in the limelight, up-and-coming young people – these and others who are capturing attention on the world stage report on the latest in their activity in this essay.


Vol. 2 People are Fascinated by Bonsai for the Same Reasons throughout the World

Today, countless superb works of bonsai are being created around the world due to growing knowledge and skill, and the availability of materials, and I am often stimulated by the shaping applied and the ways it is exhibited.


Vol. 1 A Path for a Bonsai Master Opened through Passion and Energy Alone

Hello, my name is Takahiro Mori. I live in a small traditional Japanese home and work as a bonsai master. A bonsai master is a craftsperson primarily engaged in the maintenance of bonsai owned by aficionados and other bonsai masters. This is a rare occupation, and you might be lucky to find even one person doing it in your town. Here I will write an essay that covers my experiences as a bonsai master. I hope that through reading this, you will develop an interest in the world of bonsai that is once again growing in popularity.


A New Series of Essays by Internationally Active Bonsai Master on the Traditional Culture of Bonsai

Bonsai is the art of replicating the aesthetic beauty of trees in their natural form in a pot. As part of Japan's traditional cultural heritage, bonsai has transcended national borders and is loved and appreciated around the globe, as attested by the large number of bonsai enthusiasts from various countries who gather at the World Bonsai Convention held once every four years. The art of bonsai has captured the imagination of people from all over the world, but what is the secret of its appeal? In this series of essays, Takahiro Mori, a bonsai master who is working to promote this ancient art not only in Japan, but in America and Europe as well, will share various ways to appreciate and enjoy bonsai.


11.Lands and Voices
――A Japanophone Taiwanese Goes on Swaying――

A couple of days had passed since the full moon. The moon floating in the sky looked much closer than usual, taking me by surprise. As I got off the car, I felt the piercingly cold air on my skin and the leftover frozen snow under my feet. Since I was expecting it would be very cold in Aomori, it did not keep me from admiring the sky.


10. Being Rocked on the Motorbike and Being Stirred up:
An Encouragement of Beitou Heterotopia

I rarely have the opportunity to ride a car, let alone a motorbike. So on this day, feeling excited but also nervous, I let my body rock back and forth on the Tanshui-Xinyi Line of the Taipei Metro.


9. As if to Say that Going for a Walk is a Proof of Adulthood...

The Taipei Fine Arts Museum is a famous cultural institution best known for hosting the Taipei Biennial, but to me, for many years, it was just a white wall that I saw at night from the windows of my uncle's car as he drove my family around. I always felt fascinated by the view of the brightly lit-up white wall.


8. Encounter of Two Authors: A Japanophone Taiwanese Meets a Taipei Person-to-be

When in Taiwan, I always stay at my father's "home" overlooking the Tamsui River. It is a three-bedroom apartment that my father purchased to accommodate his needs as he spends more time in Taiwan than in Japan. There is my parents' bedroom and my father's study. In the spare bedroom, there are two single beds and two desks. My father says that these are for me and my younger sister. So for us, my father's "home" in Taiwan is another family home in addition to our house in Tokyo, where my mother lives.


7. Reading The Buddha in the Attic (Part 2)

On June 25, I boarded a plane. It was a domestic flight, so I did not need my passport. Still, I had a feeling of exhilaration at the moment of departure and just before landing. From Fukuoka Airport, I boarded the subway, and as the train car rocked me, I heard the gentle voices of an elderly couple sitting next to me. Fascinated by the intonation slightly different from what I hear in Tokyo, I felt like I could listen to their conversation forever.


6. Reading The Buddha in the Attic (Part 1)

The Japanese edition of The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka hit the bookstores in late March this year, and became a critically acclaimed hit immediately after its publication. In mid-April, carefree and clueless, I entered a bookstore and impulsively picked up the book, lured by the pretty flowers on its cover. But the moment I turned the first page, I was captivated.


5. Reading Taiwanese Literature Part 1 - To the Soldiers! by Huang Chunming

To be honest, I have never been very enthusiastic about reading Taiwanese novels, because, despite being Taiwanese, I have to rely on the Japanese translations and this makes every attempt to read Taiwanese literature a frustrating and slightly mortifying experience. A couple of years ago, however, I read a work translated into Japanese, which made me painfully aware of the fact that I had no time to feel mortified. The work in question, which gave me a powerful sense that there were many works of Taiwanese literature that I had to read, even if relying on the Japanese translations, was the short story Zhànshì Gānbēi! [To the Soldiers!] by Huang Chunming.

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