Tomomi is a lady on a mission; trying to make Bonsai more popular to the younger crowds in Japan - a mission she shares with us.

Some time ago Bonsai Empire was interviewed by Kinbon magazine and we discussed what we are doing to get quality information about the basics of Bonsai to young people. Tomomi is doing the same thing, working with Kinbon and the Japanese Bonsai Association, so it's about time we interviewed her about what she’s up to.

 

 

Ms. Tomomi Mori, could you introduce yourself to the reader?

I worked for a talent agency in Tokyo before I got into bonsai. I worked performing on TV, I was a model and pit girl, etc. I had so many experiences. I went to art museums and walked around cool architecture in my spare time. Its my hobby. I loved to see artistic things. One day, I saw bonsai at a Tokonoma in a Japanese traditional house with a beautiful Japanese Garden. I was very impressed when I saw that garden. But, I didn't have much time when I was in Tokyo. Too busy working entertainment activities. So I quit performing when my contract term expired and I started my bonsai apprenticeship in Aichi prefecture when I was 25 years old. I'm 30 now.
The president of Japan Bonsai Association recommended Kidoen for my apprenticeship when I met him. Aichi prefecture is very common for Japanese Black Pine. Its a wildlife growth area. My master has so many JBP. Back then I didn't know about the apprentice system at all. I didn't notice what I didn't know. It was hard. But, I feel I keep growing something everyday. Some Japanese bonsai masters teaching Kokedama and Yoseue. Thats good to spread bonsai. Its easy and looks cute. But, I want to do real bonsai. I mean traditional art of bonsai. I want to inherit to next person skill, knowledge and consideration. Its my dream. I want to do it with my partner for the rest of my life. Also I want to share that lifework on Internet. I continue to do my best with bonsai.

 

What was your first encounter with Bonsai?

I can not remember "the one". I remember just the first opportunity to see bonsai. I used to go to museum and look around architecture. I felt in love with Japanese Gardens when I saw that next to the Japanese traditional architecture. But, hard to get garden for me even I loved it so much.
"This is it!" I just came up with a good idea when I saw "Tokonoma" in Japanese traditional architecture. Decorated bonsai. It was seems like magnificent scenery. Bonsai has history and big meaning how much accumulate years in a small pot. Especially it could be near by my side. I met bonsai in coincidence when I enjoyed what I like it.

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

And how long did it take before you actually had your first tree and started learning?

I worked in the entertainment industry in Tokyo when I started to get interested in bonsai. I was 20 years old. I was too busy to do bonsai though. When I moved back to Aichi prefecture after expiration of contract term for show business, I decided to do bonsai for life work. I started bonsai apprenticeship on the 10th of March. I was 26 years old.

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

What would be your advice for someone starting out with Bonsai?

Many people asked me, "What is the difference between bonsai, indoor plants and gardening?". Everybody enjoys plants. The best part of bonsai is "tradition". Trees live much longer than people and every year makes history. Trees will pass on to next generation with my history if I did good look after. Its could be hundreds years. My child and grandchild will inherit bonsai which I loved so much. Otherwise, someone who loved it as me. What a romantic story, isn't it?
Watering everyday. This is the first step to have bonsai. Some enthusiast do bonsai alone. I think thats needs knowledge. But, Bonsai makes friends. I think this is the most important thing for bonsai. Better to enjoy with friends and partner. I think bonsai is same as human. Can not live alone. Also its charming point too. Please pic up tree which you feel cute and stay by your side forever. That will make you happy and strong impression.

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

You work with Kinbon - what is your goal and intention to work with them?

We started to work timidly together at the first time. I think we just tried to explore unknown territory. Not many female in bonsai industry. I tried to find a way to make famous about bonsai. But, I didn't have anything. One day, My partner's Oyakata introduced me to Kindai Shuppan that company publisher of Kinbon. I think Kinbon is the most famous magazine. I just wanted to be in that magazine. It was very fascinating to me. Kinbon agree to use me. They try to find a new way. So Kinbon made new page "森友美が行く!":"Tomomi Mori goes on!" that irregular publication. Chief editor tried to make new reader. We started to work together about three years ago. I guess not everybody agree to working with Kinbon. But, President of Kinbon, chief editor and many people good to help me. Because, Our mind are same. We want to make more bonsai enthusiast. Many people helped my apprenticeship and lifework. Especially chief editor of Kinbon gave me some work to visit other bonsai nursery and bonsai enthusiast to learning for me. So many people support to me. I know impossible to do bonsai if nobody support and help me. I keep try my best to give back everybody someday.

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

What would you like to do in the future?

I keep cultivate bonsai forever. Somebody wants to change family, partner and friends? Bonsai is same to me. I want to live with precious people in limited lifetime. I knew that mind when I was 3rd years bonsai apprenticeship. Also I met partner around that. We engaged and planning to marriage when finished my apprenticeship. We want to keep making bonsai. Its mean we live with bonsai forever. I know we have to sale bonsai to running business. But, In the future, We don't want to sale bonsai. We live with bonsai and share what we doing on website. We will share how to trimming, cultivation and skill also success and mistake. We hope its could be our own bonsai business. We don't sale bonsai if we doing well. Its our goal. The first, we making own bonsai bench. Long way to go. I hope our wishes reach many people.

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

And how do you think Bonsai, as an art, will develop in Japan?

"Living art" I heard many English people call bonsai. But, I think many Japanese doesn't have that mind. Most Japanese know bonsai is beautiful. But, Just known one of the hobby and they think hard to starting it. Its sure. Hard to start bonsai even people intrest in and want to start it. They doesn't know how to do it and how to start. Not much information and they feel distant to bonsai. "Living art" I think its so nice to call it. Never finish, keep making better, well done and sometimes not well done. But, Always try to be the best of beauty. Its so fun and nothing without bonsai. "ART" Its good feeling. I want to get rid of distant and border between bonsai and people. Tree lives much longer than us. So better to start younger. I planning to give tree when children goes to elementary school. Bonsai with education. I think it could be good communication tool in the family and training to sense of responsibility. Many years owner of bonsai when they graduate elementary school. Sounds good doesn't it?

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

What could be your role in this development?

Bonsai is male society and artisan. Many people feel like that? Yes, many bonsai master working on bonsai dynamic, powerful and cool. But, I think it needs easier step before that. So thats my turn. Hard? Needs power? Look at me! I hope that I could be trigger to start bonsai. I'm 5th years apprenticeship now. I can do heavy physical work too. Its needs know how to do it. Everything have tips. I'm so happy if people see me and start to do bonsai. But, I try to make great bonsai. I hope to make female enthusiast. Do I best to brushup skill and share on internet.

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

 

Will it be difficult to make a living as a Bonsai professional in Japan?

I'm bonsai apprentice in Japan now. Many senior master are running bonsai nursery of long standing and some founder. Everybody work hard and not easy. But, they having fun and active. Its not just bonsai. Every work could be art and good way. I think just need commitment. I committed to do bonsai with partner for the rest of my life. I think don't care about nationality and which country we are to do bonsai. Just keep try the best to think and enjoy. I want to give hopes and dream when you see us that we begin at the beginning. Everyone, we highly appreciate your continued efforts. Thank you lead until the end.

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

Tomomi Mori Bonsai artist

 

We thank Tomomi Mori and her husband for this interview!