it is my great honor…

Shiro Nakane

Shiro Nakane

to show you what i am thinking of.”  It seemed to me only someone who was Japanese could open a talk with this sentence.   Shiro Nakane‘s talk, The Japanese Garden:  Secrets of Natural Landscape Design at Japan Society last night was sold out.  Shiro is the son of renowned Japanese landscape designer Kinsaku Nakane.  Over the course of the evening, Shiro Nakane spoke often of his father.  He credited his ability to arrange rocks from being on site with his father since he was six years old.  “I didn’t go to school for landscape design, I watched my father.”


Nakane showed several early paintings and woodcuts of the Japanese landscape.  His point was not to give a history of Japanese art, but to elucidate why the Japanese have a tradition of not seeing boundaries between the garden, nature and their houses.  This lack of boundaries has influenced the way Nakane makes gardens.  Nikon’s father took photos of the gardens he designed or restored, Shino Nakane was continued this tradition.  He said I hope to have a 100 years of photos of the same garden to see how what we have done endures.

Adachi Museum

153.000 stones clenaed and replaced Sento Imperial PalaceNakane_Sento

153,000 stones placed by hand at Sento Imperial Palace

The title of the talk “secrets of natural landscape design”  I didn’t really get, if they were  revealed.  But what I did understand, is that placing rocks (in the Japanese tradition) cannot be taught.  “I arrange the rocks by myself.  I watched my father and I hope my two sons will learn by watching me.  Rock arrangement is about big and small, forward and backward and tall and high.  The closest art form to placing rocks is music.  In this talk, I have taken the American way.  I speak very plainly.” and he did.

Korin-in Temple Garden Kyotodry landscape


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