Where is this and who created it?

HerbSeptember 16, 2005

I hadn't noticed this before, but the tsukubai arrangement shown on the dust jacket of the book 'A Japanese Touch for your Garden' looks very similar to one in the Tea Garden of the Nitobe Memorial Garden.

As the book was published in 1980, and the original Nitobe tsukubai arrangement by Professor Mori was discarded & replaced at some time after the early 1970s, I began to wonder if the book's picture was in fact taken in the Nitobe garden.

A brief examination shows that they aren't the same thing, but it does make me wonder where the view on the book's cover is & who created it. Does anybody know?

Click to see the book jacket.

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Herb - The first picture is one which seems to have been originally photographed by Haruzo Ohashi - in fact it's identical, except for being cropped at the top

It is Plate 31 in 'Japanese Courtyard Gardens photographs by Haruzo Ohashi'
and located in the courtyard of the Sagano Restaurant (Fukuoka)


    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 6:46PM
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oops - sorry.. he doesn't say who was the designer/builder.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 6:49PM
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again, sorry for not being more mentally organized.

The book of Ohashi photos was published in 1997 by Graphic-sha/ Publications Japan, and distributed by Kodansha US

This must be a new/recent edition of 'A Japanese touch' ?
as the earlier edition carried a different photo - but the photos for that publication were also by Haruzo Ohashi.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 7:09PM
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Jack - It isn't you who should be apologising for not being mentally organized - it should be me.

I was quite wrong to say that the book - at least the one I own - was published in 1980. I should have read it more carefully. My copy is one of the the Paperback editions, though I can't decypher which, because it reads -

"First paperback edition, 1992
97 98 99 00 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8"

Anyway, it does attribute nearly all the photographs in it to Haruzo Ohashi.

Now that you've identified where the particular tsukubai is - the courtyard of the Sagano Restaurant (Fukuoka) - I wonder if anybody knows who constructed it? Because the two are so similar, my thought is that maybe - just maybe - it was the same person as constructed the one in the Nitobe Memorial Garden. Or is the one a copy, more or less, of the other?

On the other hand, there must be countless tsukubais in existence, so it may just be a case of random convergence.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 8:28PM
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It is a delightful setting, but as you suggest in your last sentence, fairly straight forward as tsukubai arrangements go.. my guess - a local installer..I doubt it would have been anyone 'famous' :) (though I'm not certain) - as Ohashi seems to only mention the Owner and location, and which camera and f-stop he used

still.. someone may know


    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 9:39PM
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MrNorth4(Sweden ZOne 1)

I have that book, and most of the pics are wonderful and superb!! Truly excellent material if one want to get inspired!!


    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 3:50AM
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I agree, it's an excellent book, and both tsukubai's are also good - entirely professional jobs.

Having said that, do the pictures show that professionalism often - quite legitimately - uses what's sometimes disparagingly called the cookie-cutter approach? (Asuka didn't use that expression, & instead said 'fairly straightforward' which I think is close to the same thing). Indeed, does professionalism actually require a good deal of the cookie-cutter approach? (see the thread 'Professionalism or something else?').


    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 12:11PM
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Herb - I hope "fairly straightforward" didn't sound like a put-down - that wasn't my intent

I do like both tsukubai .. and yes, I think part of gaining expertise and professionalism in any endeavour requires an equal measure of aptitude, study and practice..
Obviously it was built by professionals - what I meant by straightforward was the overall design/disposition.. in other words, a well executed and nuanced arrangement - which I think is delightful


    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 7:53PM
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Jack -

I certainly didn't take it in any way as a put-down.

My particular interest in the Nitobe tsukubai comes from it being re-arranged a few years ago. My own feeling that, good as the Nitobe example now is, I still prefer the way Professor Mori did it - as well as his choice & arrangement of plants when he originally laid out the garden over 30 years ago. I'm posting some pictures -before and after - of it & of a second tsukubai in the Tea Garden.


Click to compare the original and revised layouts of the Tsukubai with the Oribe lantern

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 9:41PM
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I see what you mean, Herb.. when viewed side by side, I too prefer Mori's compositions by a margin .. his division of volumetric space..the rythm of the overlapping layers which leads the eye up the elevation plane..and the overall sense of refinement... display the subtle shadings that bear the mark of an artist (imo)


    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 10:59PM
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