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Origin of Japanease garden

Posted by yama 7b Ga (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 4, 06 at 1:46

Hi all
This title of the posting Can be relationship between Buddhism and Japanese garden. Any way, we have to learn/know history of Japan,Korean Buddhism and Korean history as well as Chinese Buddhism and Chinese history.

I would like to bring back Edzard and few other peoples to garden web. Many knowlegeble people left gardenweb some time ago. I may have to bring back old postings and do same things........ Reserch, Reserch and Reserch.

Welcom any of your thought/opinion/sugestion or question.
Some of you are new to Garden web and you maynot know me. I may not able to spend much of time I like to spend,but I will do my best.

mike y

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by kobold Vancouver BC (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 4, 06 at 18:34

Hi Mike!

I was so glad to see your posting! It was long due to bring back the interesting questions, discussions, good ideas, help from the "pros" like you. I won't even try to make a list of the others, but hopefully they are interested. I missed you all!


RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by yama 7b Ga (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 5, 06 at 0:48

Hi Andrea
As you know, many of us, edzard,christian,nachodady/micheal
fed up nagative postings of past and left. Today I found that jgarden's forum ( International Japanese garden soceity ) is temporly closed. It is sad.

we should start fresh with new attitude. I will bring back old postings and create new topics for peoples who are new to J garden forum as well as peoples who have been with GW jgarden forum past few years.

Start with basic such as how to make tools such as bamboo broom, sand rake, tripod ladder, trowel.Learn knots, handling and use of bamboos/ fence, tools and other many use of it. pruning basic, shaping trees, how to use ladders
etc. To bing all topic mentioned above will take some time to cover.

I am still learnig Buddhism and finding many intresting things. Some of topic may be too heavy for those who are new to Japanese garden but you may be intrested.

I have to go to bed now , will try to write/post soon.

mike y

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by yukio PDX, OR (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 5, 06 at 21:37


RE: Origin of Japanease garden

Thanks for coming back Mike! Looking forward to POSITIVE discussions to come.

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by yama 7b Ga (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 7, 06 at 18:45

Hi All
Thank you for your kind welcome. I will only post in this thread for awhile. Lot's of books are stile in boxs. Some of your question cannot be answered untill all boxs are opened for referrence books. I don't want to anwer if I am not 100% for sure. Beleave or not ,Finding fact,history accurately will take lot's of reserach/time. My time is limited now some how. Once I settled, then I can respond to other questions or find facts/reserch for you.

Cady and I working on book "How to" of Japanease garden. We had obstcles in last year and this year, but finaly, those obsticle are seem to cleared . After I move to MA, I should able to spend more time on GW Jgarden.

To explain "Origin of Japanese garden"is take some time to copmplete. Since our history is rich and long, I know that some of you are bored and some are intrested.
I also limited to acces copmuter. My a little friend Ali and his two sisters also want to use computer.

Thanks again. Tony I am for sure that I don't run. ^^
I made many friends over GW Jgarden and want to make more friends.
mike y

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by yama 7b Ga (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 12, 06 at 20:33

Dear Tony.
Motivation of writing on Gw Jgarden, yours and mine may be diferent. I was born in Japan and reised as Japanese.I have been liveed in this country longer than I lived in Japna now

After world war two, one of low ranking a Japanese soldier was hanged at military court. Because he fed budock to Austrian soldier which look like tree root. For most of Japanese, even today burdock is regular vegitable and elementaly school kids never think burdock is tree root. But Austrian soldiers thought differenty abot burdock

To day many Japanese campany and it's products have good reputation. Many American, Canadian who met Japanese and think they do know Japan and Japanese. But only they know Japan and Japanes briefly. It is same to Japanese. Since Japan is Island nation and Japanese economy is depend on tradeing, so Japan and average Japanese pay more attention what going on US economy, fashion, Hollywood goship. They watch TV news, magazine , news paper. but they don't know much as they think know US, Canada, or Euorpe counties.

1960's when many communist party and it's members, students opposted Us president visit to Japn, or necler sub trying to seacretly harbor at Japanese port, they screamed" Yankee go home " In some of soldiers from Georgia or any other southern state who are not yankee or president Carter who are native Georgian , They are not yankee. Still most Japanes can't tell different between yankee's land or dexie land.

Many peoples around world intresting in Japanese garden. They can buy many good Japanese garden books written by Japanese Landscape archetcts,Some American or any of western county scholar went Japan and study Japanese culture and Japanese garden also wrote many books. Some went Japan to learn working with Japanese gardeners many yaersand also wrote books. Some, went to Japan few weeks and wrote book about Japan and our culture. Some, never been to Japan but still he/she can write book about Japan.

Years ago, my Japanese freind who do not speak English well hosted her Japanese friend who wanted to write book about Georgia. Freind's freind spend time about one week and my friend who does not speak English and she doen't drive highway show around. (friend's friend also do not speak Enlish) Shorty after freind's freind wrote kind of travel guide of Georgia. We are laughing about the book and the auther. It din'd lie but not telling about Gerogia or Gergian much.It is same to Japanese garden.

In past two years or so, we had lot's of negative posts on gw J garden. As you know many knowlgeble peoples,peoples who had genuinely intrested in Japanese garden are gone. so do I.

I have a second thought. If I don't write and inform our history,culture correctly though Japanese Garden forum Who else can help who those have genuninely intrested in Japanese garden and can't/ couldn't find information(s) elsewhere?
There is Japanese gareden bimonthy magazine.articleof the magazine is too short, not enough informations and often publisher's opinion are not agreeed by many Japanese professionals gardeners.or scholars. Since many of you can't read Japanese, many readers of the magazine depending on the publisher's opinion or his pick of the articles.

I left GW J garden forum because I din't want to debate,ague or responding to meaningless posts. I also found that many of website informations about Japanese garden are not accurate or wrong, too short to inform our culture , history correctly.

Many American kids and as well as adult know what happened perl harbor and they all think Japan attcked USA. all books writen by Amerian , include text of USA, they don't teach American kids that US sent war ship to pry open Japanese ports and sunk some of Japanese defenedr's ship. History has alway both side of story and been told only one side. What Japanese did to Korean is same. Japanese history text book never say that Japanse soldiers stole goods from Korean temples. We bring back goods as war trophy. Stealing is bad thing but it is ok to bring back war trophy, isn't it ?

Anyway , some one have to tell correctly about Japanese garden's history, how to, trick of trade etc.
With or without your help/suport I will do it. Certinly it is nice to have your suport ^^.
I simply want to help those who want to know Japanese garden , Japan or Japanese.
mike y

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

yama san, others san too,

Your posts brings to mind a question I have often thought about. Japan has long history of civil war (for lack of a better term) lasting some 600 years if I recall correctly. Has anyone studied what effect these wars had on the development and desire for the Japanese garden style as we know it today.


RE: Origin of Japanease garden

Hey, Yama! Great to hear from you again. As another who left for friendlier gardens, I would love to get our old community back together. If we could just ignore the negatives, perhaps we could get back to our old friendly, informative conversations.


RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by yama 7b Ga (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 15, 06 at 1:27

Hi all
Japan had long history of power struggling, just like any other nations.
When king of Paekji, one of three kingdoms of Korea send sutras ,Buddha's statue and other items as gift to Japanese Empror in DC 538. That created war later between one of party wanted to spread Buhhsim, other is tried to kick out Buddhism and maintain Shinto as the nation's only relegion.

prince Shotoku and Soganoumako fought togather to protect newly imported relegion of Buddhism. After prince Shotoku and Soganoumako won the war, then temples was built and Garden was also created with temples.

Shito shrine did not has garden and probably shinto shrine was very small and simple building.some shrine even din't have building but only Torii gate.

I am attending korian zen temple of Chogye order which is largest Buddhism sect of korea. Japanese called "Sokei shu"
I am trying to lean why Japanese dedeloped gardens attached to temples and why Korean and Chinese din't.
I also attend Chinese pure land Buddhism temple and trying to study sutras of pureland buddhism and zen. I am getting to know and understand why Japanese garden were created.

I have asked to Cady, Did I improved my English? I think I am getting better and can write faster than before. Cady saied " we~~ll you are making same mistake and making mistake faster " Last year Cady's mam send me third grade English text book to study ^^. Long way to go.

I am making note in Japanese. How and why gardens
were created and why pureland Buddhism and zen are involeved. Answer is in Sutras of Pure land Buddhism. I will explain it next time.

Hi Gardener
Yama is part of my familliy name. Home boys called me "yama" Yama also have other meanings in Hindu and sunskrit as well. I like both.

mike y

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by kobold Vancouver BC (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 15, 06 at 4:51

Hi Mike!

Your English is fine, but it won't be perfect ever, you know that. I know the same about my English too. It is a very difficult language, especially the written form. You write about complex problems, long essays, translate from Japanese without any help. Publishers have editors to check and edit manuscripts and they still make mistakes. If you put spelling check on the computer and use it, still can make errors, use the wrong word with correct spelling, but you can learn a lot.
I enjoy and learn a lot from your knowledge and postings!


RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by yama 7b Ga (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 18, 06 at 8:59

Hi all
Asukaji/ Asuka temple have been moved few times. present location and building of Asuka ji< Ji means Temple> is not original location. Many years ago, arcaeologists and other scientists escavateted original location of Askaji. They discovered foundation of stone lantern. we believe that the foundtion of stone lantern is the oldest we ( as Japn and Japanese)found so far.( In DC 600's) The olddst pond recored in Japanse history is built by Soganoumako who fought with Prence Shotoku to preserve Buddhism .
Soganoumako who beleived to be decendant of Korea( may be chinese, somehow I believe he was Korean )was aslo nick named as "Minister of pond" [ shima no daijin in Japanese ] because he build garden with pond. Why he made pond in his garedn? To answer this question I have to explain Buddhism specialy history of pureland buddhism and chinese history and Korean history.

I will explain/ point out later to who those have no time to read all of sutras.

To find out simple question of "what is origin of Japanese garden?" also helped me to find many other questions I have had such as "why zen monk was also involeved to build/design Japanese garden". what is zen ?. why zen sects and pure land sects din't have much conflict between them ?
Thanks to Edzard. He brought me many good questions which I could not answer when he asked me. I had to study my self to know about it.

Japanese Pure land Buddhism such as Jodo shu ( shu means sect,beleaf denomination,religen) Jodoshin shu, Ji shu ) started Kamakura piriod. also same time Zen sect stared as new sect. Sutras of Jodo are transrated by kumarajiva in early 400's from snskrit to Chinese. Most of Japanese reading sutas of pureland are at least 1500 years old and not translated into Japanese. we Japanese are reading sutras in Chinese. Dogma of pureland Buddhism is much older than sect of Japanese pureland Buddhism so does zen. Zen is part of Buddhism ,not started as one of sect of Buddhism. Many people misunderstand it include most of Japanese. Jodo shu and any other sect of Buddism practice zen. Zen is not only prcticed by so called zen sect. all Buddhist practic zen.

Honen shonin( shonin means saint) who founded Jodo shu, Shiran shonin who founded Jodoshin shu both studied at Tendaishu temple at Mt Hihei. Tendai shu is also zen sect but different line of Zen from Rinzai shu, soto shu and Oubaku shu. Shinran shonin was follower of Honen shonin.

There are three main sutras of pureland buddhism. [Chinese Pureland buddhism add two other sutras( part of lotus sutra and other) as 5 main sutra of Pureland Buddism]
"The sutra on the Buddhaamitayus" which is short sutra. Amida kyo in Japanese.( kyo means sutra in Japanese)

"The sutra of visulization of the Buddha of infinite life" which is mid side sutra( lenght wise).kanmuryoju kyo in Japanese.
The sutraonthe Buddha of eternal life which is large /long sutra . (Muryoju kyo in Japanese).

If you read all three sutras above carefully then you can understand all about Japanese garden. why stone lanern is in J garden? and significant of it. what is zen garden. why pond in J garden ? you understand significant of three sets of Budda stones. (There are 3 sets of three Buddha stones in Japanese garden. I will explain it later.)

Thanks for compliment and being sympathetic. ^^

Those who thinks that improper to post in J garden forum mentioning relegion.

I am not trying preching nor using this forun as explaining Buddhism . To understand history of Japanese garden and Japanese garden , I have to mention Buddhism. If any foreigner who like to study American history and culture, He/she must to understand Christianity. It is same to Japanese garden. I know Some don't beleive that Buddhism has nothing to do with Japanese garden or not have much of significant meaning.
Modern Japanese landscape may not use theme of Buddhism but even Japanese peoples who think himsel that don't believe Buddhism, Buddhism still have signicicant influence to his/her life without his /her recognition. Japanese who never been to Church nor read Bible thinks Christiany have nothing to do with his /her life, That is wrong too. In small scale, Christiany live in Japanese culture as well. Many Japanese don'd and can't think of it but it's there.

Being Japanese konw everything about Japan ? I don't think so. Being Japanese gardenr, know everying about Japanese garden? I don't think so too. I know that many gardeners in Japan never read sutras of pureland nor Sutras of zen. But still they can talk about zen garden.

Those who has different opinion.
Please Don't use fake name nor some one's name to post here. why you have to hide yourself ?. If you think that you can damage someone reputation, Try it. But you have to stand up and say it loud so that every can hear. If my poor English bother you, I will write you in Japanese.

Bring historical fact(s) and source of informations and play fair.

mike y

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

Hello Yama
Good to see you here again , I just wondered over here a couple of days ago myself. I remember seeing your post as you left Garden Web, I had allready stopped posting, and left soonafter.
I think many people in the USA , feel threatned when they hear people talking about other religions like Shinto , Buddhism , Tao , ect. They want to learn about Japanese Gardens, or Bonsai , but I think they are afraid they are asking them to give up their religion . I think maybe they are afraid if they show respect , or give credance ot other teachings, they are somehow being disloyal to their faith.
We are not yet a true melting pot , but I have seen a lot of changes in attitudes, in my 60 or so years , I think things will get better .
Hope to see some more of your excellant articles .
My Best

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by kobold Vancouver BC (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 1, 06 at 22:07

The Japanese Gardens are full with symbols, traditional ways to build a path, tea house or gate, prune a pine etc.... To use them correctly and have the effect you wanted to achieve, it is important to understand the meanings of all of them. We can't separate this knowledge from the history , tradition, religion, lifestyle of Japan and her people.

In everyday life we read about different religions, their effects on the people, without convert . I enjoy reading mystery books without the urge to commit crime or be afraid that it will turn me into a murderer.

So many talented gardeners posted here, gave advice, help to everybody. Yama is trying to bring back this dead forum to life, we should help him for the benefit of all.


RE: Origin of Japanease garden

  • Posted by yama 7b Ga (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 2, 06 at 7:22

Hi all

Thank you for your concern and kind regard.

If religion(s) is(are) removed from Japanese garden, then nothing left. Every stlye of gardens have it's history and are different. Japanese garden is different from all other type of gardens of world. Unlike other type of gardens in the world, very begining of developement of so called Japanese garden is started with Buddhism.
Today every day life style of Japanese chenged as well as education at school and home. Landscaping design and landscape/ garden has been changed as well.

Landscape architects, garden desiners are free from old tredition and disigning new gardens without much influence of old tredition. But like Don mentioned, when Japanese built new bridges or buildings with newest technology, they still invide shinto preist and praying for safty of all workers , blessing bridge , building it's self.

Most Japanese don't know exactly what Shinto is. but we , Japanese live with it. Not necesery to believe in Shinto.

just befor reading your post, I was reading JOJG # 36
"Biggest misconception "
It said " In the Engish-speaking world, JN gardening is haunted by misinformation. Some books seems to contain more myth than fact. JOJG asked some pro to help identify the most prevalent myth. Publisher asked to 5 Americans and one Japanese. If they published thire opion in Japan, I would like to know how Japanese soceity of landscape architect and Japanese respond to JOJG's opinion.

The first Japanese garden recorded in document is base on Pure land buddhism. About 250 years earlier than Buddism is introduced to Japan officialy, confucianism came to Japan but din'd have much impact to Japanese or Japan.

Reason of Japanese garden had pond, lotus in pond, how to set stones, name of stones are based on three sutras of pure land Buddhism not by Zen nor any other teach of Buddhism. Constracting original Japanese gardens are motivated by religious reasons. To understand Japanese garden we must know Buddhism. Of cause we can build Japanese garden without religion. You don't have to implementing rerigious meaning to Japanese garden design. But when you place stone lantern in the garden, don't you want to know it's history ? why set three main stone in the garden, why number of stone in Japanese garden use 1, 3, 5, 7. Why not 2,4 6,or 8. If you want to know tea house's roji,( one of J garden style/type) religion can't separate from it.

I am not trying to preach Buddhism nor shinto. Just trying to explain historical fact(s).

If all of you who intresting Japanese garden and read only JOJG's articles and opinion and beleive it,
you should know thatit may not agreed from majority of Japanese gardening soceity's opinion. It is just thire opinion without historical facts.

If I can't explain in Japanese garden forum origin of Japanese garden, stone lantern, meaning of 3 set of stone, story of two dragon and where two dragon,s myth came from,
history of garden at famous temples or oldest Gardening book of world " Sakuteiki" then what else we can talk about Japanese garden ?

I understand that gardenweb is for peoples who love gardening not religion. Any of gardens like English garden, Italian garden, French garden, don't have any ( or much) relation with Christianty or any other religion(s) so that you can talk gardening without religion.
I also do understand that Japapanese garden without
religion is like human body without bone.

Recently I am thinking to name stones like father& mother, garnd parents, brothers/ sisters, friends ancesters in Japanese garden. Poeples who are christian and like to have Japanese garden setting for relaxing, peacfull place, they/Chrisians can have Japanese garden without Buddhism or Shinto. Stone lantern as garden ornament, stone foot as NBA player's foot (curved foot in Japanese garden represent Buddh's foot).^^,^^ I am not joking.

Thank you. It is good karma. ^^

RE: Origin of Japanease garden

"If my poor English bother you, I will write you in Japanese. "

Lots of laughs .. now that would be something !!

I'm getting used to your english ... it's Ok .. there is a lot of info in your post. I'm reading a book now called "A History Of Japanese Religion" by Kazuo Kasahara. Ever heard of it ? I'm not sure what light it may shed on gardening but I do agree that ones culture is not completely independent of our gardens and our politics are not independent of our religions .. to know one is to something about the other to some degree.

So carry on ...

Good Day ...

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