Baikoen Bonsai Kenkyukai or better known as just Baiko-en, promotes the art of bonsai through education. The study group meets monthly, presents guest speakers, shares bonsai knowledge, holds public exhibits, maintains a mentorship program and holds social events.The club was started by Frank Nagata one of the co-founders of California Bonsai Society and a long time bonsai nurseryman. After Frank passed his daughter Kai Komai and son-in-law Khan Komai continued the tradition. We host an annual "Winter Sihouette" show features naked trees from members and invited exhibitors from the Southern Califonia bonsai community.
A hint of ume blossoms
A friend has arrived
Haiku by Karen Komai Margolis
Frank Fusaji Nagata, 1890-1980 (Founder of Baikoen Bonsai Kenkyukai)
Frank Fusaji Nagata was born on April 8, 1890 in Sho, Mizokunchi, Tottori-ken, Japan. At the tender age of 16, he arrived in San Francisco amdist the devastation of 1906 earthquake and fire. He and Fumiko Kadowaki were wed on February 14, 1924 after he moved to Los Angeles.
It was during the depression when work as a gardener was scare that he developed his interest in bonsai. he was one of a very few, during World War II, to take bonsai into an internment camp in Amache, Colorado. After the war he continued his bonsai hobby, almost to an obsession, until his backyard was filled. He was one of the five founders of the California Bonsai Society, internationally famous for its annual exhibit at the California State Museum of Science and Industry.
In 1953 he retired from gardening to start a bonsai nursery. The Apline Baika (Baikoen) Nursery was one of the first to offer bonsai classes in English. The core of his early students formed the Baikoen Bonsai Kenkyukai in the mid 1960's - an organization which holds monthly bonsai workshops.
In 1968 the Nagatas retired to Temple City where Frank continued his bonsai interest and influence. The idea of a Januaray bonsai show titled, "Winter Silhouettes" featuring the leafless beauty of deciduous trees pleased this gentle teacher of bonsai because his favorite blossoms, the Ume or Japanese plum, blooms in January. (Baikoen means "fragrance of ume blossoms.) The first public "Winter Silhouettes" show was presented in Janurary 1978.
In mounting this memorial show, Baikoen looked for their teacher's bonsai colleagues, students and friends from organizations who honored him at the time of his passing, January 8, 1980. However, due to the lack of space, only a limited number of invitations could be extended. An effort was made to include not only the veterns, but also, as Frank Nagata frequently expressed, "to include youthful hobbyists to carry on this unique, cultural art." It is hoped that future shows will include those devoted bonsai friends of his who were not reprsented in this show.
Our Club offers Bonsai demonstrations by Masters in the art, hands on experience, lectures, workshops, beginner classes, benefit drawings, local and state Bonsai information and local events.
Our Club meetings are held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden on 3rd Thursday of each month starting 7:00P.M, except month of August (dark) and December when we have a Christmas party on a weekend in December.
Vice President / Showchair
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