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Saitama City Government to Open Bonsai Academy for Japanese and Foreign Nationals

The Saitama city government has taken the initiative of establishing a Bonsai academy to enroll both Japanese people and foreigners. It will be in action on the World Bonsai Convention to be held in the city in 2017.

With a positive response coming from all corners of the world for the age old Japanese the government is apparent enough to promote education on the same lines. The academy though named as the international bonsai academy, will serve as a hub for the training and education on the traditional form.

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The organization will be affiliated to the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum in the city, while the mayor of Saitama will issue certificates to students upon successful completion of the. Fees for lectures and training will be charged accordingly at the academy.

The professional bonsai gardeners from the Omiya Bonsai Village along with academic experts will serve as the faculty members for the institute.  The Omiya Bonsai Village is rich in the reddish soil of the loamy layer of the Kanto Plain which is suitable for cultivating bonsai trees. A district named Bonsai-cho in the city’s Kita Ward, has got the six bonsai gardens.

As far as foreign students are concerned the mode of imparting education will be in English and they will also have a glossary of bonsai terms Bonsaiwith interpreters as prepared by the city government. There training will be a full length one with short terms courses as well, where students are supposed to stay in public facilities near the Omiya Bonsai Village.

Even the government plans for a on the job training programme, which will be helpful to enhance as a project team to begin such work as devising a curriculum and selecting lecturers.

For full-fledged training or short-term lectures students at the academy will stay from 1 to approximately 3 months in public facilities near the Omiya Bonsai Village.

“We’ll manage the academy like an agricultural university, so students can develop skills and learn theories” related to bonsai, a city government official said.

Keeping in mind the forthcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the official added, “We’ll strengthen Saitama city’s image as a mecca of bonsai ahead, so this city will draw a large number of tourists during that period to help revitalize our local economy.”

With a knowhow of maintaining bonsai gardens, it is more important to have the older generation to provide inputs for the new hands.  “It’s great to have a place to teach bonsai in a logical manner, since bonsai is increasingly popular in Europe and other parts of the world,” said Tomio Yamada, 75, an owner of Seiko-en bonsai garden and the representative director of Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyokai (Japan association of bonsai producers).

-Priya Priyadarshini