World: Bonsai thief steals $118,000 of tiny trees, including prized 400-year-old juniper - PressFrom - US
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WorldBonsai thief steals $118,000 of tiny trees, including prized 400-year-old juniper

09:25  11 february  2019
09:25  11 february  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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The juniper is a genus of about 50 - 70 species within the cypress family. They are evergreen coniferous trees or shrubs, which are very popular for Bonsai purposes. Juniper Bonsai trees sold at large stores, including Walmart and Home Depot, are often Japanese Garden Junipers

The Bonsai , now 400 years old , is still alive, and forms part of one of the most striking collections in the U.S. capital. If this tree could talk, it would have a lot to say. One of the most famous bonsai of the collection is this 57- year - old Juniper forest created by John Naka, considered the father of North

Bonsai thief steals $118,000 of tiny trees, including prized 400-year-old juniper© Fuyumi Iimura/Bonsai Kirakuen

A bonsai thief has stolen seven tiny trees worth at least 13 million yen ($118,000) from a garden space in Saitama prefecture near Tokyo.

The loot included a rare 400-year-old shimpaku tree, a star of the bonsai world, which was due to be entered in a Japanese beauty competition this month.

The prize shimpaku alone was worth over 10 million yen ($90,000), according to Fuyumi Iimura, wife of the bonsai master who crafted the trees.

"We treated these miniature trees like our children," she said. "There are no words to describe how we feel. It's like having your limbs lopped off."

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He had tiny little junipers and shapely miniature boxwoods growing in flat little pots with tiny gravel to match. I loved touching the twisted and gnarled little tree trunks that had been shaped and stunted over time. I bought some young junipers recently and planted them to try my hand at the bonsai art.

Japanese Juniper for shohin mame bonsai tree Classic Japanese juniper for hardy bonsai tree . Beautiful shape, evergreen foliage. Seed breeding because juniper seeds sprout habits have every year , plus seedlings grow slowly, with little use. Basal cuttings treated with in

Iimura added that those responsible for the thefts, committed over a series of nights last month, were likely professionals, as they had identified the "most valuable trees" from the couple's roughly 5,000 hectare park, which had many varieties of bonsai.

Also abducted were three miniature pine trees, called goyomatsus, and a trio of less-valuable shimpaku, a juniper tree which is now rare in the wild.

Four centuries' worth of work

Fuyumi Iimura's husband, Seiji Iimura, is a fifth-generation bonsai master whose family practice dates back to the Edo period (1603-1868).

Originating from the Chinese ancient art of "penjing," or miniature landscaping, bonsai was introduced to Japan in the 6th century by a group of Japanese Zen Buddhism students returning from their overseas travels.

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(#2) Old juniper Bonsai tree at Mansei-en, Japan - tested and proven to be over a 1000 years old ! (#4) An 800 year - old Bonsai tree also at Shunkaen. A remarkable tree which is well known for its extremely high age; the This tree has been trained into a Bonsai for almost 400 years , the result of

A bonsai tree , part of a collection at the National Arboretum, came to the garden's National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in 1976 as a gift of friendship from Japanese bonsai master Masaru Yamaki. In fact, the tree has survived much more — it's nearly 400 years old .

They dubbed it "bonsai", which literally means "planted in a container," and -- at its most elementary level -- the art is simply growing a wild tree inside a small vessel.

Bonsai thief steals $118,000 of tiny trees, including prized 400-year-old juniper© Stephen Voss

While some bonsai grow from seeds, creating the shimpaku is a laborious process, not least because the original trees are dangerous to collect, growing on precarious cliffsides.

Iimura said that the 400-year-old stolen tree had been taken from a mountain centuries ago. Through an in-depth knowledge of plant physiology, Iimura's family had gradually shrunk the tree to its miniature form. It measured one meter (3.2 feet) tall and around 70 centimeters (2.3 feet) wide when stolen.

"It's not something that can be done overnight," said Iimura.

'They can live forever'

Stolen bonsais can fetch a small fortune on the black market, and have been known to be shipped abroad to Europe, said Iimura. Some artisans have spotted their bonsai on social media sites, she added, but few have been able to reclaim their tiny trees.

"It's hard to regain ownership of your tree once it's switched hands," said Iimura.

Ideally, the couple want their bonsais to be returned, but failing that they appealed to the thief to take good care of their miniatures.

"I want whoever took the bonsais to make sure they are watered. The shimpaku lived for 400 years. It needs care and can't survive a week without water," said Iimura.

"They can live forever -- even after we're gone, if they receive the proper care."

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