Kakejiku scrolls that are longer in width than height are called “Yokomono”. The dimensions of most yokomono scrolls are approximately 30 cm x 50 cm. However, certain yokomono scrolls can be more than 1 meter long in width. Such scrolls are called “Oh-Yokomono” (means very wide scroll)
Are you having difficulty finding the right kakejiku scroll to go along with your bonsai tree? Have you visited numerous stores and yet failed to find what you are looking for? Do you feel unsatisfied with your purchase once you hang it at home? We can help. Our store specializes in kakejiku scrolls and we can offer you some vital tips as well as guide you when choosing the right scroll for your bonsai tree.
How to Choose the Perfect Bonsai Scroll
Kakejiku scrolls represent the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Kakejiku scrolls are designed to illustrate one of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The motif of the scroll differs depending on the season the scroll represents and certain motifs belong to specific seasons. When looking for bonsai scroll, you must pay careful attention to the design and motif of the scroll in order to accurately display the season you wish to pair with your tree.
Furthermore, some scrolls are more specific in its motif than others. Kakejiku scrolls may not just be bound to the seasons. Some scrolls represent the times of the day such as morning, noon, evening, or night.
The following are examples of bonsai scrolls.
@ Tips on Choosing the Right Bonsai Scroll
When choosing a bonsai scroll, make sure to consider the size of your tree and the scroll you wish to purchase. You want the size of both the scroll and the tree to pair with each other naturally. For example, it is considered unnatural to pair a kakejiku scroll that reflects a bird or a person with a small-sized bonsai tree.
* By Shape: Vertical & Horizontal Kakejiku Scrolls
Tatsumono Kakejiku Scroll
Vertically long kakejiku scrolls are called “Tatsumono”. Tatsumono scrolls vary in length and also width. The width of a tatsumono scroll can be as narrow as 10 cm or as long as 1 meter. This is important as the width of the scroll determines the impression and atmosphere the scroll presents.
Yokomono Kakejiku Scroll
Oh-Yokomono Kakejiku Scroll
The choice between choosing a tatsumono scroll or a yokomono scroll is decided upon the size of your bonsai tree and the space where you wish to place it. The impression or atmosphere that a scroll emits differs greatly between a tatsumono scroll and a yokomono scroll even if both scrolls are display the same subject.
Tatsumono (left): the scroll’s vertical length emphasizes the distance between heaven and earth.
Yokomono (right): the scroll’s horizontal length emphasizes the vastness of the sky.
* Remember to pay close attention atmosphere and the feeling that the scroll evokes.
A kakejiku scroll is meant to complement your bonsai tree. It is not and should not be the main attraction. The main attraction should be your tree. When choosing a kakejiku scroll, you must remember that the scroll must not draw more attention than the tree itself. The scroll should emphasize and bring out the qualities of your tree.
・Depth of Ink & Color
There is a wide variety of kakejiku scrolls to choose from. If one was in search of a scroll that gives off a very strong impression, he or she may choose from the works of the Kano school. If one were in of an artwork that focused on landscapes, then he or she may prefer the works of one could choose the works of the Unkoku school. There is also the Rinpa school that is known for their exquisite scrolls based on flowers and calligraphy. The Maruyama-Shijo school is known for their light use of ink and color. The variety and range of kakejiku scrolls is vast and may seem overwhelming. However, if we were to give our personal opinion, we recommend the works of the Maruyama-Shijo school.
Although the bonsai tree is the main determinant in choosing which kakejiku scroll you should purchase, certain artworks tend to be less restrictive than others. We recommend artworks that follow the teachings of the Maruyama-Shijo school due to their emphasis on harmony.
The Maruyama-Shijo school was a painting school founded by Maruyama Okyo during the Edo period. The school has produced many notable painters over the generations such as Takeuchi Seiho and Uemura Shoen both of who were active during the Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods. Their pupils have inherited their techniques and have preserved them till the present.
Artworks from the Edo period tend to be more calm and natural in color when compared to their modern counterparts. As a result, unlike more modern artworks that tend to compromise the bonsai tree as the main attraction, Edo period scrolls complement most bonsai trees with relative ease.
However, if you wish to choose a modern artwork, make sure that you choose a scroll that is not too strong in color or presentation. You do not want your scroll to overtake your bonsai tree as the main attraction.
The usage of ink and color is light. As a result, the image possesses a sense of calmness (left).
The usage of ink and color is heavy. As a result, the expression is overly powerful.
・Brushwork & Vitality
Brushwork is a vital and essential aspect of calligraphy. Expert artists can draw the entire universe by just their brushwork and adjusting their usage of ink. In Japan, there is a form of brushwork known as “Kappitsu”. Kappitsu produces a powerful impression by utilizing minimal amounts of ink. While artistically intriguing and beautiful in its own right, the style is not suited for kakejiku scrolls due to its powerful impression that often interferes with the softer impression of the bonsai tree.
When looking for the right bonsai scroll, remember to think about your bonsai tree. While the scroll may look great on its own, it may interfere with the mood and atmosphere of your tree. You must remember to view the scroll as a single component to a bigger piece of art.
Soft and simple brushwork: ideal for kakejiku scrolls (left).
Kappitsu: energetic brushwork with a strong impression (right).
・The Size of the Motif
The main subject of the image above is of wild geese. Furthermore, the size of the geese in the drawing is the same size as living and breathing geese in the real world. While interesting in its own right, it does not make for an adequate kakejiku scroll as the scroll and the subject are just way too big when compared to an bonsai tree.
Now let us look at another example. Both of the scrolls above make use of the same subject: Mt. Fuji. However, the size of the scroll and the subject is very different. As a result, the two scrolls set very different moods/atmospheres. The kakejiku scroll on the right is better suited to be paired with a bonsai tree. Mt. Fuji is central to the scroll but not too powerful that it completely overtakes it. On the other hand, the scroll on the left emphasizes Mt. Fuji too much.
@ How to Choose a Bonsai Tree: Understanding Kakejiku Scrolls
Throughout we have mentioned the importance of the subject of the scroll. Many factors complement or hinder a scroll’s compatibility with a bonsai tree. Choosing a subject that is compatible with your bonsai tree is not enough. To truly find the right bonsai scroll, you must understand the subject.
* Understanding Behind a Kakejiku Scroll
Over 1,200 years have passed since the first capital in Japan was established. 1,200 years of history filled with stories, legends, and myths. Much of the subjects drawn on kakejiku scrolls revolve around such stories, national icons, and historical locations. Thus, if one truly wants to find the perfect scroll for their bonsai tree, one must not only understand the subject but also the history and story behind it.
We recommend you consider the following:
- History – What is the historical background behind the subject?
- Story – What story or legend is the artwork based upon?
- Zen – What type of mindset or message does the artwork convey?
- Artist – Who was the artist? How did he or she live? What is the author’s message?
The image above is of a person on a boat crossing the sea under the moonlight. What is the history behind the artwork? What is the story?
The artist of the painting is Azuma Toyo. He was one of the ten great disciples of Maruyama Okyo. They were called the “Okyo Jittetsu”. Azuma Toyo was an official artist of Sendai-han (domain of Sendai) during the later half of the Edo period. The painting above is just one part of two scrolls. Such scrolls are known as “Sofuku” (means “pair of scrolls”). Only when you put the pair together do you get the whole story. Below is a picture of both the scrolls side by side.
As you can see, the boat appears to be heading toward a building. The image of the two scrolls is a representation of the story “Wang Ziyou visits Dai Andao”: a story originating from China during the Tang dynasty. The story is of the following:
One night after heavy snow, a man known as Wang Ziyou looks up to the sky. There he witnesses a gorgeous full moon. Wang Ziyou was so mesmerized by its beauty that he knew he had to share such a view with someone else. Thus, despite the snow and the cold, Wang Ziyou gets on his boat to travel across the water to visit his friend Dai Andao. However, it took a lot of time to cross the water and by the time he had reached Dai Andao’s house, the full moon was over. As Wang Ziyou approached the gates of Dai Andao’s house, without a word he suddenly turned back and left. Taiando who was waiting for him at the gate asked him why he was turning back. Wang Ziyou’s reply was simple. As he looked up at the sky he answers, “I had thought of sharing the beauty of the full moon with you, but now there is no point”. Wang Ziyou had traveled to his friend’s house so that he could share the beauty of the full moon. However, by the time he had arrived at his destination, the moon had changed shape. The purpose of his visit was gone.
The story of Wang Ziyou has been around since the Heian period. It represents what is known as “Furyu” (elegance) and what was considered elegant or tasteful at the time. The scroll gives us insight on the mindset of people during the Edo period. The painting tells us what they cherished and what they considered beautiful. They found and viewed beauty in the simplest things. They appreciated the little things in life. Such is the meaning behind the scroll. A kakejiku scroll must not just be viewed by the image alone. You must understand its history and the story behind it. Only then will “Shitsurai” (decorating ones’ room to match the season) become meaningful.
How to Purchase an Artwork in a Proper Manner
Our store has specialized in calligraphic works and paintings for over 100 years. We have had the pleasure of doing business with numerous customers both from Japan and overseas. We have had customers who were completely satisfied with our service and others who were not.
What is the difference between them?
Why are some customers satisfied and others not?
Based on our experience, most customers who return their purchased artwork return their purchase because they were not sure of what they wanted. Every customer has his or her own individual preferences and purpose of purchase. Our years of experience and knowledge have taught us that there are 4 key factors that determine purchase satisfaction
They are the following:
- Purchase by feeling, not the price tag.
- Choose a genuine artwork.
- Be well informed before making a purchase.
- Find a trustful and helpful store.
1. Purchase by Feeling, Not the Price
Kakejiku scrolls vary depending on design, shape, and size. In fact, the sheer amount of different scrolls that are available can be overwhelming. If any customer were to ask us what is the most important thing to consider when looking for the right kakejiku scroll, our answer would be to follow feelings. No matter how popular the artist of the artwork, no matter the price tag, no matter if a professional suggests you to make a purchase, if you do not have the feeling of want when you examine the artwork, you will not be satisfied in the end. Make sure to purchase a scroll that you want.
2. Choose a Genuine Work
Not all artwork is genuine. There are many counterfeits spread around the realm of antique artworks. The price tag of artwork varies greatly, especially if it was by a famous artist. While there are some customers who do not particularly mind hanging a counterfeit scroll next to their bonsai tree, we strongly recommend against it. A genuine kakejiku scroll drawn by a historically acclaimed artist cannot be matched. In a movie or a TV show, the main actress/actor’s performance is only as good as the performances of the supporting cast. The same can be said about bonsai trees and kakejiku scrolls. A genuine kakejiku scroll (supporting cast) drawn by an expert artist will truly enhance your bonsai tree (main actor/actress). While there are many counterfeits out there, do not let it discourage you from purchasing a genuine piece of art. There are just as many authentic works of art available.
3. Be Well Informed Before Making a Purchase
You cannot appreciate a kakejiku scroll enough if you do not understand it. If you do not appreciate it, you cannot enjoy it. And if you cannot enjoy it, you will not be satisfied with your purchase. Here are 3 things that you should know before making a purchase.
- Have some basic knowledge on the artist.
- Understand the subject of the artwork.
- What message is the artist or artwork trying express?
Please make sure that you understand the 3 points above clearly before making a purchase. However, it should be noted that there is no need to understand the message or content perfectly. There is pleasure and excitement in finding out by oneself. We consider self-studying as an important and vital behavior.
4. Find a Trustful and Helpful Store
Previously, we mentioned that one should purchase a genuine work of art and that one should also possess basic knowledge before making a purchase. This is possible only if you shop at a trustworthy and helpful store. Such a store will help you distinguish genuine works of art apart from counterfeits. Unfortunately, not all stores are honest. Some stores will sell counterfeits by falsely labeling them as genuine. Finding a trustworthy and helpful store is very important.
Here are 2 things to consider when determining whether a store is trustworthy or not.
・How well does the store understand the artwork?
Any decent store should be able to answer any questions that you may have in regard to the artworks in their collection. They should be able to identify the artist, the subject, and content. Furthermore, they should be able provide proof of authenticity or at least explain the process that they undertake when determining authenticity.
・Does the store answer your questions in a respectful manner?
You may have further questions other than just about the artwork. How are the artworks brought in? How is the price determined? Any trustworthy store should be able to answer such questions. Check their store policies and if they understand them. Furthermore, does the store answer your questions in a respectful? Purchasing a kakejiku scroll is an overwhelming process and the store should be willing to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. This not only shows the store to be trustworthy, but also just how much a store values their own customers.
There are 4 key factors that determine purchase satisfaction.
They are the following:
- Purchase by feeling, not the price tag.
- Choose a genuine artwork.
- Be well informed before making a purchase.
- Find a trustful and helpful store.
Do not worry if you are a bit confused after reading the 4 points. There are stores that are highly trusted and professional.
Such stores are known as “Specialty Stores”
A specialty store or a store that specializes in paintings and calligraphic works solely sells paintings and calligraphic works of art. They are more knowledgeable than your regular antique store and possess a bigger collection of works. A bigger collection and more knowledge on the subject matter means that specialty stores are your best and safest option for finding the right scroll for you. The amount of knowledge and documents a store owns is crucial in providing authentic artworks to customers. The artworks available at specialty stores are truly genuine and in most cases, can offer some sort of proof. As a customer, by going to a specialty store, you save the time and trouble of doing research on your own. Furthermore, specialty stores are willing to share their knowledge with their customers. Specialty stores provide the 4 factors necessary for purchase satisfaction. At a specialty store, you will be make well informed purchas.
Finding a trustful store is impossible without visiting a number of different stores and having conversations with the storeowners. While some may find this part exciting, some do not. Either way, it is a tedious and time consuming, especially if you do not know what you are looking for. If you want to save time, you may want to visit a specialty store that specializes in calligraphic works and paintings from the very start. Either way once you find a store that you can trust, you will be satisfied with your purchase.
@ Directly Import From a Specialty Store of
Paintings & Calligraphic Works Located in Japan
You may want to directly importing from a specialty store of paintings and calligraphic works located in Japan if you are one of the following:
- A person who wants to purchase a kakejiku scroll but cannot afford to visit Japan for whatever reason.
- A person who would like to purchase a kakejiku scroll directly from Japan.
- A person who wishes to purchase an authentic piece of art from a trusted store that specializes in calligraphic works and paintings.
If you are one of the people mentioned above, we have good news!
There are websites that directly import kakejiku scrolls from Japan! This is a relatively new option. There are a wide variety of kakejiku scrolls and finding the right one for your bonsai tree is no easy task. Stores that kakejiku scrolls specifically for bonsai trees have previously never existed. We assume many overseas customers who have visited Japan in search of the right kakejiku scroll may have been disappointed as a result. Our long established specialty store has launched an online shop in order to meet the demands of our foreign customers. We are the first to do so in Japan.
At our website:
- All listed artworks can be directly imported from Japan.
- All listed artworks are kakejiku scrolls specifically for bonsai trees.
- All listed artworks are carefully selected by use: the oldest store that specializes in kakejiku scrolls. Our business in Kyoto is well over 100 years old.
- All listed artworks are fully explained: the content, meaning, and history.
@About Yamazoe Tenkodo
License Number: Kyoto Public Safety Commission No. 12151
The Kyoto Public Safety Commission officially licenses our store to sell antique goods as an antique art dealer.
The sign says “Paintings & Calligraphic Works Displayed Store Kakejiya”.
It has been used since our store’s establishment.
The current shop owner is Haruki Yamazoe: the store’s third owner. His sons, Ryo and Taku, are working at the store are the 4th generation of Yamazoe.
Our collection mainly focuses on the artworks of the Edo period. We also sell kakejiku scrolls and folding screens produced between the Muromachi period and the Showa period (15th-20th century). Our collection of paintings includes ones from the Maruyama-Shijo school, the Kano school, Rinpa school, Unkoku school, the Mochizuki school, Hasegawa school, Nanga (Bunjinga), and Zen. Our calligraphic works include works of Confucianism, Zen monks, famous calligraphers, and historically famous politicians and people. While our collection of calligraphic works is diverse, we particularly cover the works of Nanga or otherwise known as Bunjinga.
Our customers come from a wide range of backgrounds.
- Customers collecting paintings and calligraphic works.
- Researchers from Japanese universities who are studying Japanese art.
- Researchers from overseas universities who are studying Japanese art.
- Japanese museum curators
- Museum curators from overseas.
- Kyoto National Museum
- Osaka Museum of History
- Kansai University
- Tokyo University of the Arts
- British Museum
- Indianapolis Museum of Art
- Worcester Art Museum
- Yale University
Our customers are not only Japanese.
Many of our customers come from all over the world.
* We have a real store.
Yamazoe Tenkodo has a real store in Kyoto since our establishment.
Many businesses recently only have an online store.
* Yamazoe Tenkodo is a member of Art Dealer Cooperative Association.
We are a member of the Art Dealer Cooperative Association or more commonly known as the “Art Club”. The qualifications for membership are extensive and to join one must be recommended by a current member. We belong to the Art Dealer Cooperative Association located in Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. Furthermore, we belong to the Ohto Antique Art Association, the Kyoto Antiquarian Book Association, the Tokyo Antiquarian Book Association, and the Osaka Antiquarian Book Association.