Alabama Bonsai Society History: Toshio Saburomaru

While photographing our club’s old records to digitize them, this series of photographs was tucked in behind a foemina forest record. This workshop was from 1984, for the Alabama Bonsai Society, at the BBG. Enjoy!








I remember this forest from when it was on display in the BBG pavilion, and have seen members working on it as recently as 5 years ago.

Al Kepler is a bonsai artist and historian of California bonsai. Al has written about “Tosh” in the past:

Tosh passed away 20 years ago this week. His obituary follows:

April 19, 1996:
Toshio T. Saburomaru, one of the nation’s greatest bonsai masters, died Tuesday in Menlo Park after a long illness. He was 77.
Mr. Saburomaru began teaching bonsai to small groups in the 1950s and helped make the art of miniature trees a vastly popular garden hobby throughout the country.
Mr. Saburomaru, or “Tosh” as he was called, was born in Hollister and raised in California and Japan. After serving in the army in World War II, he moved to Palo Alto. In the late 1950s, he opened the Tosh Bonsai Nursery in Palo Alto. Mr. Saburomaru maintained bonsai nurseries in the mid-Peninsula area for 40 years.
After studying with bonsai master Yuji Yoshimura, he organized the Kusamura Bonsai Club of Palo Alto, which generated several other clubs on the Peninsula. Mr. Saburomaru went on to help organize the Golden State Bonsai Federation, and he later helped found bonsai clubs all over the world.
As a teacher, Mr. Saburomaru lead teaching tours to South America and Japan, where he exposed students to the latest in bonsai art.
“His first goal was that you enjoyed it, even if your bonsai wasn’t perfect,” his son Robert recalled.
Mr. Saburomaru and his work was featured in Sunset Books, Sunset Magazine, Bonsai Magazine and in videos on Japanese gardens and bonsai.
He also was known for the many beautiful Japanese gardens he designed and installed at private homes around the Bay Area.
Mr. Saburomaru is survived by his wife of 49 years, Mitsuye of Mountain View; sons Robert of East Palo Alto, and James of Sunnyvale; daughters Jan Euley of San Jose, and Carol Doser of Anchorage, Alaska; three grandchildren; brother Haruyuki of San Francisco, and a sister, Yoshiye Hirabayashi of Hiroshima. (Source: )
Here is the composition in 2012, at least, I think this is it. If so, it’s obviously, 2 trunks fewer, and rearranged…but not well…



3 thoughts on “Alabama Bonsai Society History: Toshio Saburomaru

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s