Aiso Wakamatsu

Aiso Wakamatsu is a man shrouded in mystery. His artist name is derived from where he lived in Shimogyoku, Kyoto, near Wakamatsu elementary. His real name and birthday are unknown. Primarily his occupation was the making of Kyoto style folding fans. His bonsai pot work is thought to have started in the early Showa era. He specialized in making mame (small) bonsai pots and sometimes made larger ones. The pots themselves were often block carved and woodfired in the climbing kiln. The building technique he used gives many of his pots a very characteristic blocky shape. His glaze work was extremely variable from monochromatic to mixed color schemes. His talent enabled him to make many masterpiece bonsai pots.

Aiso Wakamatu had a close and important relationship with Kawai Tsutazo the owner of Koso-en a bonsai nursery in Kyoto. Kawai Tsutazo built a kiln around 1938 near the Higashi Hongwanji temple in Kyoto. Kawai built this kiln as a center for research and development of small bonsai pots. Some artists that were a part of this group included: Aiso Wakamatsu, Bo Nabekura, Kenjiro Nagata, Renba Nagamoto, Suigan Nishiguichi, and Mansoen Miyazaki. Kawai Tsutazo orchestrated and directed this groups creative efforts. Kawai had molds built primarily by Bo Nabekura with specific shapes, designs and dimensions to helps speed up experimentation and progress of this group. This group produced some tremendous and unique bonsai pots and were given the chop mark of Heian Koso. Keep in mind, Aiso Wakamatsu had his own chop mark especially for his particularly well made commissioned pieces. 

Aiso Wakamatsu and Kawai Tsutazo often worked in unison. Wakamatsu had an obvious talent for making small bonsai pots and Kawai wisely would commission him to make pots for Koso-en. Kawai would then market and sell these pots as the middleman for Wakamatsu. This allowed Wakamatsu to focus on what he did best. Wakamtasu’s pots are still today beloved by enthusiasts and his reputation grows. He will forever be a monumental figure in the world of shohin/mame bonsai.

Time reference: Showa era (1926-1989).

Translation is Copyright by Paul Stephan 4/2/2021


Book of Count Matsudaira’s Collection

 盆栽鉢窯元・盆栽鉢作家・植木鉢作家・Bonsaipot:平安香艸盆栽鉢(八) – livedoor Blog(ブログ)



Dimensions:  4.7 cm wide and 3.4 cm tall

Chop mark often seen on his slightly larger pots (slightly larger pots are around 3.7″).

This chop mark is often seen on his smallest pots. 

The bonsai pots in the front are By Aiso Wakamatsu. This is part of Count Matsudaira’s collection. 

This pot has the marking/chop of Heian Koso. This is one of the pots created by Kawai Tsutazo’s group.