Tag Archive for 'history'

Camellia News – the journal of Camellias Australia

“Camellia News”, the journal of Camellias Australia, had recently published some of my materials about Camellia sasanqua.

Some information about Camellias Australia from their website http://www.camellia.org.au

Camellias Australia Inc. (formerly the Australian Camellia Research Society Inc.) is made up of a confederation of Australian affiliated camellia organisations. All states except Queensland, The Australian Capital and Northern Territories have affiliated camellia bodies. C.A. has an Executive consisting of a National President, Secretary and Treasurer. C.A. does not control any of the affiliate bodies but acts as a umbrella organisation re matters of National Interest, and liaison. C.A. conducts an Annual General Meeting of affiliates which is hosted on a national rotation system. Usually, a National Camellia Show is held in conjunction with the A.G.M.

The website contains many articles on various camellia subjects. Two articles that especially caught my attention:

* The History of Camellias in Australia, written by Ken Tate and presented at the National Camellia congress in 2006

* Optimismisation – a discussion paper presented at the 2010 Australian National Camellia Congress, in Hobart, Tasmania by Andrew Raper – Past President of Camellias Victoria and specialist camellia nurseryman. Due to import restricts on new cultivars coming into Australia, Andrew’s inventive title really means ‘Propagate or Perish’


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Found an interesting article about a Japanese-American nurseryman Toichi Domoto

Toichi Domoto

A Japanese-American nurseryman’s life in California: floriculture and family, 1883-1992

With Introductions by Julius Nuccio and Ernest Wertheim
Interviews Conducted by Suzanne B. Riess in 1992

The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley

http://tinyurl.com/4ohuw6
Copy at http://sazanka.org/pages/toichi_domoto

This sasanqua cultivar, ‘Dwarf Shishi’, was originated by Toichi Domoto in 1988:

It is excellent for bonsai.

Also I found a very likely photo pictures of Toichi Domoto (need to check with Tom Nuccio) on http://tinyurl.com/4795g8. I am almost sure this is the same one (born 1902, high school in East Bay):

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A book from the Japanese Camellia Society ‘The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas’


'The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas'. The Japanese Camellia Society.

“The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas” ( 日本ツバキ・サザンカ名鑑 , Nippon Tsubaki ・ Sasanqua Meikan) is another “must have” book for any serious sasanqua lover. This book was published in 1999 by the Japanese Camellia Society ( 日本ツバキ協会編 , Nippon Tsubaki Kyoukai Hen) and Seibundo Shinkosha Co. Ltd. ( 誠文堂 新光社 ). This book is a work of more than 50 people who collected high-quality photo pictures and information on more than 2200 japonica and 200 sasanqua cultivars.

The book consists of two volumes – a volume in Japanese with pictures and a volume with English translation, created under the supervision of Thomas J. Savige. Note that in the book “The Japanese Camellia Society” is referred as “The Japan Camellia Society”.

The book has a short preface (4 pages), telling the history of the Japanese Camellia Society and the history of the book publication.

The Japanese Camellia Society was formed after the WWII, shortly after the formation of the International Camellia Society in 1953. It was the time of worldwide surge of interest in camellia growing and hybridizing.

The first nomenclature publication “Japanese Camellias, a Collection of 1000 varieties” ( 日本の椿、千品種 , Nippon no tsubaki, Senhin-shu) was published in 1980, but it included only Camellia japonica ( 椿, tsubaki ) and had no infomation about sasanqua ( 山茶花 , sazanka).

After the International Camellia Society published a monumental International Camellia Register in 1993 with 22,000 cultivars, it became obvious that the Japanese nomenclature publication has to be updated. However, according to the Japanese Camellia Society, during the economic boom time, no Japanese publisher wanted to publish a camellia book, because of its low profitability – there were plenty of more profitable books around. So Japanese camellia lovers had to wait until the economy goes down!

After the preface, the book presents information about 2400 cultivars. Each cultivar’s information has a photo picture and a 100-Kanji description. Some cultivars have no photo pictures – they are described in the appendix. The description is brief and very informative – it describes the cultivar’s area of origin, color, shape, habit, name of the originator and first mention in the literature. I wish similar American publications (like Southern California Camellia Society) use the same style.

Finally, after more than 300 pages of cultivars, the book has a chapter about the camellia history (3 pages), an afterword (1 page), a translator’s note (1 page) and an index. I personally like this style because it is down to the point.

The chapter about camellia history is written by the President of the Japanese Camellia Society Dr. Kaoru Hagiya ( 薫屋薫 ). It contains an interesting thought about why Japanese people prefer single flowers while Westerners prefer double formal flowers: ”The fundamental difference is in that the Westerners treat flowers as kinds of decorations, while Japanese take flowers as the symbols of nature”.

The afterword is written by Shuho Kirino ( 桐野秋豊 ), a member of the editorial committee.

There is a translator’s note from Shigeo Matsumoto ( 松本重雄 ) who is asking forgiveness for his translation errors. I did find some ambiguities – for example, about the origin of ‘Shôwa-no-sakae’. However I personally like his style of translation because it has a feeling of the Japanese character. If the translator would be non-Japanese, the text would be less authentic.

Shigeo Matsumoto was using help from Thomas J. Savige from Australia who suggested to use Hepburn system in the translation according to the International Nomenclature Code. This is very important. Different books use different forms of English transliteration of Japanese names. For example ‘Shôwa-no-sakae’ is written as ‘Showa No Sakae’, or ‘Shishigashira’ is written as ‘Shishi Gashira’ or ‘Shishi Gashira’. It is important to understand that pronouncing “o” instead of “ô” may change the meaning of the word. However we are still using non-accented “o” on our www.sazanka.org web site because of English search engines. But the bottom line – “The Nomenclature of Japanese Camellias and Sasanquas” became for me the main reference for the proper name, pronunciation and the history of Japanese sasanqua cultivars.