Levels of shohin growing
The way shohin-bonsai is grown in Japan may differ some from the western way. There are two ways of starting material in Japan. Some amateurs like to grow cuttings and make material from seeds. This lower level material is then after some development sold to bonsai nurseries who brings it up to the next levels. Th high quality nurseries who makes the final bonsai ready for exhibition e.g. buys from these amateurs or nurseries who specializes to be at a level between the low end material and the final high quality bonsai.
In Angyo in the Kawaguchi area (between Omiya and Tokyo), there are a variety of nurseries. Some with low end material needing developing, and some with very high quality bonsai. The high quality nurseries buys much of their material from these nurseries, and bring it to the final stages.
Akimoto-san is a friendly man who runs his nursery in Angyo area, where totally 19 nurseries are located. Here both medium-developed good quality stocks are available, as well as many seedlings and cuttings are grown. Prizes are much lower here, compared to the more well known nurseries in Omiya e.g.
Akimoto grows all kinds of material at the packed space. The heat demands watering several times a day in midd summer at the time we visited. Sitting in the meeting room we even experienced an earthquake, but when it stopped the conversation took over as nothing has happened. A great experince to see how shohin-bonsai is raised from scratch.