Bonsai balance and direction

Bonsai movement and direction is very important to understand, when displaying bonsai.

All the Shohin shown at the below example are well placed. The movement is not only to look at the canopy and its volume/direction. The slanting trunk, counterbalancing/anchoring roots, counterbalancing branches and most important, the leading main branch are all essential.
If the tree is not styled with this in mind, of course some diffusion and difficulty in reading the balance and movement of the bonsai may happen. In some cases it might even be plausible to see tow direction in the same tree. Some times the case with very formal trees with no clear leading branch.

Below examples of how to read the movement and direction of a bonsai.

The leading branch is at the left side, and the right side have the counter balancing branches. This is because the trunk leans towards the left, and the root at the right further underlines this movement. You might find others who find opposite direction views, which make this also being a personal choice.
A classic shohin display, Toko-kazari showing how the movement and balance in each tree is read. The assisting tree far right has no clear counterbalancing branches, therefore not indicated. The movement is very clear though.


The top tree and secondary tree always points towards each other (1 and 2). At the top level of the rack tree (3 and 4) always points towards each other. The lower level. left the tree (5) always point inwards and the tree at right (6) most often point towards the left tree, but it is also possible to let it point towards the binary tree still keeping a peaceful and harmonic display.