(マン盆栽) are an... um...
pioneered by Paradise Yamamoto
to be confused with unconventional author Banana Yoshimoto
Yamamoto himself defines Mambonsai as:
Fishy art that only combines figures with regular bonsais of
a bad quality.
"Figures" here refers to miniature
s of people, of the kind popular with
with model railroad
enthusiasts. In other words, Yamamoto crafts
bonsai crawling with people
, creating tiny diorama
A few examples
(quotes taken from Yamamoto's own descriptions in wonderfully fractured
Until the End of the World
A gray VW Beetle parked under a bonsai keyaki tree,
couple standing outside, the man peering off into the distance
Lady Underneath the Keyaki Tree
A woman undressing under a tree. Quoth Yamamoto: "Although you think no one is watching,
Big Brother is watching you! So who is watching you? Of course, God
is watching. He he he he."
Mambocism Co-Op Ranch
Mossy green Zen garden with black and white Holstein cows.
Outdoor Amateur Nude Sketch Scenery
Naked women being painted (as in, paintbrushes applied to their bodies)
while a TV crew films.
"The good thing about Mambonsai is that nobody will tell you anything
about putting in long titles such as this."
Yes, Yamamoto is a middle-aged man who likes naked models, even if
they are pewter
and slightly over an inch tall. A picture would be
worth a thousand words, but alas, the existing websites on the subject
(see references) seem to be very low on the pictorial content.
Issues of nudity aside (what was the last time you saw a bonsai
exhibition featuring oral sex?), Yamamoto's Mambonsai have been a
cult hit in Japan, his work
has been showcased in Shibuya's department stores and displayed on TV.
He has to date published three photographic compilations of mambonsai,
and they seem to be selling well; one has recently been rereleased in
an affordable softcover version. No surprise, really, because as the
highly scientific diagrams at the end of his books clearly demonstrate,
Mambonsai are hip, light, sexy, moist and portable while
traditional bonsai are snobbish, heavy, unsexy, dry and
Despite his books being bilingual,
with text in both Japanese and English, they don't seem to have
garnered much attention overseas; I suspect it is only a matter of time,
especially given the last Secret Commandment of Mambonsai:
- Thou shalt show them especially to your foreign friends, and
spread Mambonsai around the world.
And if you're still wondering why they're called Mambonsai
another commandment might help:
- Thou shalt make them listen to mambo every day.
The Mambonsai / ザ・マン盆栽, Geibunsha/芸文社 1999
http://plaza5.mbn.or.jp/~nisse/ (Paradise Yamamoto's home page)