Matt Reel in Japan!

The young, excellent and very tall Matt Reel has been apprenticing in Japan under Shinji Suzuki since 2006, and he might be there a while yet. Matt is from Portland, Oregon, and those of you here who know him have been asking me how he’s been doing… and there’s no better way than to SHOW you—

Matt was featured in the November 2010 issue of Kinbon, and as few of us get this magazine, I’ve copied a few pages so that you all can ‘read’ it… or at least view the photos of him creating a very nice juniper. Matt left Portland a tall quiet young man of 18 and is if anything taller yet, bolder, and his work is as thoughtful as he is, as this article shows. His refinement is very skilled, and the last photo is of Matt standing behind the black pine he was asked to work on for the Kokufu show, before he began to work on it…

For those who have not heard yet, Matt is planning on returning to Portland, Oregon to be a part of our growing band of brothers which includes the remarkable Ryan Neil, slightly shorter than Matt, to form our ‘Portland Bonsai Village’—Inspired by the century long tradition of professionals supporting one another in Omiya Bonsai Village, Japan.

Bravo, Matt! We look forward to your return!


Matt is on top; Mr. Suzuki, our bold and supportive teacher, is featured on the bottom of the page.


Matt is crouching here... but it is a darn big black pine.

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  1. Al Polito says:


    It’s interesting to note how the yamadori junipers being shown in Japan seem to have greater amounts of fine jin and shari on them, wispier and more dramatic than the ones shown in many of the bonsai books published during the last few decades. Is that a valid observation or is it more a matter of bias on the part of publishers?

    Also it would be great to do a blog or series of blogs highlighting the “Omiya-ness” of Portland: I can think of at least six nurseries/suppliers within a two-hour radius specializing in bonsai, three sources for collected material or yamadori, as well as clubs and instructors based in the area.

  2. Sam Ogranaja says:

    This is ridiculous, now I have to move to Portland. 🙂

    I am however very inspired by you guys banding together to change the future of bonsai in America. I for one cannot wait to come visit, and if we do move in the future, Portland is in the top 3.

    Have a great week Mike,

  3. Scott Tice says:

    Bravo indeed!

  4. dave bockman says:

    Wow, what an inspirational story and set of photos– the bark on that Black Pine is just staggering.

  5. Dale Brock says:

    Was Matt or Mr Suzuki effected by the earthquake? Have you heard from them?

  1. […] Matt Reel. Another American apprentice in Japan. From Kinbon magazine via Michael Hagedorn’s Crataegus Bonsai. […]

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