Copyright © 2006 James Deacon
Masahai Asaeda, a retired urologist from Kyoto, informs me that
his grandfather - a Mr Tomohiro Fujikawa - had worked for Mikao
Usui as a gardener, some time between 1923 and 1925.
states that, as a leaving-gift, Usui-sensei had presented Mr Fujikawa
with some gardening implements including a ganzume (a type of
rake) - which, according to Mr Fujikawa, Usui-sensei had performed
a powerful reiju on in order to imbue it with special therapeutic
Asaeda's grandfather had often recounted how sensei had told him
that for as long as he continued used the ganzume on a
regular basis to tend his own garden, his ornamental plants
would always produce, beautiful, healthy, fragrant flowers, and
all edible produce from the garden would be unsurpassed for quality
Asaeda said that this had indeed proved to be the case - and while
his grandfather had certainly been a skilled gardener, skill alone
could not account for the results he achieved.
many years after Mr Fujikawa's passing, local people still used
to talk about his amazing garden…
At present, the prized ganzume and the other gardening
implements received by Mr Fujikawa are on loan to the Dai-Nippon
Garden Association as part of an exhibition being staged in Osaka.
However Mr Asaeda has kindly sent me a copy of the exhibition
pamphlet [see below] which - amongst the images accompanying a
brief article on leaf-, soil-, & sand-rakes - shows a photograph
of the actual ganzume owned by Mr Fujikawa.
clarity's sake, I have added an identification sticker to each
Fujikawa's ganzume is pictured centre, bottom row: identification-letter
I would like to take this opportunity to express my heart-felt
thanks to Mr Asaeda for sharing this information and photo with
I hope you
will all agree that this is finally the incontrovertible proof
we needed to support the claim that - ever since the early days
Rake E has regularly been used to help make plants grow
strong and healthy...
Aficionados of Japanese gardening equipment will of course
be only too well aware that 'Rake E' in the illustration
above is not actually a ganzume.
a ganzume is not even a wooden rake, but rather has
a narrow, and normally four-pronged, metal head.
at the time of doing the photo-shoot for the 'exhibition
pamphlet' mock-up, the only genuine ganzume my casting
agents could locate apparently considered itself too big
a star (due to having had a walk-on part in Tom Cruise's
'The Last Samurai' movie) to be associated with such a corny,
low budget spoof as this.
So instead, the part of 'Mr Fujikawa's prized ganzume'
is actually played by an eighteen-pronged wooden rake sourced
from a local theatrical supply company in Boston...]