JARS v44n2 - In Memoriam: Kaname Kato

In Memoriam: Kaname Kato
John L. Creech
Hendersonville, North Carolina

In late November, 1989, Mr. Kaname Kato died in Japan after a long illness. Americans may know him only as the translator of the book, A Brocade Pillow , from the 1692 writing, Kinshū Makura . But Mr. Kato was one of the most sensitive horticulturists in Japan, a modest person, and one thoroughly versed in the horticultural literature of old Japan.

He was my first horticultural contact in Japan in 1955 and patiently took me through the pathways of traditional Japanese horticulture. This close association lasted throughout his long career in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Japan Greenhouse Association. It was Mr. Kato to whom I first made the approach in Japan that culminated in the Bicentennial Bonsai Collection at the National Arboretum.

Mr. Kato wrote several books on horticulture in Japanese. In addition to Kinshū Makura , he annotated a modern edition of the 1695 woodblock book, Kadan Chikin Shō . It is unlikely that there will be an English translation of this or many other fine Japanese horticultural books of the pre-Meiji era because few contemporary Japanese horticulturists have the understanding of early Japanese characters that Kaname Kato did.