Discover all the prestigious guests who will be present at this new edition of Crespi Cup, not only bonsai professionals, but also writers, musicians and designers.


Born in 1979, Minoru Akiyama is a 2nd generation bonsaist and carries out his profession in his hometown of Nirasaki, Yamanashi prefecture. After graduating from Yamanashi Prefectural Nirasaki High School, he completed 6 years of training at Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en, of which he became his direct disciple. At the age of only 29, in 2008, on the occasion of the 34th Sakufu-ten, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award, making him the youngest artist awarded with the highest award in the world of bonsai ever. In the same year he won the Satsuki Exhibition Grand Prize, during the 20th Satsuki Exhibition, a competition open to professionals sponsored by the Japan Satsuki Association. Subsequently he exhibited at various editions of the Sakufu-ten and the Satsuki Exhibition, where he was awarded in various categories, as Akiyama is a multifaceted artist capable of working both on conifers and broad-leaved trees, but also on Satsuki and shohin bonsai, a characteristic which has allowed him, over the years, to produce a large number of unique pieces. Akiyama’s work is not limited only to Japan: he has often been a guest in Europe as well as in the United States for demonstrations and workshops, always with the aim of spreading his knowledge and his great passion for bonsai.

Bonsai artist


He has been teaching bonsai art in Italy at the Crespi Bonsai University since its establishment in 1992 and he takes care of the development of the Crespi Bonsai Museum masterpieces. He regularly gives lectures and courses in various European and non-European countries, where he also takes care of important bonsai collections. His sensible approach to bonsai trees is the result of the long experience gained in different geographic conditions and of his great respect for nature.


Bonsai Master, teacher of University of Bonsai and curator of Crespi Bonsai Museum


Massimo Bandera has dedicated passion and professionalism to the art of bonsai since 1978. He trained technically and artistically by studying in Italy and Japan through thirty years of contact with master Masahiko Kimura. Member of the Italian Botanical Society, in 1999 he was allowed to visit the bonsai collection of the Emperor of Japan. In 2000 he founded his avant-garde school “Fuji Kyookai Bonsai”, at the Fuji Sato Company, opening the Spanish section at the Bonsai Museum in Marbella in 2002, in Mallorca in 2010 and in Malaga in 2018 at the Botanical Garden of the University. In the field of bonsai, he won numerous awards in Italy, Spain, Japan and the United States. He is a life member, instructor, ambassador and director of the BCI, Instructor of the IBS, UBI member and instructor. He exhibited in 2007 at Palazzo Bricherasio in Turin and at the Fujiyohaku Congress exhibition in Nole (Turin) in Marbella with the participation of Masahiko Kimura. He is the author of various books. Since the 1980s he has written for the main national an international magazines in the sector. In 2010 in San Marino at the XIV UBI National Congress he was the first Italian representative to receive a state prize, the Bonsai Prize from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities of the Italian Republic. In 2015 he received the title of Knight of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and in 2019 the title of Commander of the same order.


Bonsai expert and writer


Chief Designer, Igor Carino has worked in the most important design companies in the world such as Bertone Design, Richard Ginori and at the Italdesign-Giugiaro Group in Turin.
He attended the Bonsai Art School with the masters Hideo Suzuki and Keizo Ando and for 20 years now he dedicates himself with passion to bonsai and suiseki. He is a member of: Nippon Suiseki Association since 2014, UBI, Sakka Kyookai Europe, BCI and ESA.
It creates pots for bonsai and ceramics for the table not only with traditional techniques, but also with innovative 3D ceramic printing. His approach is to innovate the world of bonsai ceramics, while respecting the tradition and culture of this ancient art. He has received several international awards and prizes, including the gold medal at the 17th International Vase Competition at the 47th Gafu-ten – Japan.
He recently took over the Volonterio publishing house, one of the oldest in Europe that publishes books dedicated to bonsai and Japanese art.

Designer, bonsaista


Rafal Kilmczewski first encountered bonsai as a child, when he had the opportunity to see the movie “The Karate Kid”. Fascinated by the world of miniature trees, he moved to Japan in 2017 to study with master Kunio Kobayashi, becoming his assistant and starting to follow the work on the specimens of the “Shunkaen Bonsai Museum”, a museum that collects the master’s spectacular collection. Approaching bonsai for Rafal was not easy, because in Poland at the time few knew this art.
Kilmczewski reached a turning point at the age of 37, when he learned that a bonsai seminar was being held by master Kobayashi in Lithuania: he jumped on a plane and joined the master, becoming his assistant sometime later.



Born in Padua in Italy’s Northeast in 1960, he began his career as a musician and has an intense school activity at international level. His fascinating with bonsai began in 1985 and he developed his knowledge further be attending numerous workshops with leading international masters, including: Hotsumi Terakawa, John Yoshio Naka, Susumu Nakamura, Susumu Sudō, Tomio Yamada, Kenichi Abe, Imai Chiaharu, Kunio Kobayashi, Isao Fukita and Arishige Matsuura for suiseki. In 1987 he is one of the founders of the “Euganea Bonsai Association”. He is a founder and the president’s number two of the “Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai” in Europe. He holds courses and workshops in Italy, and abroad.
He is the author of the book Kazari – The art of displaying bonsai and suiseki (English text) edited by Crespi Editori.

Bonsai expert and writer


He refined its ability to observe with the use of photography, capturing in the frame of view the artistic aspect of the subject. Over time, the development of visual skills has fostered interest in martial arts, disciplines he has devoted for many years, approaching definitively the Oriental culture. He started to take interest in bonsai in 1988, experimenting with nursery’s materials at first and then following courses, seminaries and workshops with Kimura and Terakawa. He is I.B.S’ teacher since ’98; he regularly hold demonstrations and bonsai courses in many Italian cities. In 2009 he became a member of the Crespi Bonsai staff.

Bonsai expert


Born in Kobe (Japan), after commercial studies, she works for the Shiina Company, dealing with cloth decoration with the “yuzen of Kyoto” technique, which she refined under the guidance of master Shimizu Mitumi. Selected by the Japanese Handicraft Association of the New Artist in the `88, she attains a long series of awards. In 2002 she moved to Italy to present the old yuzen method through her art. She is a yuzen technique teacher at the Prato Cloth Museum. She has performed kimono exhibitions in several Italian places. She is also shodō – calligraphy – expert.

Yuzen and Shodō artist


She teaches Japanese at the University of Studies Bicocca of Milan and Japanese language and culture at the High School of Linguistic Mediator of Varese. She collaborates with some foundations and cultural centers. She is president of the Italia-Asian Center and member of Aistugia. Curator and writer, she published for Zanichelli: Dictionary Italian-Japanese, Grammar practice of Japanese; Japanese writing; Mini Japanese dictionary.
She is the official translator of Crespi Bonsai.

President of Centre of Culture Italia-Asia


Eclectic Japanese artist, Yoko Takada graduated in music from the University of Hiroshima where she holds a post-graduate master’s degree. She has been resident in Italy for several years now. In addition to music and singing, she is a master of Odori dance, the traditional Japanese dance. She is expert of tea ceremony, an art she learned by attending the Urasenke school from the age of 15. She has also specialized in many of the traditional Japanese artistic disciplines, as Shuji – the calligraphy – art in which she earned her 5° dan, ikebana, origami and cookery.

Singer, ceremony of tea, ikebana e Japanese dance expert


Born in Kochi (Japan) in ’57, she graduated in music at the “Aichi Prefectual University of Fine Arts”. She has been living in Italy since 1984 and currently she is active in the culinary field and expert in Japanese handicraft confectionery.

Expert of Japanese pastry


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