Shakkan style, or slanting Bonsai is quite difficult to achieve as there needs to be perfect balance and design between the angle of the slanting trunk and the branch placement. But get it right and the overall effect can be very dramatic, giving a sense of movement and strength in the trunk.
As the name suggests, the trunk slants dramatically to the left or right. The branch arrangement is quite similar to that of informal Bonsai style in that they need to be equally spaced along the trunk, with the thickest and broadest at the base, gradually shortening and thinning as they near the apex. The apex should be well off centre, most likely positioned beyond the sides of the Bonsai pot.
In order to balance the tree’s composition and design – ensuring that it does not take-on a windswept (Fukinagashi) style – the lowest branch should exit the trunk on the outside of the lean. Also, there needs to be symmetry between the branches too – an equal amount either side of the lean in order to balance the composition.
Ideal species for Shakan Style Bonsai
The list of plants suitable for creating Shakan style Bonsai is almost endless. Coniferous or deciduous trees can be used – even fruiting trees too. Among the most favoured are the following:
- Japanese White Pine (Pinus)
- Crab Apple (Malus )
- Trident Maple (Acer)
- Japanese Maple (Acer)
- Juniper (Juniperus)
- Ponderosa Pine (Pinus)
- Beech (Fagus)
- Pomegranate (Punica)
- Black Pine (Pinus)