Meet Ryan Neil, American Bonsai Shokunin

Chris Higgins
iStock // tonisvisuals
iStock // tonisvisuals / iStock // tonisvisuals

In Japanese, the word shokunin literally translates "craftsman" or "artisan," but its meaning goes deeper. In Japanese culture, the term implies a deep commitment to mastery and excellence. A true shokunin is often on a lifelong mission.

Ryan Neil is an American shokunin, devoted to the art of bonsai. He has worked in the field for nearly 20 years, including six years as an apprentice in Japan. He manipulates trees, ripping and twisting them, to make living art forms.

In this short film, we meet Neil and learn a little about his bonsai practice. Enjoy: