Our interest in suiseki really peaked on having conversations with Mas and Janet and participating with them on a trip to the Eel River in 2008. We began to collect stones in the wonderful rivers of Northern California and we began to purchase suiseki from Japan.
I began to stress though on how in the world would I ever find time to create diazas for the stones we found much less gain the skills to create them. Well as usual, we began the search to see if we could find someone to create them for us. We purchased a stone from Japan and upon turning it over I found that this suiseki’s diaza was signed. This was something that was new to us as we had never seen a signature on a diaza.
I contacted Yoshi and he was kind enough to research for me and to determine it was made by Koju Suzuki in Japan. Little did we know at the time but we had stumbled upon one of the best diaza makers in Japan if not the world. I emailed Yoshi and ask him if the thought Mr. Suzuki might make a few diazas for us. Yoshi didn’t know him but he rang him up and they had quite a long conversation. Mr. Suzuki said he would, so off went numerous stones to be delivered to him and within three weeks we had them back. To say we were pleased with his work would be an understatement.
There is a short bio on Koji Suzuki in the book Suiseki-II An Art Created by Nature: The Sen-En-Kyo Collection of Japanese Viewing Stones published by BeeBooks in 2008. This book is an excellent book on suiseki and is priced at 18,000 Yen. If you would like a copy contact me and I can tell you how to obtain it from Japan. There is also a prior book in this series published in 2004. I will do a post on both at a later date.
“Suzuki Koji – he is a craftsman of bases born in 1939 in Hammamatsu City, Shizuoka. His pen name is “Koju.” After graduating Shizuoka University, he was teaching for a while. He became ill and when he was recuperating, he came across suiseki and started to make bases. He learned under the craftsmen working at the quarry sites of the Furuya stone in Wakayama and the Fujieda stone in Shizuoka, and became an oustanding craftsman today. He is a Director of the Japan Suiseki Association.”
Yoshi hand delivered our stones to Mr. Suzuki and spent quite a few hours talking to him about his craft.
The above photo is Mr. Suzuki studying the photographs of our stones we shipped to him. He intently studied the stones and this was apparent when they returned to us and we saw his craftsmanship and artistry in making the diazas.
All of the diazas made for us were made from Rosewood. We frankly love this wood both for its color and grain. The floors in our home are rosewood so it is easy to determine that we were pleased with his selection of wood for our diazas.
The following photos are diazas made by Mr. Suzuki.
We purchased this stone from Mr. Suzuki and it comes from a very well known suiseki collector from Kyoto. When it first arrived, I commented to KJ that I had never seen a red waterfall. She laughed and said don’t you think it is a lava flow? Duh! It is a beautiful stone and the diaza fits it well.
Well KJ and I would love to hear what you think about Mr. Suzuki’s work. We love his craftsmenship and his artistic eye and how he makes the stone and diaza meld together. Our eye is never taken away from the stone and this in our opinion is so very important in any base.
Let us know what you think!