Sadafumi (Sada) Uchiyama is Curator Emeritus of Portland Japanese Garden. Before his retirement, Uchiyama served as Chief Curator from 2021 to 2023. Uchiyama had served as Garden Curator of Portland Japanese Garden from 2008 to 2021, during which time he helped to create and integrate the Cultural Crossing Expansion Project. Uchiyama also served as a member on the Garden’s Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2007. He was also Director of Japan Institute’s International Japanese Garden Training Center.
A fourth-generation Japanese gardener from southern Japan, Uchiyama is devoted to fostering relations between Japanese gardens in Japan and those outside of Japan. He has been involved in the development of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) and serves as a Charter Member of its board and programming board.
In 2022, Uchiyama was awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation from Foreign Ministry of Japan, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Japanese government, given to those with outstanding achievements in international fields. In 2022 he was also honored by the Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, which hailed him as “an internationally recognized master artisan of the practice of landscape architecture.”
Uchiyama has taught landscape design courses and lectured on Japanese gardening at colleges and public gardens throughout the United States and Japan. His writings have been featured in Garden Design, Fine Gardening, Inspired House, Luxe Magazine, as well as professional journals in Japan.
He is a registered landscape architect with a BLA and MLA from the University of Illinois. His representative projects include renovations of the Osaka Garden; the site of the 1893 Great Columbian Exposition at Jackson Park in Chicago (from 2000 until present); and the Shofu-en of the Denver Botanic Gardens (2001 – 2012). Most recently, he completed the Shoun-Kei Japanese garden at Sarah Duke Gardens at Duke University (2015). At Portland Japanese Garden, Uchiyama worked closely with Kengo Kuma to create and integrate new garden spaces into the Cultural Crossing expansion. The two have continued to work together, collaborating on the new Rolex Headquarters in Dallas, Texas and other projects in the US.