Photo by Jonathan Ley

The Center’s faculty are drawn from a mixed pool of hands-on practitioners, designers and academics. These include leading Japanese garden artisans descended from families who have gardened for centuries, as well as academics from top U.S. universities and practitioners of garden-related arts.

Permanent and Visiting Faculty

Tomoki Kato, Ph.D., Ueyakato Landscape Co., Ltd, Kyoto

Tomoki Kato is President of Ueyakato Landscape Co., Ltd. a garden company that has been creating and fostering gardens in Kyoto for 166 years. An eighth-generation member of a Japanese garden artisan family, he naturally absorbed the essence of the Japanese garden while watching craftsmen in Nanzen-ji Temple Garden, his favorite childhood playground. He joined the family business after graduating with a degree from the Faculty of Horticulture, Horticultural Economics and Technology of Chiba University. Since he started leading Ueyakato in 2003, it has grown to become one of Kyoto’s highly-recognized landscape companies. His team takes care of numerous gardens, including some of Japan’s national scenic spots, such as Nanzen-ji and Murin-an.

Mr. Kazuo Mitsuhashi, Chair of International Events, the Garden Society of Japan

Kazuo Mitsuhashi studied under Isao Yoshikawa, a prominent Japanese garden scholar and designer, student of Mirei Shigemori. He also took garden design mentorship with distinguished 20th-century Japanese garden leaders, Kenzo Ogata and Sentaro Iwaki. He specializes in the construction and maintenance of the Tea Garden and published a number of books on Japanese gardens. He is also a member of Taiami research. He has been a board member of the Garden Society of Japan for 16 years, during which he has been instrumental in organizing the First International Japanese Garden Symposium held in Portland in 1996 as well as seven subsequent international symposia.

Professor Emeritus Kimiko Gunji, Japan House, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Kimiko Gunji is an Associate Professor of Japanese Arts and Culture at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she created the programs of Japan House.  She is a full professor of the Ikenobo Ikebana School in Japan and holds the Chamei (tea name) Souki from the Urasenke Tea School and a teaching certificate of Japanese classical dance.  In 2004, she received a commendation in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the United States-Japan Relationship from Foreign Minister Junko Kawaguchi

Jan Waldmann, Wakai Tea Association, Urasenke

Jan Waldmann began studying Chado, the Way of Tea, in 1971, while living in Japan.

Over the years, she has studied in both Japan and America, receiving her teaching degree from Urasenke Foundation in Kyoto, Japan in 1989. She specializes in blending the traditional philosophy and movements of Chado with contemporary views of the ceremony itself.  She is currently a visiting instructor at Lewis & Clark College’s East Asian Studies Department.

Takeshi Kato, Ueyakato Landscape Co., Ltd, Kyoto

Takeshi Kato is a garden craftsman at Ueyakato Landscape Co., in Kyoto with 20 years of field experience. He is currently in charge of Tairyu Sanso Garden, a designated national beauty spot in Japan. He learned traditional restoration skills at major historic garden sites such as Katsura and Shugakuin Imperial Villas, and served as an intern at the Portland Japanese Garden in 2015.

Mitsuru Yamaguchi

KAs a “head of Sakutei,” he is involved with various modern Japanese garden projects. This includes Hoshinoya Tokyo, a well-known luxury hotel by Hoshino Resorts as well as other projects at Arashiyama-so. He has developed unprecedented technical processes and also attained the domain where craftsmanship can be maximized. At the Imperial Village Garden or Nara, he was in charge of the technical development of a conversation restoration project of the garden ruins of the 8th century. He approaches his work with an enthusiasm for discovery and a playful mind, always seeking to bring innovation to traditional skills.

Tomohiko Muto, Head Gardener, Keihanna Commemorative Park in Kyoto, Japan

Tomohiko Muto is a staff gardener at Ueyakato Landscape, where he plays a key role in quality control of Japanese garden management. With a high level of skill and experience in the traditional garden techniques applied in daily management, he is responsible not only for the maintenance of gardens, but also the stewardship of  landscapes ranging from natural forests to rural fields. His attention to detail allows him to respond with delicacy and care to changes in the landscape — resulting in healthy, thriving sites with enhanced scenic value.

He serves as a head gardener at the Keihanna Commemorative Park in Kyoto.

Desirae Wood, Project Manager/Assistant to the Garden Curator

Desirae Wood is a Project Manager and Landscape Architect in Training who works with the Portland Japanese Garden to facilitate garden improvements.  Desi knows how complicated projects can be dealing with the diverse input from gardeners, contractors, and city departments.  She believes that through a balanced study of Japanese cultural arts such as Chado and Ikebana, and a hands on approach of maintenance and construction, projects can be successfully held to the highest standard.  Desi has managed the construction of the recent garden expansion at the Portland Japanese Garden, co-designed and curated the new Chabana Research Garden with Garden Curator, Sadafumi Uchiyama,  and manages the new Bonsai Collection.  Currently she is pursuing further knowledge on the history and modern day application of Chabana, green infrastructure based on Japanese gardening aesthetics, and the habitat value of ecoroofs.  Trained as a Japanese gardener and master gardener, Desi also holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University.  She has presented at multiple international conferences including the upcoming 2017 Cities Alive Conference on the topic of habitat ecoroofs as a tool to partially restore the loss of urban biodiversity and habitat.

Sadafumi Uchiyama, Garden Curator, Portland Japanese Garden

Sadafumi Uchiyama, Garden Curator of the Portland Japanese Garden, is a third-generation Japanese gardener and landscape architect. His family has been involved in gardening since 1909 in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. His training started at a very early age, first under his grandfather, father, and uncles, and later with his elder brother. Since his arrival in the US in 1988, Uchiyama received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Traditional apprenticeship in Japanese gardening combined with the formal training in Western landscape architecture has allowed Uchiyama to design and build a unique and wide range of private and public landscape projects. Two of his representative projects include the renovation of Osaka Garden (the site of the Japanese Government at the 1893 Columbia Exposition) at Jackson Park in Chicago and the renovation of Shofu-en Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens. He was instrumental in the development and establishment of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) beginning in 2009 and has been a Charter Member of the NAJGA Board and its Editorial Board since July 2011. As evidence of his dedication to giving back to the community, Uchiyama has taught landscape design courses and lectured on Japanese gardening at colleges and public gardens in various parts of the country. He has published in the Journal of Japanese Gardening, Garden Design and Fine Gardening as well as locally in Oregon Home and Inspired House. 

Diane Durston, Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education, Portland Japanese Garden

Diane Durston is known internationally as the author of numerous books, essays and articles on the culture and people of Kyoto, where she lived for eighteen years. Her book Old Kyoto, first published in 1986, is now in a third edition and 17th printing. The New York Times has referred to it as a “Japan classic.” Her other books include Kyoto: Seven Paths to the Heart of the City, an introduction to seven historic districts in Kyoto. Her book Wabi Sabi was published in 2006. Durston has lectured widely in Japan, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. During her time in Kyoto, she studied Japanese art and language and went on to develop on-site cultural programs introducing Japanese art, culture, religion, history, and gardens for the University of Pennsylvania, the Whitney Museum, the Yale Galleries, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other museums and universities in the US. For over a decade, she served as Director of Asian Cultural Programs for The International Forum, for which she developed annual cultural seminars in both Kyoto and Shanghai. Since returning to the US in 1996, Durston has served as a consultant for a number of organizations, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where she produced two separate month-long performing arts festivals in conjunction with the openings of the special exhibitions “Edo: Art in Japan 1615–1868″ in 1998 and of “Golden Age of Archaeology in China” in 1999. From 2002–2006, Durston was Special Projects Director and later Curator of Education at the Portland Art Museum, before coming to the Portland Japanese Garden in 2007.

Kristin Faurest, Ph.D., Director, Japanese Garden Training Center

Kristin Faurest completed her landscape architecture studies at Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary. She also worked and studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, where she studied at the School of Horticulture and helped maintain the garden’s Japanese landscape.  While managing her own design firm for thirteen years — designing educational gardens, private urban gardens and corporate landscapes – she taught master’s of landscape architecture candidates at the University of Applied Sciences in Nurtingen-Geislingen, Germany. With extensive international teaching and research experience focusing on the connection between culture and landscape, Faurest has published widely in journals such as Topos: The International Review of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and is the author, co-author or editor of several books, including most recently Community-Built: Art, Construction, Preservation and Place (Routledge, 2017). Dr. Faurest joined the Portland Japanese Garden in 2016.

Advisory Council

The Center was shaped and continues to grow with the guidance and support of an advisory council of academics, designers, arts administrators and other professionals.

Alexandre Soro Avdoulov, Master Tea Teacher, Professor of Japanese, St. Mary’s University, Nova Scotia

Janet Bennett, Director, Intercultural Communication Institute, Portland

Kendall Brown, Professor of Asian Art History, California State University, Long Beach

Eijiro Fujii, Professor, Laboratory of Planting Design, Graduate School of Horticulture, Chiba University

Hiroshi Furusawa, former Consul General of Japan, Consular Office of Japan in Portland

Peter Grilli, Senior Advisor and former President of the Japan Society of Boston

Kimiko Gunji, Professor Emeritus of Japanese Arts and Culture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jeffrey Hanes, Associate Professor of History and Director, Center of Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Oregon

Tae Hashimoto, Hakusa Sonso, Kyoto

Tsutomo Hattori, Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Tokyo University of Agriculture

Teresia Hazen, Director of Horticultural Therapy, Legacy Health, Portland

Ron Herman, landscape architect, San Leandro, CA

Tomoki Kato, Ph.D., President, Ueyakato Zoen Co., Ltd., Kyoto

Larry Kominz, Professor of Japanese, Portland State University

Joseph Krakora, Executive Officer, National Gallery of Art

Hoichi Kurisu, landscape designer, President, Kurisu International

Ron Lovinger, retired Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Kyoto Study Program, University of Oregon

Shinya Maezaki, Art Historian, Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University

John Soyu McGee, Master Tea Teacher, Shambala Contemplative Arts, Nova Scotia

June Moriyasu, Chado Urasenke Tankokai Portland Wakai Association

Takahiro Naka, Professor of Environmental Design, Kyoto University of Art and Design

Ken Ruoff, Director, Center for Japanese Studies, Portland State University

Yuriko Saito, Professor of Philosophy, Rhode Island School of Design

Haruo Shirane, Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture, Columbia University

Yoshiaki Shimizu, Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology Emeritus, Princeton

Robert Singer, Curator, Japanese Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Makoto Suzuki, Director, Center for International Japanese Garden Studies, Tokyo University of Agriculture

Marc Treib, Professor Emeritus, Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley

June Moriyasu, Tea Teacher, Wakai Tea Association, Portland

Jan Waldmann, Tea Teacher, Wakai Tea Association, and Visiting Instructor, East Asian Studies, Lewis & Clark College, Portland

Not all listed faculty are teaching at any given seminar. For an event-specific faculty list, please consult [email protected].