Professor Takuma Tono supervising the construction of the Flat Garden in 1963. Photo by KGW-TV.

Professor Takuma Tono of Tokyo Agricultural University was Portland Japanese Garden’s original designer. Retained by the organization in 1962, Professor Tono’s plan included four different garden styles (eventually five) laid out on 5.5 acres. This was quite a departure from gardens in Japan which typically follow one singular style. His intention was to represent different historical developments in Japanese garden architecture and through that communicate Japanese culture to create a cultural exchange. A passionate educator and highly-skilled landscape architect, Professor Tono espoused the principles of cultural diplomacy through the creation of Portland Japanese Garden. Below you can follow links to read the thoughts of Tono.

Letters from Portland Japanese Garden’s Original Designer Demonstrate Cultural Diplomacy was Foundational Element

Professor Takuma Tono, Portland Japanese Garden’s original designer, inspects the placement of a stone in the Flat Garden. Photo by William “Robbie” Robinson.

When Portland Japanese Garden’s landscape was being planned, Professor Tono determined that it should feature different garden styles that beckon back to different points in his native country’s history. While it was a departure from the norm, it was a brilliant decision that has helped inform millions of visitors on the nuances of Japanese garden design. That Tono would design the Garden this way comports entirely with a man who was a passionate educator. Read some of Tono’s thoughts shared in correspondence from the 1960s.

The Garden Spaces of Portland Japanese Garden as Described by Takuma Tono

Portland Japanese Garden’s original designer, Professor Takuma Tono of Tokyo Agricultural University, standing in the Sand and Stone Garden during its construction. Photo by William “Robbie” Robinson.

One of the earliest pieces of correspondence between Professor Takuma Tono and the leaders of Portland Japanese Garden was an explainer about the different garden spaces he intended to design for the Garden. Written before he set upon designing a moss garden that would eventually be transformed into the Natural Garden, you can read Tono’s thoughts on the Flat Garden, Sand and Stone Garden, Strolling Pond Garden, and Tea Garden by clicking the link below.