Prof. Shunmyo Masuno

Title:DeTao Master of Gardening

Area:Landscape Designing


Brief Introduction
ShunmyoMasuno is one of the three greatest landscape designers of Japan, a key figure of the modern Japanese rock garden art. He is professor of Tama Art University, founder of Japan Landscape Consultants Ltd., Zen priest and the 18th generation of Head Priest of Kenko-ji Temple. He is ranked among the 100 most honoured Japanese celebrities by the Time magazine. He won the National Merit Award conferred by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, and the National Grand Prize by the Japanese Institute of Landscape Architecture.
As one of the most outstanding landscape designers in Japan, ShunmyoMasuno has inherited the essence of Japan’s traditional art of gardening. His works well showcase the quintessence of Japan’s classical gardens, and are filled with natural beauty. Taking landscape creation as an outlet for expressing his inner world, ShunmyoMasuno’s works are flavoured with Zen, typically known for their beauty of calmness, quietness and impressiveness and are often appreciated for their distinctively charming philosophy of life.  He has thirty years of experience in landscape designing, and completes two to three projects every year.
On April 25, 2010, ShunmyoMasuno entered into a contract with DeTao Masters Academy, seeking cooperation and breakthroughs in landscape designing and gardening.
Current Position
DeTao Master of Gardening
President, Japan Landscape Consultants Ltd.
Zen priest (Head Priest of Kenko-ji Temple)
Professor, Tama Art University
Working Experience
1982, founding Japan Landscape Consultants Ltd
1985, appointed Assistant Priest, Kenko-ji Temple
1987, Special Professor, the University of British Columbia (UBC)
1990, Lecturer, Harvard GSD
1998, Professor, Tama Art University
2001, appointed Head Priest of Kenko-ji Temple
1975, Graduated from Tamagawa University, Department of Agriculture
2002, Honorary Doctorate from the University of British Columbia
Honors and Awards
1995, the National Merit Award, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, for Nitobe Memorial Garden renovation
1996, National Grand Prize, the Japanese Institute of Landscape Architecture, for  the National Research Institute for Metals, Science and Technology Agency
1997, Encouragement Prize of Culture, Yokohama City
1999, Annual Award (to encourage new talents in fine arts) from Ministry of Education
ShunmyoMasuno’s works are well received both at home and broad. They include Garden with Green Hills and Clear Water for Samukawa Shrine with Waterfalls and Pine Trees for Imabari International Hotel, Garden for the National Research Institute for Metals, Science and Technology Agency, Garden for the Canadian Embassy in Japan, Nitobe Memorial Garden renovation, Kagawa Prefectural Library, Hotel Le Port Kojimachietc, Dragon Gate Garden for Kenko-ji Temple etc.
ShunmyoMasuno, the Japanese Landscape Designer, China Architecture & Building Press, China
ZEN GARDENS /The Complete Works of ShunmyoMasuno: Japan’s Leading Garden Designer,
Tuttle Publishing(USA)October2012
Master Says
As a Zen priest, for years I have been creating my works on the basis of the Zen spirit. For me, gardening is a highly spiritual designing process of placing myself in different spaces. It is not simply a course of pursuing outside beauty, the “stone erecting” Zen priests take garden as a place where they express their mind. In their eyes, gardening is part of their Zen ascetic practice. It is also true to me and I have been keeping on doing so little by little. Gardening occupies a very important place in my heart.
I often study the nature thoroughly when I seek materials for gardening, like stones. During the course, I sketch many pictures with emotion. When I am laying out the stones and plants, I put myself into dialogues with various elements. I try to find out the typical spirit a stone or tree demonstrates and place it in a proper location.
More Information
Every day, ShunmyoMasuno gets up at 4:30 am, and begins his routine of sitting in meditation, chanting scriptures, and doing some cleaning. From 8:00 am to 6:30 pm, he is occupied with designing in his studio; and gets together with his family before he goes to bed at 10:00 pm. Born into a Zen priest family, ShunmyoMasuno studied arts in his early years. After finishing his postgraduate education, he became obsessed with rock gardening and started to study Zen, and later became a Zen priest fully devoted to rock gardening which is what his Zen ascetic practice is mainly about. During the past decade or so, he has been delivering speeches and giving lectures in many world renowned universities, such as the University of British Columbia, Cornell University, the University of Michigan and Harvard University. ShunmyoMasuno seeks the truth of humanity from gardening. Thanks to his relentless efforts, rock gardening has developed into a mainstream landscape in Japan, and attracts wide attention from the international landscaping industry.