Floating Bonsai Trees Harness the Power of Magnets

February 16, 2016 | Reece Alvarez

Floating bonsai tree
Photo credit: Courtesy of Hoshinchu Air Bonsai Garden

Make your own floating plant with Air Bonsai's starter kit.

From the island of Kyushu in Japan, the Hoshinchu Air Bonsai Garden company has created a seemingly mystical new way to display the already awe-inspiring beauty of bonsai trees.

“From ancient times, the Japanese people have greatly respected and honored their culture and ‘Kokoro’ the core of our civilization,” said Hikaru Hoshi, producer of the Air Bonsai floating tree, on the company's Kickstarter page. “Air Bonsai was created from this deep aspect of life.”

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Referred to as floating “little stars” by the company, the Air Bonsai tree features two components — the “little star” moss ball where miniature trees are planted and an “energy base” made from  traditional Japanese Imari porcelain. Both components include built-in magnets which repel one another and levitate the miniature tree. The entire apparatus runs on electric power.

Air bonsai kit
 The complete Air bonsai kit with multiple plants. Credit: Courtesy of  Hoshinchu Air Bonsai Garden.

According to Wired, the bonsai plants first arrived in Japan about 1,200 years ago, and by 700 A.D., the Chinese were growing dwarf trees in pun-tsai, or flattened earthenware.

The company has harnessed this ancient cultural reverence for life and nature and aims to share it with the world from their small production facility in Kyushu, where creator Masanori Imayoshi makes his “little stars.”

starry sky
Home of the Air Bonsai trees in Kyushu, Japan. Credit: Courtesy of  Hoshinchu Air Bonsai Garden. Image has been cropped

“I have always loved stars since I was a kid,” Imayoshi said on the Kickstarter page. “In the process of making this, I had encountered different people who saved me and taught me important things in life. I thank you all very much. As long as we live on this star, there will be countless experiences. I hope you cherish and enjoy your life on this planet.”

Due to export issues, the company states it cannot export true japanese bonsai trees, but will instead partner with U.S. bonsai growers to provide the plants outside of Japan.

The company’s Kickstarter campaign originally had a goal to raise $80,000, but has already reached well beyond that with more than 3,200 backers pitching at least $732,000 as of February 16. For $200, backers can receive the basic Air Bonsai set, and for the true bonsai aficionado the company offered a $10,000 donation level, which gets the backer a personalized tour of the bonsai workshop in Kyushu, however, all of these slots have been filled.

The Kickstarter campaign will continue until March 1.


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