Scope and Content
Title: University Relations: The Japanese Garden Records,
Date (inclusive): 1972-1985
Extent: 2 Boxes (3 linear feet)
Department of Archives and Special Collections.
California State University, Dominguez Hills.
All materials are open to the public unless specific restrictions are imposed.
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.
[Identification of item], University Relations: The Japanese Garden, Courtesy of the
Department of Archives and Special Collections. University Library. California State
University, Dominguez Hills.
The forerunner of the modern Japanese garden appeared in Japan sometime in the latter
half of the sixth century. At the time, Japan was assimilating many art forms and
traditions that came from China through neighboring Korea. For example, in 522 A.D.,
Buddhism and Taoism were introduced and became major influences in the development of the
garden. The focus of early gardens was a mound of earth which represented the center of
the universe in the Buddhist world.
As time passed, the gardens grew larger and drew ideas from Tao teachings. By the late
Heian period (794-1185), the concept of a balance between man and nature or house and
garden had become popular. This idea of an intimate relationship led to gardens being
built between the wings of noble households. These gardens had ponds large enough to
support small man-made islands, waterfalls and boating activity.
From the Kamakura (1192-1333) through the Muromachi (1393-1573) periods, Zen Buddhism had
the biggest influence on garden design. The kare-sansui or dry landscape garden using
rocks and sand was refined. Trees and shrubs were utilized but water was not. Designs
raked into the sand became a way of symbolic expression. Another Zen Buddhist
contribution was the teahouse garden developed during the Momoyama era. (1573-1603) These
are the narrow gardens that incorporate stone lanterns, water basins and stepping stones
which is designed along a path leading to a teahouse.
The last type of garden to be developed was the stroll garden. Its name explains its use.
The garden was built so one could walk leisurely along a path around a pond or lake and
view the beautiful sights designed by the landscape artist. It was a garden designed for
its beauty alone, not for religious reasons as the two previous types. This type of
garden was developed during the Tokugawa period. (1603-1868)
The most important part of a Japanese garden is its naturalness. The landscape artist
designs the garden by attempting to bring all the elements of nature he/she uses into
harmony. The artist does not make a copy of nature but an idealized version of nature.
Once the garden is built, it must be maintained ritualistically. The plants must be
trimmed to perfection to maintain the balance of nature. The three most important
materials used in a garden are trees, stones and water. Evergreen trees are chosen
because of their color and long life. Stones also represent the timelessness of
existence. Water is present, whether it is real or symbolic.
The Shin Wa En or Friendship Garden, located in the SBS building of California State
University Dominguez Hills, was built over an eight month period in 1978. The idea was
initialized by a few faculty members and people from the neighboring community.
Volunteers from the Gardena Valley Gardener's Association, the Pacific Coast and Los
Angeles Chapters of the California Landscape Contractors' Association and the Centinela
Chapter of the California Association of Nurseymen lent their time and expertise to the
project. The garden was designed by Haruo Yamashiro of Gardena.
The garden is crafted in the Zen style of beauty and simplicity. The balance of greenery,
rocks and water makes the garden a tranquil respite on the campus grounds. The teahouse
is constructed of cedar and redwood and makes a beautiful background for various campus
and community events. Honor awards ceremonies and other special occasion events are often
held here. The stage can also be used by performers such as musicians, dancers and
During the Spring Break in 1998, volunteers participating in Campus Clean-Up Day came
together to clean, repair and paint the Friendship Garden. Some of the volunteers
included members of ASIA@CSUDH, Friends of Asian-Pacific Studies, faculty and staff. In
addition to the materials found in the archives, there is an archive web page that has a
link to materials from the Japanese Garden.
Scope and Content
The Japanese Garden collection contains correspondence, committee materials, solicitation
materials, publicity materials, brochures, photographs and artifacts. Much of the
material was given to the archives by Dr. Don Hata. His contribution includes all
committee papers, solicitation, publicity and most of the correspondence.
Correspondence in the collection dates from 1972 through 1985. It includes campus memos,
letters to participants, thank you notes and follow-up letters. The joint campus
committee papers include meeting agendas, minutes, lists of participants and work
schedules. The solicitation material includes correspondence, lists of possible
contributors and actual donation lists. The debts/expenses material contains
correspondence, receipts and confirmation of payments made. Publicity materials include
correspondence, photographs, press releases, and newspaper articles. The brochures and
pamphlets include the garden dedication ceremony brochure and a informational pamphlet
published by CSUDH in 1982. The photographs include a scrapbook of the building of the
Engel, David H.
Japanese Gardens for Today. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1959.
The Garden Art of Japan. Translated by Richard Gage.
The Heibonsha Survey of Japanese Art New York: Weatherhill/Heibonsha, 1973.
The Japanese Garden: An Approach to Nature. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972.
The World of the Japanese Garden, from Chinese Origins to Modern Landscape Art. New York: Walker/Weatherhill, 1968.
Typical Japanese Gardens. Translated by Atsuo Tsuruoka. Tokyo: Shibata Publishing Co. Ltd., 1962.
Japanese Gardening Hints. Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1969.
Invitation to Japanese Gardens. English adaptation by Richard F. Dickinson and Nobunao Matsuyama. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1970.
Art of the Landscape Garden in Japan. Tokyo: Kokusai Shuppan Insatsusha, 1935.