Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the University Relations: The Japanese Garden Records, 1972-1985
Consult repository  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (90.08 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Secondary Sources

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: University Relations: The Japanese Garden Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1972-1985
    Extent: 2 Boxes (3 linear feet)
    Repository: Department of Archives and Special Collections.

    University Library.

    California State University, Dominguez Hills.
    Carson, California 90747
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    All materials are open to the public unless specific restrictions are imposed.

    Publication Rights

    It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

    Preferred Citation

    [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 speakers.
    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 garden.

    Secondary Sources

    Engel, David H. Japanese Gardens for Today. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1959.
    Hayakawa, Masao. The Garden Art of Japan. Translated by Richard Gage. The Heibonsha Survey of Japanese Art New York: Weatherhill/Heibonsha, 1973.
    Ito, Teiji. The Japanese Garden: An Approach to Nature. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972.
    Kuck, Lorraine. The World of the Japanese Garden, from Chinese Origins to Modern Landscape Art. New York: Walker/Weatherhill, 1968.
    Mori, Osamu. Typical Japanese Gardens. Translated by Atsuo Tsuruoka. Tokyo: Shibata Publishing Co. Ltd., 1962.
    Saito, Katsuo, Japanese Gardening Hints. Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1969.
    Takakuwa, Gisei. Invitation to Japanese Gardens. English adaptation by Richard F. Dickinson and Nobunao Matsuyama. Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1970.
    Tamura, Tsuyoshi. Art of the Landscape Garden in Japan. Tokyo: Kokusai Shuppan Insatsusha, 1935.