Courtesy: Los Angeles County Arts Commission Civic Art Collection
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Gardena, California

P. Takuma Tono (

Gardena Mayme Dear Library, 1731 W. Gardena Blvd., Gardena, California, 90247
Date:  1964
Placement:  libraries (buildings)
Artwork Type:  environmental art
Material:  plant material, rock
Description:  This Japanese garden is nestled in a central courtyard surrounded by the Gardena Mayme Dear Library. It can be seen by library visitors from almost any spot inside the building. Designed by the famous Japanese landscape architect, P. Takuma Tono, the garden was a gift to the Library from the Gardena Valley Gardener’s Association (GVGA). The GVGA was founded in the 1950s by Japanese American gardeners, many of whom had been forced to live in United States’ internment camps during WWII. Among the GVGA’s goals was to improve public perception of Japanese Americans after the War as well as to increase their participation in civic life. The GVGA not only donated the garden’s materials and Tono’s services, but they also built the garden and maintained it. The stone lantern in the garden’s center is over 150 years old and is a gift from the City of Ichikawa, Gardena’s Sister City in Japan.

About the Artist: Professor P. Takuma Tono (1891-1987) was the head of the Landscape Architecture Department at Tokyo Agricultural University, and considered one of the foremost Japanese landscape architects in the world, when he designed this garden for the Gardena Library in 1964. This was during the same time that work was being completed on his Portland Japanese Garden, considered by many to be the best Japanese garden in the United States.

Professor Tono received a BA from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan and a graduate degree in landscape architecture from Cornell University in New York. After graduating from Cornell in 1921, he returned to Japan and started the first landscape architecture and planning firm in the country. Throughout his career, though, he often returned to the U.S. to design gardens, consult, and teach. Additional notable American projects included a Japanese “Ryoanji” garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (later removed).

Information about P. Takuma Tono provided courtesy of Ted Sieckman of the Portland Japanese Garden and Kathy Crosby of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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