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Tulip pioneer Mizuno’s legacy still in full bloom 50 years later

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I recently visited Tonami, a city in Toyama Prefecture where 3 million tulips are splendidly decorating the celebration of the arrival of spring in the central Japanese Hokuriku region along the Sea of Japan coast.

Commercial growing of tulips in the city started a century ago in 1918, when 10 bulbs planted by a local young man produced beautiful flowers, which fetched unexpectedly high prices.

The young man, Bunzo Mizuno (1898-1968), who pioneered the growing of tulips in the prefecture, came to be called the “father of tulips.”

Mizuno was a skinny kid with a weak constitution nicknamed “waribashi” (dispensable chopsticks), according to Ayako Watanabe, a curator at the Tonami Provincial Museum.

After failing an examination for conscription, he tried, with no avail, to work away from home.........

© The Asahi Shimbun