Ton Ton Bana
Hiroshi Shimizu @@@
Ton Ton Bana

 "Ton Ton Bana" is a Japanese iris cultivar that was registered with The American iris Society in 1993. This plant is a unique clone of Iris ensata which, as indicated in AIS records and the SJI Cumulative Check List, was collected in Mie Prefecture. This is the prefecture where the famous Ise district is located. The name "Ton Ton Bana"?@has for the Japanese a special ecological significance with regard to Iris ensata in the wild.
Iris ensata in the wild is usually found in high meadows or moors in Japanese mountains. The Nyugasa Moor in the central area of Honshu is a typical habitat for this iris species . There is a small stream running through this moor and Iris ensata is often found growing along this stream.  When you stand beside the stream looking at the flowers, you can hear the sound of the gushing water.  The term "ton ton" in Japanese is onomatopoeic. "Ton ton" imitates the sound of gushing water. The people who lived in the area in ancient times coined the term "ton ton" to means "gushing water." They also coined the word "dondo", another onomatopoeic word which also means "gushing water."  The word "bana" means flower. Therefore, "Ton Ton Bana" means "The flowers growing beside a gushing stream." People who live in Mie prefecture sometimes call this iris "Ton Ton Bana" and at other times "Dondo Bana." The meaning is the same.
 Since ancient times the Japanese people have been very sensitive to natural phenomena. A Japanese philosopher once wrote that Western civilization has the "rational forest," but the Japanese have the "sensate forest."  European forests are often quite open, bright and easy to walk through if one just uses his mind. This is because the trees in the forest have been intentionally planted and the undergrowth cleared. Japanese forests, on the other hand, are very dark and difficult to walk through because they are truly wild with thick bushes and other undergrowth. Japanese people must use all five senses to protect their bodies from prickles and fallen trees when moving through their forests. I think it is this Japanese sensitivity to nature, which produces the name "Ton Ton Bana."

The Nyugasa Moor A small stream and wild ensata