TOWARD the end of the sixth century, according to an old Japanese folk tale, a rich nobleman built himself a garden, placed an island in the middle of its lake and aroused such curiosity that he became famous. Ever since, garden designing has been regarded by the Japanese as a major art form (see color pages), and its changing patterns have reflected the country's historic development. The first Japanese gardens were polychromic, glowing with the blossoms of plum and cherry trees, calm with the gentleness of willows, luxurious with the gaiety of bright...

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