Dr. Koichi Kawana designed more than one dozen major Japanese gardens in the United States in addition to the Japanese Garden, including botanical gardens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Diego's Balboa Park, Denver, Chicago, Memphis, Minneapolis, and the largest Japanese

garden in the United States - the 14-acre garden in St. Louis.He pioneered the design of traditional Japanese gardens which utilized plants native to the area.

A native of Hokkaido, Japan, Dr. Kawana is listed in Who's Who in America, the Dictionary of International Biography and Who's Who in Art, among others. Awards include: Progressive Architecture's Design Award this garden; the Victor M. Carter Diamond Award, the highest honor of the Japan America Society of Southern California, given to the person who has done the most to perpetuate friendship and understanding between the people of Japan and the United States; the Companionate of Merit in Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem in Edinburgh, for achievements in the field of design and art, and the Gold Medal from Academia Italia della Arti de del Lavoro. National Geographic Magazine featured Dr. Kawana's St. Louis Garden in its August, 1990 issue.

Dr. Kawana died in September, 1990 at age 60. Professional associates recall him as a "renaissance man", a garden designer, architect, and an artist whose paintings are now collectors' items. He was also a writer, poet, collector of fine art and teacher. He taught ikebana informally, and Japanese architecture and landscape design at UCLA. One associate wrote, "He taught me about the art of gardening and the human race."