By David and Myrtle Fukumoto
Founders, Fuku-Bonsai
May 2011




                   ALOHA!  This is a special time as FUKU-BONSAI BEGINS A NEW ERA!  In 1985 the Fukumoto sole proprietorship nursery evolved into a Hawaiian corporation to own and operate both the 12-acre Kurtistown Fuku-Bonsai certified export nursery and the 17-acre Fuku-Bonsai Center in upper Keauhou-Kona.  We had an ideal location, and the potential to become an international bonsai visitor attraction to compliment the Big Island of Hawaii's then developing Kona-Kohala visitor destination area!

                   But in 1989 we sprayed defective Benlate contaminated with weedkillers and our dreams ended with losses of over $30 million!  We struggled and we needed the protection of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 1994.  Two years later we paid off all creditors 100% + interest  and the bankruptcy was cancelled.  We lost the Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center, retrenched to Kurtistown, and opened a modest center.  Contamination prevented growing Brassaia so we mastered and made Dwarf Schefflera our new specialty. 

                   We fought an epic losing legal war with DuPont who kept us in court for over 16 years. Although we received a Benlate Product Liability settlement in 1994 and a DuPont Fraud settlement in 2007, the net total after taxes and legal fees and costs was less than 10% of our losses.  Life is not fair and while it is easy to be bitter,  instead we created the highest quality, highest-value, most successful bonsai for anyone anywhere who can grow houseplants!  With the support of individuals,  associates, and the Big Island community, we are now rebuilding and expanding. 


                   Myrtle and I got married in 1962 and grew a houseplant as bonsai in our apartment.  When we purchased a home in Kaneohe, our interest in bonsai expanded and shortly after, I was asked to teach an evening adult education bonsai course.  Then bonsai was a secretive activity with no published tropical bonsai information or suitable plants available.  Student success soared after the first mimeographed handbook was printed and Myrtle's backyard nursery supplied suitable plants.  We've built the hobby, the nursery, and educational activities together and next year we celebrate 50 years of bonsai! 

                  From the beginning, we focused upon teaching, highest quality products, and customer success.  As we rebuild and expand, we are installing greater efficiency and higher quality systems and standards. Staff training will be shared so customers can learn and teach others! Three workshop packages are suitable for beginners or more advanced hobbyists.  Each is complete and primarily varies by the size and development stage of the plant and the materials in the "conversion kit."  The Introductory Workshop Package has been very successful in economically teaching the basics. The "Bonsai Workshop II" and the "Bonsai Workshop III" uses larger older materials. Workshop packages are suitable for bonsai gifts.


                    The recent devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami was a terrible catastrophe and everyone wishes them the speediest recovery.  The discipline and resolve of the Japanese was striking. These national traits made Japanese bonsai an admirable achievement.  American traits are different.  There's an impatience and the desire for "instant" results with a limited investment of time and study.  I came to understand these differences as I worked with extraordinary leaders in the 1970's and 80's to develop international bonsai. We promoted Japanese bonsai, but also Chinese penjing and Tropical bonsai.  In addition to my contribution to tropical ficus and banyan bonsai,  I've had the opportunity to lead and develop True Indoor Bonsai™ as an innovative American form of "Popular Bonsai" for anyone anywhere who can grow houseplants.

                     We will promote True Indoor Bonsai as an art, craft, and a hobby.  We will share information so anyone can successfully learn and teach this specialty craft to others.  We will make plants and materials available to give as gifts and support anyone within the United States to participate in a satisfying lifetime hobby.  We will work with interested international representatives and the non-profit Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation to extend these goals internationally.  And we will encourage innovation and individual creativity to elevate True Indoor Bonsai to the highest standards of individual excellence and creative art.  Each of us is different and a product of our genes, environment and experiences. The shape of a bonsai is the sum total of all of the various training steps that occurred in its life.


                     As professionals it's our responsibility to supply the finest possible bonsai stock and provide educational materials on how to exploit and enhance their potential.  We will have the capability of shipping thousands of Introductory Workshop Packages in the future to supply those willing and able to teach bonsai to others.  We will have increasingly advanced workshop materials and I'll been writing more educational articles for posting on this website and as part of the next edition of the workshop handbook.  Fuku-Bonsai has developed a multi-model production flow protocol incorporating quality-control culling standards at each step.  So our oldest plants are also our highest quality plants. Like a proud parent, we enjoy watching watching our trees develop and there's a bit of pride and sadness when we send off promising trees out into the world!  We include cultural information and offer assistance by email, newsletter, or phone. Our comprehensive educational website supports customer success!

                   As Myrtle and I turn over Fuku-Bonsai management responsibility to our successors, we hope they will continue the values that guided my bonsai career since 1962. We hope Fuku-Bonsai will always promote True Indoor Bonsai as a populist hobby in which everyone can experience success and celebrate man and nature in harmony. Mahalo to the stockholders, staff, associates and customers who have supported us and made Fuku-Bonsai possible!



                   You are cordially invited to visit the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center and Hawaii State Bonsai Repository in Kurtistown on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Kurtistown is on Volcano Highway 11 about 10 miles from Hilo and 20 miles from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Enjoy our exhibit collection which is amongst the most varied in the world and include Japanese bonsai, Chinese penjing, Tropical outdoor bonsai, and our True Indoor Bonsai specialty.  Select from one of the largest displays of certified-grown bonsai that can be packed for you to hand-carry to all parts of the United States, or we'll ship!   Experience a unique visit to a working bonsai nursery and feel free to talk story with our staff.  Take a bonsai workshop and have it shipped home.  Meet individuals who can continue to assist you after you return home! 

                  E KOMO MAI  .  .  .  come discover the serenity of nature, the beauty of bonsai, and the spirit of Hawaii!

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