David Fukumoto, president and founder of Fuku-Bonsai with one of the older trees in the "Old Plant Bank" that is now over 40 years in training.  Beginning as Hawaii's first certified export nursery growing plants on benches from seeds or cutting in non-soil media, Fuku-Bonsai is the only bonsai nursery that can ship to all parts of the U.S.  Our specialty Dwarf Schefflera is the most successful gift bonsai for anyone, anywhere who can grow houseplants.  It can be trained into more stylings than any other bonsai tree.  The photo shows a rare, premium "Rainforest Banyan" with aerial roots dropping from high branches in the canopy and falling free of the trunk mass.



(Updated February 2019)

                ALOHA!  Fuku-Bonsai is a dream in progress that builds upon the bonsai career of founder David W. Fukumoto.  In 1985, Fuku-Bonsai evolved into a corporation to build an international bonsai center in the Kona-Kohala visitor destination area of the Big Island.  Unfortunately, in 1989 defective Benlate was sprayed at the nursery and Fuku-Bonsai began an epic fight for survival!

                FAST FORWARD TO 2011 . . . it became clear that Fuku-Bonsai would survive!  Total losses due to defective Benlate contaminated with weed killers caused over $30 million of losses!  The net total of the 1994 Benlate product liability settlement and the 2007 DuPont fraud settlement was less than 10% of our losses. DuPont used their economic and legal clout to force settlements that were very unfair.  But we survived when many other companies didn't.  I thank everyone for their support and pledge that Fuku-Bonsai will work to become the best source of the highest quality "popular bonsai" that can be grown anywhere by anyone who can grow houseplants!  

               FAST FORWARD AGAIN TO 2018 . . . in January 2013 we began to issue the monthly email newsletter:  Journal of Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai.  We made remarkable progress but in November 2014, our computers had a major crash, the newsletter ended, and we struggled!  But at the start of 2016, we were contacted by a representative of DHC, a Korean fertilizer manufacturer who had developed the ability to adjust the nutrient formula of the original "magnesium ammonium potassium phosphate" that had a first patent application in 1962.  We had started using it in 1973 and it had a major role in TRUE INDOOR BONSAI™ becoming the most successful gift bonsai for anyone, anywhere who can grow houseplants.  We became its most loyal customer, obtained permission to repackage under our trade name NUTRIENT GRANULES™ and we included a complimentary packet in ever bonsai shipped.  When production in the U.S. ended, we led the search for an improved replacement.    DHC, Uniever Green, and Fuku-Bonsai have formed a global alliance to create the ideal optimum high-phosphorous fertilizer for everyone and we succeeded!  We are starting and the introductory HAWAIIANITE™ PORTAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOW UP AT:   www.fukubonsai.com/HAWAIIANITE.html  Please check it out and consider joining us as a "HAWAIIANITE SUPPORTER!"

              THE BIG 2018 NEWS IS THAT THE COMPUTER IS WORKING, WE WILL ISSUE A MONTHLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER AND CONTINUE TO DREAM.  I share that dream in a posting at www.fukubonsai.com/1a1a3.html    We invite you to join us!  

             MAHALO!    ~~~David W. Fukumoto       (david.f@fukubonsai.com  


                1962-68   As newlyweds, David and Myrtle Fukumoto begin growing and training a Brassaia houseplant in their apartment and was the start of pioneering True Indoor Bonsai™.  The hobby expanded to completely fill a suburban house lot. David was asked to substitute teach an evening adult education bonsai course at Aiea High School at a time that there was no published tropical bonsai information nor suitable plants in garden shops.  Myrtle became a backyard nurserywoman, propagated seeds and cuttings, and maintained a bonsai collection of over 2,000 trees in training!  The school mimeographed their first handbook and by supplying suitable properly prepared bonsai stock,  the students were much more successful!  One class formed the Aloha Bonsai Club. From our very early days, we demonstrated our commitment to teach by providing educational materials, ideal prepared bonsai stock and materials, and personal assistance when needed.  Over 50 years later,  these same commitments are available to the members of the non-profit Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation and Fuku-Bonsai customers!

                1969-73   Co-founded the non-profit Hawaii Bonsai Association; developed their bonsai team-teaching curriculum and lesson plans as education committee chairman and course coordinator. Designed and slip-casted bonsai pots with original plaster molds. Participated in formulating the Hawaii State Burrowing Nematode Nursery Certification Program (in Honolulu) and upon approval, moved to the Big Island of Hawaii to form the first such nursery under that program. Developed a non-soil media with volcanic pumice with first products utilizing volcanic welded splatter cinder.  Extensive test marketing demonstrated that True Indoor Bonsai™ (Fuku-Bonsai's houseplants trained in the bonsai manner) are very successful gift bonsai for anyone who can grow houseplants.


j.Tad74.jpg (44352 bytes)        This 1974 copywrited photo of son Tad was taken when he was four years old with our first HS-1 small and HD-1 desk size Brassaia Lava Plantings.  Began shipments to retail mail-order customers and to Fuku-Bonsai Authorized Retailers with delivery via U.S. Postal Air Priority Mail with a special packing system and with a satisfaction and safe arrival guarantee. 

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                In 1973 and 1974, David's first two articles were published: "Bonsai in Hawaii" in Bonsai Clubs International's Bonsai Magazine  and "Island Hopping" in the American Bonsai Society's Journal.  The Island Hopping article told of bare rooting and fumigating the bonsai collection to move from Honolulu to the Big Island to meet inter-island plant quarantine requirements.   The article was featured at the American Bonsai Society's booth at the joint Pasadena convention co-sponsored by the California Bonsai Society, American Bonsai Society, and Bonsai Clubs International. This was the first opportunity to meet Dorothy Young (who later became the editor of ABS Journal), John Naka, Ed Potter, and many of the early national bonsai pioneers. A sequel article "Successful Island Hopping" included the the photo of the dead trunk of one of the few trees that did not survive silhouetted against a sunset which was used as a cover of the Winter 1975 issue. 
               1973-79   As a research affiliate of the Harold Lyon Arboretum of the University of Hawaii at Manoa,  David amassed over 200 ficus specie and varieties, ran trials, researched, and published a series of articles in the American Bonsai Society Journal.  He pledged to equally support Bonsai Clubs International and also later wrote for Florida Bonsai, Bonsai Society of Greater New York, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, American Nurserymen's magazine, Nippon (Japan) Bonsai Association and other publications.  Participated in a Japan Bonsai Tour with the Hawaii Bonsai Association.  Attended the International Bonsai Convention in New York including a presentation promoting IBC 80 Hawaii. Became the first Hawaii State certified nursery to ship to Canada and Europe. Designed a line of plastic bonsai pots and saucers manufactured by Ole Orchard Hill of Michigan and later designer for a line of larger fiberglass bonsai pots.

                1980-84   Coordinated and moderated the Hawaii 3-Ring Demonstration at the International Bonsai Convention co-sponsored by the Hawaii Bonsai Association and Bonsai Clubs International at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu.   Co-founded the non-profit Big Island Bonsai Association in 1981 and led the two year project: Revitalization of Bonsai on the Big Island.   Participated in a Chinese Bonsai-Penjing Tour organized by Dorothy and Luther Young of Pennsylvania. As the only non-professional, David received the top editorial award from the Hawaii County Media Council for his Viewpoint article: "If the tax revolt succeeds, who wins?"


               1985-88  Fuku-Bonsai became a corporation in 1985 to become the catalyst to build and operate an international bonsai visitor attraction and over 200 stockholders supported the effort. 17 acres of the former Tanaka Quarry in upper Keauhou-Kona was purchased and in-house design and construction began, funded with the income from the Kurtistown nursery and a series of stock offerings.  The center featured nine themed bonsai gardens and included extensive educational exhibits.   Co-founded the non-profit Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation to educate and promote, to be the public guardian of the memorial bonsai of the Hawaii State Bonsai Repository and to be the liaison to the community.

               1989-90   Fuku-Bonsai sprayed defective Benlate fungicide that was contaminated with weed killer at the Kurtistown nursery causing devastating almost total loss of all plant inventory. Over 5,000 product liability cases filed against DuPont.

FBC kona quarry.jpg (24933 bytes)    Aerial photo of the Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center under construction showing about 3 acres of the first increment. 

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         As the Fuku-Bonsai Center began its soft opening, preview articles appeared in Bonsai Clubs International's Bonsai Magazine and the American Bonsai Society's Journal (with cover photo).
FBC kona festival.jpg (23117 bytes)        The Grand Opening Celebration in September 1992. The "Bonsai of Japan" garden was one of nine themed bonsai gardens designed, landscaped, and constructed by Fuku-Bonsai's in-house staff.

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       The "Rocks & Landscapes" bonsai garden was tucked into a natural grotto formation that was a serene setting when there were fewer visitors but also a dynamic setting for weddings. From the popular lookout, the entire center could be appreciated.
       "CREATING A BONSAI WORLD!" was the first major multi-rock / multi-plant complex landscape that was planted as the featured demonstration at the Grand Opening Celebration in September 1992. Dwarf Azaleas took 25 years to mature (2014 photo).  It was dedicated to Haruo "Papa" Kaneshiro,  the farther of Tropical Hawaiian Bonsai.  It was later mounted on a 4' diameter concrete disc on turntable.  
                 1990-1994   Unfortunately, the huge Kurtistown nursery losses due to defective Benlate cut away the nursery income needed to subsidize the center during the start-up years.  This eventually caused the corporation to seek Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, to close the Kona center, to reduce a staff that once totaled 25 to just four managers, and to retrench to Kurtistown.  A product liability settlement allowed paying off all creditors 100% plus interest and canceling the bankruptcy.

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        1995  The Winter issue of the American Bonsai Society Journal cover features the 19" tall exposed root Natal Banyan (Ficus natalensis) requested by and donated to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in Washington DC by Fuku-Bonsai Inc.  It was trained from a cutting rooted in 1976 and is one of the youngest trees in the national collection. The pot is a priceless Chinese drum design by master bonsai potter Akiji Kataoka of Yamaaki Kiln of Tokoname, Japan. Kataoka began his career trying to duplicate the ancient Yixing, China pots. He went on to lead the development of Japanese bonsai pottery. This is amongst his last creative flowering and he ended his career returning to his Chinese inspiration. The pot features four Kimei feet and he handsigned it for us. 

         A 2017 update is at www.fukubonsai.com/2a1.html

                  1995-1999  A special stock redemption cashes out stockholders no longer supportive or those needing liquidity.  Rebuilding of staff and nursery began without funds. With Brassaia fungus at epidemic levels, a new Dwarf Schefflera replacement crop was developed and introduced in 1997 (15%), 1998 (42%), and 1999 (82%).

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        1997  With very limited funds, Fuku-Bonsai continued its commitment to promote and educate. The exhibit bonsai were brought back from Kona and new display facilities developed adjoining the Kurtistown nursery. In May 1997, Fuku-Bonsai Inc. and the non-profit Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation opened the new FUKU-BONSAI CULTURAL CENTER & HAWAII STATE BONSAI REPOSITORY and received a congratulatory certificate from the Hawaii County Council of the County of Hawaii.

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       The Kurtistown Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center attracts a modest amount of visitors from all over the world. Most stay at hotels in the Kona-Kohala visitor destination area and make the 250 mile round trip to visit and select specific plants to hand carry or ship. During their day trip, they usually also visit nearby Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Others stay at Hilo or Volcano hotels or bread and breakfasts. There is a free workshop-demonstration beginning about 9AM on the second Saturday of each month.

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       On May 7, 1997 Hawaii County Mayor Stephen Yamashiro graciously issued a proclamation naming David W. Fukumoto as "Ambassador of Bonsai" for efforts to promote the Big Island as an International Bonsai Mecca. Fuku-Bonsai's collection has the widest variation of artistic pot plants in the world including Japanese bonsai, Chinese penjing, Hawaiian tropical outdoor bonsai and our specialty True Indoor Bonsai. We have especially received compliments on outstanding Ficus (banyan) bonsai, rock plantings, tray landscapes, and numerous innovative new bonsai concepts. Fuku-Bonsai does not charge for instruction and there is no admission fee. 
Certif1a8#3.jpg (22845 bytes)         On August 31, 1997 David W. Fukumoto received a certificate from the Council of the City and County of Honolulu as a co-founder of the Hawaii Bonsai Association on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. David was also a co-founder of the Big Island Bonsai Association in 1981 and the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation in 1986. He assisted in the formation of the North American Bonsai Federation, Latin America Bonsai Federation, and the World Bonsai Friendship Federation in 1989.
   1997-2007  THE LEGAL WAR!   In several cases after our 1994 product liability settlement, it became known that the DuPont data that was the basis of our settlement was shown to be a flagrant misrepresentation and Fuku-Bonsai was amongst the first to "affirm the product liability settlement and sue for fraud and punitive damages." Fraud was already a matter of court record, but DuPont used every possible legal maneuver to delay, distract, and to greatly increase the costs of litigation. They were assisted by a judicial system that included very questionable decisions made by a federal judge that sent our case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals twice, to the Hawaii Supreme Court, etc. In 2007 after 10 years of brutal legal war, we were forced to settle on the eve of finally going to trial.  A summary of the legal war is posted at www.fukubonsai.com/1a8a.html titled "Fuku-Bonsai v. DuPont;  Right v. Might!"

                Benlate residual contamination weakened Brassaia and it became impossible to produce our former quality plants and we were forced to switch.  For many years, nothing would grow in the pile of media that was removed from the benches that were sprayed with the Benlate.  The exception was Dwarf Schefflera! Dwarf Schefflera was introduced into Hawaii about 1972 and was so widely distributed throughout the United States by Hawaii's certified nursery industry that the common name is "Hawaiian Umbrella Tree."

                Fuku-Bonsai was amongst the first to train it as bonsai and originated the major breakthroughs. The Dwarf Schefflera bonsai at Fuku-Bonsai are believed to be the oldest Dwarf Schefflera Bonsai in the world.  Yet top Japanese grand masters consider them as "World-class Masterpiece" category even though they have been in training only since the 1970's.  For bonsai, this is very short.  It's demonstrates that Dwarf Schefflera is ideal as an "AMERICAN BONSAI!"  IT GROWS QUICKLY AND IT GROWS INDOORS!   It is the proven most durable of all houseplants that have the ideal bonsai traits. 

                In October 2000, we launched our efforts to effectively teach how to train.  Fuku-Bonsai's True Indoor Bonsai are already the most successful gift bonsai because they meet the two basic rules for success. They are the best indoor bonsai for those who can grow houseplants and all have been pre-trained and already have character. "Rule #3" is formally stated:  "For best growth, create the optimum growing conditions and environment." 


prem keiki wkshop 2.jpg (34648 bytes)     2001  "FUKU-BONSAI PREMIUM KEIKI BONSAI WORKSHOP PACKAGE" is developed to include Premium Prepared Keiki Bonsai Stock, a Fuku-Bonsai 8" diameter x 2" round plastic bonsai pot, coarse bottom media, body media, fine top dressing, tie-down wire, and the Keiki Bonsai Handbook.  These and other efforts make Fuku-Bonsai's True Indoor Bonsai the easiest and most successful way to learn and understand bonsai. 
               2001-2002: Introduced "LIVING LOVABLES;"  a line of smaller potted bonsai in "Sumo!," "Roots!," and "Hawaiian Dragon!" stylings. Fuku-Bonsai evolves into a unique value-added product development, fulfillment, and niche marketing company with direct retailing at the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center, mail order and the internet.
Micro-Lobster II photo 72dpi.jpg (50347 bytes)         2003 (June 23):  With a replacement crop showing promise, and having kept faith with the initial bonsai supporters that created Fuku-Bonsai Inc., the corporation's second major specialty was introduced!  THE AMAZING HAWAIIAN MICRO-LOBSTERS!™ may seem unrelated to bonsai, but growing these special creatures share many of the same nurturing and design concepts in a very tiny scale! Just as Fuku-Bonsai encourages the teaching of bonsai principles to children, these unique long-lived creatures have valid lessons of man and nature in harmony!  NOTE:  In 2016,  we ended the Micro-Lobster project to focus and expand our bonsai specialty that has fully recovered.
              2006: We finally were able to accept credit cards! Increased seeding begins for large future crops that will mature in 2010, 2011 and beyond.  To produce highest quality bonsai and to produce character in the trunk within one inch of the soil line,  it is necessary to begin training seedlings shortly after they germinate.  The minimum ages of the plants Fuku-Bonsai ships are 3 to 5 years in training.  We grow huge quantities and use professional techniques to cull out weak plants and those with poor bonsai characteristics.  WE ONLY SHIP HIGHEST QUALITY!

               2007-08: INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOP PACKAGE created to end the search for the bonsai educational holy grail to learn (or teach) "Create Your First Bonsai!" classes. Fuku-Bonsai receives Hawaii Agricultural Development Program grants to rebuild. DuPont agrees to settle the fraud litigation. Start of planning a new Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center in Kurtistown.

                2009: David begins writing an article in each issue of the American Bonsai Society Journal. Salable inventory (available because of the recession and increased production) is quickly committed to all of the KTA Super Stores. Plans begin to refinance Fuku-Bonsai.

          2010: Fuku-Bonsai received a USDA-Rural Business Enterprise Grant to rebuild 50% of the nursery benches and to build plant racks for large scale production of the breakthrough 2" prepared bonsai stock. We continue our dream to make the Big Island of Hawaii a Bonsai Mecca and for bonsai to become a bridge to international friendship and peace!  The photo shows "Fuku-Bonsai Nursery Section D" which has a total of 120 benches each 6' wide x 10' long, most of which are new.  The old bench design lasted over 30 years.  With waterproof leg cleats and aluminum sheeting, these benches are expected to last for 50 years! 
            NURSERY"  (2010-2011 Summary Report)
             We’ve been consistently underfinanced, understaffed, and under-rated! Fuku-Bonsai’s True Indoor Bonsai is now recognized as the most successful gift bonsai for anyone anywhere who can grow houseplants. The challenges ahead are formidable but we will strive to be the best source of this high-quality, most popular American-Hawaiian form of bonsai.  David Fukumoto completed the Export University short course at UH-Hilo.     

          2012:  The Fukumotos celebrate 50 years in bonsai and the photo shows our original Brassaia bonsai and an assortment of our new Dwarf Schefflera specialty. In spite of largely overcoming the loss of over $30 million due to defective Benlate  it is impossible to obtain institutional loans until we achieve consistent positive cashflow! We survived due to hard work, private loans, purchases of Fuku-Bonsai Inc. stock and staff,  stockholders,  associates,  and customers support. 

          Usually with young bonsai, the deep pot is the most noticeable. We began "1:10 Project" trials to develop technology to utilize shallow saucer-pots that were 10 times wider than deep so only the edge would show and the plant stand out.  Fuku-Bonsai and the 501(3)(c) Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation partnered to form the first large scale bonsai vertically integrated to educate, supply plants, and provide personal assistance with a long-term project "MAKING THE BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII AN INTERNATIONAL BONSAI MECCA!

          2013. The premier issue of the monthly email Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai was to create a True Indoor Bonsai community!  Foundation president Michael Imaino celebrates 30 years of bonsai by doing major work on a Port Jackson exposed root cascade in training for 30 years. With VP Edison Yadao who joined us in 1999 and Antonio Diaz. 
           "THE WORLD OF BONSAI ALOHA!" was created in December 2013 as the second major 360° Complex Landscape mounted on a turn-table. It was immediately recognized as an international breakthrough and the story was requested by Bonsai Clubs International's magazine.  So we held back the Journal of Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai so both magazines would publish simultaneously in their April 2014 issues.  It was dedicated to Ted T. Tsukiyama to honor his lifelong contributions to local, national and international bonsai. The story of the creation, the dedication, and tributes are posted at www.fukubonsai.com/4a20.html 
         "DRAGON RAMPART . . . A Celebration of Fuku-Bonsai!" was created in April 2014 as the third major 360°Complex Landscape less than half the size of previous efforts, but much more complex and with an interpretive fantasy theme.  This is the result of a Fast-Track Study Group project that is teaching advanced bonsai via the Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai, email and website.  The details of the concept, steps, planting and refinement is posted at www.fukubonsai.com/4a21.html  
           2014    In November, a major computer crash ended our monthly email newsletter and we again struggled.  Suppliers went out of business and we needed to reinvent our product lines. The oldest Dwarf Schefflera are developing well with more moving into CUSTOM COLLECTION.  Fuku-Bonsai conducts a year-long field evaluation trial of struvite extracted from municipal sewage treatment plants as a possible slow-release high-phosphorous fertilizer.


           2015    Fuku-Bonsai was part of a team with a provisional patent to evaluate deep sea nutrients extracted from the 4,000' deep pipe at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) at Keahole-Kona as part of a sea water reverse osmosis (SWRO) pre-treatment prior to desalination to create high-value bottled drinking water.  We were not able to raise sufficient funds or support and the project was awarded to a Chinese company. 

          2016   Collaboration efforts with DHC result in extraordinary results and receipt of first samples of HAWAIIANITE.  Several simple trials confirm that the Hawaiianite in development has both the desirable non-burning and non-leaching traits;  that most of the high-phosphorous nutrients are in citrate-soluble controlled release form, and that the additional magnesium and calcium are an improvement over the original MagAmp. The first gutsy "Excessive Use Trials" produce incredible results showing that by sharply limiting the amount of water-soluble nitrogen, that there will be very little or no burning and larger amounts can be safely used in fewer applications to produce reduced labor and other costs.  The non-leaching traits will not require refertilizing after heavy rains to reduce costs and also result in environmental benefits.   Hawaiianite is the only citrate-soluble high-phosphorous fertilizer with "on-demand" release that automatically allows plants to adjust to environmental or seasonal light, temperature, and humidity changes. It is the superior univeral fertilizer for everyone.

           2017   The year began with developing HAWAIIANITE introductory information, planning fund-raising strategies, and the marketing/ distribution plan.  Trials are producing exceptional results not possible with standard water-soluble fertilizers.  The website HAWAIIANITE PORTAL has been installed.  Invitations to become major stockholders are being forwarded and a HAWAIIANITE SUPPORTER fund-raising program is being developed to build a community to aid in making Hawaiianite available to everyone and to continue to improve it as the outstanding universal fertilizer for everyone!


         2018  FUKU-BONSAI AGAIN ENTERS A NEW ERA!   We begin raising funds to capitalize the Hawaiianite project and start plans for expansion!  In August, we launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise working capital to begin expansion.
         Two weeks later on August 24. Hurricane Lane dropped a record 52" of rain on the Kurtistown rainshed causing a +3' high x +100' wide flash-flood that caused extensive damage and the loss of over 50 world-class bonsai and other losses.  We will rebuild, but in another higher location. Fortunately the nursery was not affected and we continue sales and shipping. 

         2019  With help,  we can now make major website changes and again started planning for a monthly email FBnews newsletter, that stopped after the November 2014 computer crash. We will use Constant Contact to maintain the emailing list.  On February 10 we completed the EXCESSIVE USE TRIAL (1-YEAR REPORT) that dramatically shows that Hawaiianite™ is safe, non-burning, "citrate-soluble," on-demand, universal fertilizer for everyone!
             For more information, contact David W. Fukumoto, president & founder, Fuku-Bonsai Inc. (PO Box 6000, Kurtistown, HI 96760; Phone (808) 982-9880; Email: david.f@fukubonsai.com; URL: www.fukubonsai.com


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