OCTOBER 2022 UPDATE by David W. Fukumoto, president and founder 

            ALOHA!  Much has changed. Our website went online in 1999 as one of  the early bonsai websites and continues to be created in-house.  David and Myrtle Fukumoto began Fuku-Bonsai in 1973 as Hawaii's first certified export nursery as a family business with a remarkable beginning with annual expansion loans to meet market demand.  At our peak we shipped over 3,000 bonsai units each month. We were part of the Hawaii bonsai leadership that worked directly with Japan's grandmaster Saburo Kato to create "International Bonsai" and the World Bonsai Friendship Federation between 1970 to 1990.

              In 1985 Fuku-Bonsai incorporated to be the catalyst to build a 17-acre international bonsai center in the then developing Kona-Kohala visitor destination area.  We exchanged the entire profitable business for Fuku-Bonsai shares and were joined by over 200 mostly modest bonsai and Big Island stockholders.  The Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center opened to public acclaim in 1992 but was doomed as defective DuPont Benlate contaminated with weedkillers had been sprayed at the Kurtistown nursery and directly or indirectly this caused over $50 million of losses!

              DuPont offered to settle for a small amount   we refused, but when the bankruptcy creditors agreed, our only choice was to agree or be liquidated. We paid all creditors 100% + interest and in 1996, with no remaining creditors, the bankruptcy was cancelled. We lost the Kona center, retreated to the Kurtistown nursery, and with co-sponsorship of Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation (MPBF) we opened a second modest Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center. 

              We learned the information DuPont provided the bankruptcy court included major omissions and misrepresentation and "affirmed the Benlate settlement and sued DuPont for fraud --- and were subjected to another 10 years of legal bullying!  Fraud was already a matter of court record and Fuku-Bonsai had done the most to prove DuPont was the cause, suffered the most losses, but received the smallest settlements! DuPont's fraud is taught and said to be the most egregious fraud in the history of the United States judicial system! 

             Total net proceeds of both the 1994 Benlate product liability and the 2007 DuPont fraud after taxes and legal costs was less than 3% of our total losses!  LIFE IS NOT FAIR, BUT WE SURVIVED.  Many of the original 5,000+ Benlate plaintiffs are no longer in business.  We struggled as Benlate contamination prevented growing the original profitable crop and required totally new crops, and business plan. 

            Dwarf Schefflera is a superior TRUE INDOOR BONSAI™ plant but required a lot more customer information compared to our original Schefflera (Brassaia actinophylla).  We completed the switch in 2000 (although we first started growing dwarf schefflera from when it was first introduced about 1976).  Some of our original bonsai are the oldest dwarf schefflera bonsai in the United States. The entry tree shown in the photo above is mounted on a 72" diameter concrete disc on a turntable and features three major attractive "theme-views." 

            However,  we are currently short-handed and the nursery is not always open. Prior email appointments are strongly recommended.  Myrtle and I are both in the highest risk CORVID-19 categories and mask and social distancing is required.  Email to   No phone calls please but include in your email your cell phone number if it is necessary to contact you.  I am hard of hearing and struggle with phones.

           In 2018, Fuku-Bonsai suffered major Hurricane Lane flash-flood damage as reported at  and we are still recovering.  We lost most of our priceless exhibit and educational collection, but the main nursery was not damaged.  Inventory is at an all-time low, but we continue to sell out production.

           In October 2022, Fuku-Bonsai announced a major plan to REFINANCE AND RESTRUCTURE THE CORPORATION including seeking 200 new large and modest stockholders with minimum investment of $2,500.  You're invited to join us as we rebuild and recover.  We will be issuing a free monthly FBnews email newsletter and encourage signing up on the homepage. We reserve the right to limit and give Hawaii and past associates preference and it is not necessary to be an investor to be an active member of our public-private task force and True Indoor Bonsai community. 

          The Fukumotos continue to be the major stockholder and as part of their estate planning, will donate about 30% of all stock to Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation to start moving to include an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and evolving Fuku-Bonsai to be a semi-non-profit community benefit corporation as we develop a successor management team to benefit bonsai, staff, managers, stockholders, associates and the community.  We are continuing our efforts with our primary goal:  "MAKING THE BIG ISLAND AN INTERNATIONAL BONSAI MECCA!   Please email directly to if interested and for more information. 

            To provide more about us, I am retaining the original information about visiting Fuku-Bonsai.  I thank you for all past assistance and support and look forward to hearing from you!  ~~~ David



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                KURTISTOWN!   Our large sparsely-populated area was once homesteads where you could own property by clearing and working the land. It's a town of small business people with J. Hara Store, the post office, and BJ Service Station. Kurtistown is on Volcano Highway 11 about 10 miles from Hilo and 20 miles from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If you're coming from Hilo, you'll come through Keaau and begin noticing that it begins to feel cool.  After the 9-mile marker, look for an intersection sign for Olaa Road and your see a "BONSAI" sign right at the intersection of Volcano Highway and Olaa Road. If you're coming from Kona through Volcanoes National Park,  you'll past our small town's "business district" shown above.  Count nine houses and you'll see that first Fuku-Bonsai sign.

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            (Left photo)  The first of six signs is at the intersection of Volcano Highway and Olaa Road that will guide you to the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center & Hawaii State Bonsai Repository.  Olaa Road is a narrow one lane road with a posted 15 mph speed limit.   It twists and turns with hills and dips. Sign #2 is about 100 yards away and also says "Bonsai" vertically (but is smaller).  Sign #3 is similar and just after, you'll go down a hill, through a dip in the road, and be on on the flats.
            (Center photo) Here's sign #4.   Up to this point, the one lane road is paved. Turn right just after the sign into a gravel road. We're open Monday to Saturday from 8AM to 4PM. There's no admission fee and everyone is invited. 
            (Right photo) In the distance sign #5 is barely visible and you turn right again and continue up into the nursery. 

            NOTE:  The signs have been improved,  the Norfolk Pine windbreak is now gone, there's a small house on the corner, and the long driveway that was filled with deep potholes is now paved.  No need to park on Olaa Road and walk in during rainy seasons!




              NOTE:  In 1994, the Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center was forced to close and we retreated back to the Kurtistown nursery that previously was not open to visitors.  We began rebuilding and opened a modest new Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center & Hawaii State Bonsai Repository.  With the aid of small promotional displays throughout the Big Island at Fuku-Bonsai Promotional Partners, soon a small but steady stream of visitors found us in the middle of a former cane field!  This photo tour was added to the website about 1996.  

   Our modest Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center is in the midst of a former sugar cane field and this is the driveway entrance. No one is allowed into the growing areas of the nursery which is to the right of the driveway.
     The entrance area features a large Dwarf Schefflera "Entry Tree" that is mounted on a 6' diameter concrete disc with turntable hardware. The potting house is to the left.  Fuku-Bonsai is a working bonsai nursery and visitors can chat with the staff and observe the various activities going on. The day starts with the entire staff packing so plants are ready for the scheduled FedEx pick-ups on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
      Shipments go out to the continental US on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays and arrive within 48 hours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. We prefer that the parcels go out to arrive in midweek as most damage occurs when parcels are enroute over the weekend.  On the left is the Center office and packing shed with the sales area in front of the FedEx truck.
      Inside the packing area.  Sheet iron surfaced packing tables allow very efficient packing of small individual cartons as well as larger group bulk orders or to our wholesale accounts.  On the back partition, the Micro-Lobster Museum and Exhibit includes educational panels and some of the research tanks including new prototypes.
       I enjoy showing visitors the latest theories and every so often we have visitors who have more academic knowledge than we do and I learn too!  Since turning over most of the bonsai specialty to Michael, I've been deeply into Micro-Lobster research and development.
              NOTE: Micro-Lobsters were researched in the event we could never again effectively grow highest quality bonsai due to residual Benlate contamination.  We could not grow our original Brassaia crop and forced to develop a totally new crop!  Fortunately we learned to grow Dwarf Schefflera as a superior replacement crop.  But it is much more difficult and required a major reinvention of the company and its business plan.

              Now in 2015,  Fuku-Bonsai's Dwarf Schefflera specialty is the ideal gift bonsai that is suitable for anyone, anywhere who can grow houseplants!  We have largely rebuilt much of the nursery and it's time for us to refocus.  We are a bonsai company and with a growing future,  it's time for us to discontinue Micro-Lobster activities.


FEDEX.jpg (64795 bytes)       FedEx has an exceptional record and they make it possible for us to have a great lifestyle in a beautiful rural setting.  Their infrastructure and capabilities are impressive and when requested, we can track any shipment.  Fuku-Bonsai qualifies and has an assigned "One Call Representative"  who can arrange special handling when necessary.  This makes it possible to ship to destinations where low temperature are above freezing with very high success rates.  We use heat packs when necessary and even ship to Alaska for most months of the year!
     The bonsai sales area holds several hundred bonsai so visitors have a nice selection of plants to choose from. Each week, the staff brings in plants to be washed and dip-treated for shipment and to refill the sales area.  We conduct our workshops in this area. The cost of the workshops packages are the same as for our online customers and there is no charge for the staff supervision or teaching time.  The workshop result is shipped to anywhere in the US. But more often than not, other  plants are selected and when four or more are sent to the same address, shipping is free!
     This is a part of the center collection that includes Japanese bonsai, Chinese penjing, Hawaiian outdoor tropical and our specialty True Indoor Bonsai. It includes the Lyon Arboreteum / Fuku-Bonsai Ficus Research Collection and the Memorial Bonsai of the Hawaii State Bonsai Repository co-sponsored by the non-profit Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation.  
    Our insurance company and certified nursery regulations prohibit visitors from entering the nursery area.  As a certified nursery, all plants are grown from seeds and cuttings in non-soil media on benches.  Each bench is 6' wide by 40' long and there are over 250 benches. The nursery has millions of plants and this scale is necessary to spread out the overhead costs and keep our plants affordable.  Because of Hawaii's natural climate, plants do not need winter protection and this makes us the most efficient nursery specializing in houseplant bonsai which can be grown indoors anywhere in the United States.

         Puna is the fastest growing district in the State of Hawaii!  Volcano Highway 11 was widened, a traffic light has been installed, and the Kurtistown shopping/commercial district is expanding!





                The original Kurtistown nursery benches had been built in 1973, 1977, and 1983.  Each time the design was improved.  The first photo shows that some of the benches built 34 years ago in 1977 and some of them are still usable.  The metal has rotted and some tables have collapsed. The nursery has the equivalent of over 600 benches 6' wide and 10' long.  The current design features heavier wood framing, pre-finished aluminum roofing materials that will not rust or need painting, and waterproof cleats to prevent rotting where bench legs contact the wet ground. With these improvements, the new benches may last 50 years or more!   In 2010, Fuku-Bonsai had the highest rated USDA Pacific Region proposal and received a $90,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) for "Rebuilding Fuku-Bonsai Nursery!"  We were sponsored by the non-profit Big Island Resource Conservation and Development Council.   More information is at

          The Fukumotos moved to Kurtistown in 1973 to start Fuku-Bonsai as Hawaii's first certified export nursery in the middle of a district that was still mostly sugar cane fields.  The plantation graded the gravel road every two years prior to harvesting and visitors were not allowed. But after the Kona center closed and we opened the Kurtistown Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center, it was a bit embarrassing that an increasingly popular visitor attraction had a gravel road with deep potholes that prevented visitors during the rainy season. So the paved road is great!

            There have been steady improvements to our bonsai knowledge as well as at the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center as reported in the Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai.  Visitors enjoy seeing the specific plants that were the subject of articles.  With limited resources, we continued to make improvements in all areas.


            The above photo taken in February 2015 shows about half of the Fuku-Bonsai Dwarf Schefflera Exhibit and Educational Collection.  The center will be continually improved and visitors are able to visit a working bonsai nursery,  select certified plants for shipping to all parts of the United States,  and to take bonsai workshops with Fuku-Bonsai staff supervision.

            Each year, more of our oldest customers are finding us and we're delighted with the huge increase in customer success and interest in training True Indoor Bonsai. Email us for more information and consider a workshop!  Many visitors write to tell us it was the highlight of their Hawaiian vacation!  There's a lot more information in the portal section:  "VISITING FUKU-BONSAI AND THE BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII"  at   

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

            PO Box 6000 (Olaa Road), Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
            Phone (808) 982-9880, FAX (808) 982-9883;   Email: 
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