A NEW INTERNATIONAL BONSAI ERA!
"INTERNATIONAL BONSAI" began after Japan rebuilt following World War II with a "coming out" at the Expo 70 World Fair. The major bonsai exhibit by the Nippon Bonsai Association ran for several months and exposed bonsai to a huge number of people and created world interest. Other major international events:
- 1976: Japan presents a bi-centennial bonsai gift to the United States. This provided the catalyst to create the National Bonsai Foundation and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the US National Arboretum in Washington DC. This is the most varied collection of all forms of artistic pot plants.
- 1980: World Bonsai Convention in Osaka, Japan with agreement to form a world bonsai organization. The July 1980 International Bonsai Congress in Hawaii co-sponsored by Bonsai Clubs International and the Hawaii Bonsai Association included the first international participation by Nippon Bonsai Association.
- 1989: World Bonsai Friendship Federation formed in Omiya. The dream of Saburo Kato and international bonsai leaders of the World War II generation comes true! Nippon Bonsai Association underwrites the expenses and provides the leadership for the first 12 years.
- 2001: Leadership of WBFF rotates to the president of the North American Bonsai Federation who hosts of the next World Bonsai Convention in 2005 in Washington DC.
|Felix Laughlin (on right), the second WBFF chairman with Japan bonsai grand master and WBFF chairman emeritus Saburo Kato at Mansei-en Bonsai Garden in Omiya, Japan. Felix is a tax attorney and an outstanding bonsai leader. He's also the president of the North American Bonsai Federation and the president of the National Bonsai Foundation. Felix Laughlin photo.|
|The transitional meeting of the older and newer leaders of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation in May 2002. From left: Ted Tsukiyama, WBFF chairman and NABF president Felix Laughlin, Hiromi Nakoji Elias, WBFF Latin America region representative and Bonsai Clubs International president Solita de Tafur Rosade, Japan region director and WBFF vice-chairman Daizo Iwasaki, Saburo Kato, and John Naka) Ted Tsukiyama photo|
|At the dedication of the Saburo Kato Stroll Garden at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. on May 17, 2002. The garden is at the entrance to the Japanese Pavilion which houses the Japanese 1976 Bi-centennial Bonsai Gift to the United States. With him is his close and special friend John Naka who supported and assisted him in forming the World Bonsai Friendship Federation and Daizo Iwasaki who succeeds him as Japan's WBFF director and WBFF vice-chairman." (From left to right: Mr. & Mrs. Saburo Kato, John Naka, and Mr. & Mrs. Daizo Iwasaki) Ted Tsukiyama photo|
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please visit the new WORLD BONSAI FRIENDSHIP FEDERATION website at http://www.bonsai-wbff.org
In 1990 at the International Bonsai Congress in Hawaii, six individuals from the very special "World War II generation" were honored and presented Fuku-Bonsai International Honor Roll plaques including: Haruo "Papa" Kaneshiro (Hawaii), Saburo Kato (Japan), John Naka (California), Yee-Sun Wu (Hong Kong), Ted Tsukiyama (Hawaii) and Akiji Kataoka (Japan). INTERNATIONAL BONSAI would not have been possible without their leadership and desire to make bonsai a bridge to international friendship and peace.
Since the late 1970's Saburo Kato, Haruo Kaneshiro, John Naka, and Ted Tsukiyama worked tirelessly to create the World Bonsai Friendship Federation and the North American Bonsai Federation. I gave them my full and unqualified commitment and support in a behind-the-scenes manner and it was inspiring to be a spectator observing steady progress made in spite of the slowness of international diplomacy.
Papa passed away. Yee-Sun Wu is 99 years old. Kato, Naka, and Tsukiyama are slowing down. And now the leadership torch has been passed to Felix Laughlin, the president of the National Bonsai Foundation with an exemplary bonsai leadership record. He's amongst the most qualified bonsai leaders of the current generation. As a well-respected tax attorney, he is not involved in selling bonsai goods or services and contributes for the pure love of bonsai.
I've transferred my full and unqualified support to Felix. He is doing an outstanding job of carefully reinvigorating WBFF and the North American Bonsai Federation which were almost shadow organizations with little or no activity. Felix is establishing a world-wide bonsai communication network. He recruited Andy Rutledge to be the webmaster of a joint WBFF-NABF website and worked with him to build the website which is now live and online. The joint website will be hosted by NABF and in the future the NABF website will also go live online as a second organization on the same joint website.
Felix has asked me to be NABF editor. In spite of my hellish amount of activity, it's very difficult to say no to Felix who accepted the authority and responsibility for two major organizations in addition to the National Bonsai Foundation! Because of the very special circumstances, I have consented to take a public position. I do so in spite of my belief that leaders of bonsai organizations should not be bonsai professionals.
But I follow in the giant footsteps of Saburo Kato and John Naka who both were bonsai professionals. But unlike them, I do not intend to hold the public position for any length of time. Just as I served a single term as director of the American Bonsai Society, I will step down as soon as possible. I will assist in the start-up phase and recruit qualified bonsai editors, writers, publishers, and webmasters. I will train, mentor, and otherwise assist those willing and able to take on responsibilities. And as soon as they are ready and able, I will recommend that a new team take over. I request that all Fuku-Bonsai customers urge their bonsai clubs to support and become members of the North American Bonsai Federation.
- ~~~David W. Fukumoto, president & general manager, Fuku-Bonsai Inc.
- Editor, North American Bonsai Federation
Also see a detailed Fuku-Bonsai Column #4 in THE BONSAI ENTHUSIAST - ONLINE JOURNAL, a $20 per year subscription online journal at www.bonsaienthusiast.com
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