The above photo was taken in 2012 when David and Myrtle Fukumoto celebrated 50 years of marriage and growing bonsai. The left tree is our first bonsai (Brassaia actinophylla) that began in our newly weds apartment. Brassaia (schefflera) was our original specialty. The mini-bonsai group are Dwarf Schefflera (Schefflera arboricola) which are superior for True Indoor Bonsai and our current specialty.
With roots in a Fukumoto family hobby begun in 1962, Fuku-Bonsai as a sole proprietorship became Hawaii's first certified export nursery in 1973, and evolved into a corporation in 1985 to own and operate both the 12-acre Kurtistown nursery and a 17-acre Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center as a major visitor attraction in the then developing Kona-Kohala visitor destination area. The center had a soft opening in 1990 and a formal grand opening in 1992. It was an artistic success but a financial challenge resulting in a 29-year long battle for survival due to spraying contaminated DuPont Benlate that caused over $30 million of losses! It's a long story, but we survived, got hit again, will recover, and build a major new Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center.
The early years saw David Fukumoto as an early English speaking bonsai instructor, co-founder of bonsai clubs and the umbrella non-profit Hawaii Bonsai Association (HBA) and as the youngest behind-the-scenes supporter of a Hawaiian bonsai renaissance that evolved into Hawaii playing a major role in creating "international bonsai." The effort was lead by the Hawaii's World War II "Greatest Generation" in support of the leadership of Saburo Kato of Japan.
Japan's 1979 World Bonsai Convention was followed by Hawaii's landmark 1980 International Bonsai Congress (IBC) co-sponsored by HBA, Bonsai Clubs International, American Bonsai Society, and included the first international participation by Nippon (Japan) Bonsai Association. The effort culminated in the formation of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation in 1989 in Omiya, Japan and was followed by the IBC 1990 Hawaii. Having played a major support role in that 10-year period, at IBC 90 Hawaii, Fuku-Bonsai International Honor Roll plaques were presented to Saburo Kato (Japan), Haruo "Papa" Kaneshiro (Hawaii), John Naka (California), Yee-sun Wu (Hong Kong), Akiji Kataoka (Japan), and Ted Tsukiyama (Hawaii).
Unfortunately in 1989, Fuku-Bonsai sprayed defective Benlate contaminated with weed killers that caused over $30 million of losses eventually including the Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center. Besides loss of extensive aged inventory, residual contamination required creating all new crops and a new business model. The net proceeds of the 1994 Benlate product liability and the 2007 DuPont fraud settlements totaled less than 10% of our losses after taxes and legal costs. Fuku-Bonsai formally partnered with Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation to co-sponsor the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center & Hawaii State Bonsai Repository as a visitor attraction, to co-publish the monthly email Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai, and to enlarge educational workshops and activities. With the support of the community and several grants we survived and began rebuilding.
By 2011 we were ready to start expansion but were blocked by the economic disaster and recession that followed "9-11". A major computer crash in November 2014 temporarily ended the Journal, but there's renewed commitment, major computer and website improvements, and progress again. In August 2018 we began making plans for expansion and started a GoFundMe fund-raiser to raise working capital to complete recovery and start expansion.
Unfortunately again, on the night of August 24, 2018 category 4 Hurricane Lane dropped 52" of rain on the Kurtistown watershed and sent a 3' high x +100' wide flash-flood through the low section of the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center for several hours causing extensive and major damage. 3' of water in buildings soaked everything and required replacement of phones, computers, printers, and all records. It tore through the nursery potting house, constuction shed, and downstairs storage areas. It completely washed away the sales greenhouse, benches, and salable inventory! But most heartbreaking was the damage to the exhibit collection and the lost of many priceless world-class bonsai.
Fortunately, the bulk of the nursery inventory was on high ground and not affected. In a short time, we have a temporary sales area and with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reopened, visitor counts are increasing and we continue to mail order and ship to all parts of the United States. We will rebuild the sales and workshop greenhouse and bonsai exhibit, then focus on fund-raising and planning a new Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center on an unused 5-acres on high ground to the scale of the Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center. Stay tuned!
This portal will include links to REBUILDING FUKU-BONSAI AGAIN!
SELECTED SIGNIFICANT FUKU-BONSAI ARTICLES
|www.fukubonsai.com/1a.html||Our Bonsai Mission & Philosophy|
|www.fukubonsai.com/1a2.html||The Challenge of Bonsai|
|www.fukubonsai.com/1a2a.html||BONSAI NO KOKORO by Ted T. Tsukiyama|
|www.fukubonsai.com/1a2e.html||Visiting Fuku-Bonsai Kurtistown (2005?)|
|www.fukubonsai.com/1a2f.html||Kurtistown/Fuku-Bonsai growth report (2008)|
|www.fukubonsai.com/1a3a.html||Fuku-Bonsai Begins a New Era! 2010-2011|
|www.fukubonsai.com/1a8.html||History of Achievements & Accomplishments|
|www.fukubonsai.com/2a5.html||Develolping True Indoor Bonsai|
|www.fukubonsai.com/2b1a.html||Fuku-Bonsai's Daruma Philosophy|
|www.fukubonsai.com/3b1.html||The Search for the Bonsai Educational Holy Grail|