John Naka is well known throughout the Bonsai community across the globe. His books and writings reveals knowledge from basic to advance for enthusiast to. More by John Yoshio Naka. Bonsai Techniques One. John Yoshio Naka. Bonsai Techniques II. John Yoshio Naka. Top of Page. My Account · Billing · Shipping. The Bonsai Clubs International’s BONSAI MAGAZINE; September-October ; Volume 42, Number 5 honored America’s premier master bonsai teacher John.

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With a heavy heart I learned of John’s passing on May 19, This extraordinary generation helped bonsai to survive the traumas of World War II, nurtured its regrowth, and dedicated it as a vehicle for nnaka friendship and peace. Ours was just one of countless honors. Yozhio has received the National Heritage Fellowship, our nation’s highest cultural award. He also received Japan’s Imperial Cultural Award. The bonsai world’s universal admiration galvanized and created the John Naka American Bonsai Pavillion that became the centerpiece and the catalyst that is now the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum in Washington D.

John Yoshio Naka

John Yoshio Naka was our beloved American original who achieved excellence in bonsai as an art, craft, hobby, and as a profession. He set the highest standards of unselfish sharing jon the pure love of bonsai for all who follow.


We first naia at the National Bonsai Convention in Pasadena where I saw “Goshin,” his masterwork featuring an American forest with bleached jins that validly interpreted California’s redwood forests. In the years that followed, John’s skills, activities, and fame grew as he developed into an influential leader and traveled throughout the world sharing both the technical and philosophical aspects of bonsai.

He joined others in supporting and promoting bonsai as a bridge to international friendship and peace. A few years later, he accepted a Big Island Bonsai Association invitation that included visits to Kona and Waimea bonsai clubs and to view collections.

At each location, he unexpectedly improvised and initiated presentations. In Hilo, when offered choice collected materials, he was excited, wanted to train each in a different way, and just couldn’t choose between them! So at the formal presentation, he set the styling and supervised three teams to train three trees! At the International Bonsai Congress, he refined and set a long-term training strategy for the same three trees and supervised the potting into unique handmade jogn created especially for them by Japan’s master potter Akiji Kataoka of Tokoname’s Yamaaki kiln.

A Tribute to John Yoshio Naka

John Yoshio Naka was a unique individual who set high standards for all of us to try to follow. He was America’s first great bonsai professional who emerged out of the joshio of World War II to help create a more peaceful world.


He went beyond his bonsai specialty and touched the hearts and souls of people internationally. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing John for thirty years jphn we’ve had many opportunities to work together.

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Without exception, he was always the gracious statesman. Although he had considerable bonsai knowledge and skills, they were far exceeded by his love of bonsai yosuio of bonsai people and we’ll all miss him! On behalf of all who are associated with Fuku-Bonsai, I send deepest sympathies to Alice, his family, and to his closest friends.

Originally collected in Kona by Robert Moeller and twice trained by three teams in public presentations working under John’s supervision. The three trees have been developing under the care of Fuku-Bonsai curator Michael Imaino and received extensive training including major root management in the past year to improve the health of the trees. Articles and photographs of the detailed work of each of the three trees will be in future website articles.