The National Bonsai Foundation is driven by a passion for bonsai and the Museum. We're preserving a history, protecting a legacy, and preparing a future.

What most people don’t realize when visiting the Museum is that much of what they see would not be possible without the support of the National Bonsai Foundation.
— Jack Sustic, Retired Bonsai Curator


Founded in 1982, the National Bonsai Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit that works in cooperation with the U.S. National Arboretum to supply financial, programmatic and curatorial support for the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. The Foundation offices and Museum are located on the grounds of the Arboretum in Northeast Washington, DC.

This private/public collaboration between the Foundation and the Arboretum enables the Museum to promote the art of bonsai and penjing to visitors through masterpiece displays and educational programs while also fostering intercultural friendship and understanding.

Our History

In 1976, in honor of America’s Bicentennial, the people of Japan gave the gift of bonsai to the citizens of the United States. Once the trees arrived in Washington, DC, the Potomac Bonsai Association (PBA) provided volunteers to work with the staff of the U.S. National Arboretum to keep the trees in outstanding display condition. These first bonsai would later go on to form the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.

Group moves bonsai from Glenn Dale, MD to arboretum in 1976.

Janet Lanman

Janet Lanman

In 1979, PBA Volunteer, Janet Lanman along with Dr. John Creech, Director of the Arboretum and Marion Gyllenswan, a well known bonsai teacher, discussed the possibility of acquiring American bonsai. Later, a group of Arboretum volunteers, as well as students of Bonsai Master Yuji Yoshimura, organized the National Bonsai Committee. In 1982, the committee, which included Marion Gyllenswan, Janet Lanman, Felix Laughlin, Muriel Leeds, Chase Rosade and Jerold Stowell, formed the National Bonsai Foundation (NBF).

The National Bonsai Foundation recruited directors from all sections of the country, and established a board that included Marybel Balendonck, Larry Ragle, Melba Tucker, Frederic Ballard and H. William Merritt. The first Executive Director role was filled by MaryAnn Orlando.

In 1986, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Japanese Bicentennial gift, NBF held a Gala Celebration and set the agenda for the future. The goal coming out of that celebration was to build an American Bonsai Pavilion that would complement the Japanese Pavilion. The two pavilions would allow the similarities and differences in this ever-evolving art form to be studied and enjoyed. That dream became a reality in 1990. As part of the ongoing collaboration between the Arboretum and NBF a new section of the Museum was dedicated on October 1st of that year in honor of two American Bonsai Masters. Today, The Yuji Yoshimura Educational Center is a classroom and work space area, while the John Y. Naka North American Pavilion provides the display area for the North American bonsai collection.

OUR Milestones

The National Bonsai Foundation has had many milestones since its founding in 1982. See a full timeline of all of these important events by clicking the button below. 

People Behind the Foundation

The National Bonsai Foundation exists because of the dedication of these fine people.

The National Bonsai Foundation's Board of Directors (Spring 2018 - Stephen Voss Photography)

The National Bonsai Foundation's Board of Directors (Spring 2018 - Stephen Voss Photography)

Legacy Circle

John Creech (1920 – 2009), Harry Hirao (1917 – 2015) Daizo Iwasaki (1916 – 2011), Saburo Kato (1915 – 2008), John Naka (1915 – 2004), Yee sun-Wu (1902 – 2005), Yuji Yoshimura (1921 – 1997), Ted Tzukiyama (1921-2019)

Honorary Directors

  • Dr. Thomas S. Elias - Claremont, California

  • Mr. Jiro Fukuda - Tokyo, Japan

  • Mr. Yun-hua Hu - Shanghai, China

  • Mrs. Naemi Iwasaki - Niihama, Ehime, Japan

  • Barbara Hall Marshall - Kansas City, Missouri

  • Mr. Yasuo Mitsuya - Toyohashi, Aichi, Japan

  • Kazuo Moriyama - Mizuho ku Nagoa, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

  • F. Chase Rosade - New Hope, Pennsylvania

  • Hiroshi Takeyama - Ikenohata, Taito-ku Tokyo, Japan

  • Changbao Xin - Changzhou City, China

  • Keiko Yamane - Kamakara-City, Kanagawa, Japan

executive director

  • Dr. Johann F. Klodzen


  • Mr. Felix B. Laughlin (’20) - Asheville, North Carolina, Co-President

  • Mr. Jack Sustic (’19) - Durand, Michigan, Co-President

  • Mrs. Marybel Balendonck (’20) - Fullerton, California, Vice President

  • Dr. Carl Morimoto('21) - San Jose, California, Vice President

  • Mr. James Brant (‘20) - Royersford, Pennsylvania, Treasurer

  • Mr. Daniel Angelucci (‘21) - Harrison Township, MI, Secretary


  • Mr. Christopher Cochrane ('19) - Glen Allen, Virginia

  • Ms. Julie Crudele('20) - Annapolis, Maryland

  • Mr. Edward Fabian, ('21) - Niceville, Florida

  • Dr. Joseph Gutierrez ('21) - McLean, Virginia

  • Dr. Karen Harkaway ('21) - Moorestown, New Jersey

  • Mr. James Hughes ('20) - University Park, Maryland

  • Dr. Richard Kahn (‘22) - Alexandria, Virginia

  • Ms. Anne McClellan ('21) - Washington, DC

  • Ms. Cheryl Manning ('21) - Los Angeles, California

  • Mr. Brussel Martin (’19) - Olive Branch, Mississippi

  • Ms. Pauline Muth ('21) – West Charlton, NY

  • Mr. Douglas Paul ('21) - Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

  • Mr. Larry Ragle (’20) - Laguna Beach, California

  • Dr. Errol Reese ('19) - Hillsboro Beach, Florida

  • Mr. Glenn Reusch (’19) - Rochelle, Virginia

  • Mrs. Solita Rosade (‘21) - New Hope, Pennsylvania

  • Dr. Deborah Rose (’19) - Beltsville, Maryland

  • Mr. William N. Valavanis (’19) - West Henrietta, New York

  • Mrs. Janice Vitale (‘19) - Great Falls, Virginia

  • Mr. Stephen Voss ('21) - Washington, DC

  • Mr. Jack W. Wells (’19) - Sarasota, Florida

  • Mrs. Jane Yamashiroya ('19) - Honolulu, Hawaii


  • Mr. Chuck Croft - President, Potomac Bonsai Association

  • Mr. Mark Fields - President, American Bonsai Society


  • Dr. Richard Olsen, Director, U. S. National Arboretum

  • Mr. Scott Aker, Gardens Unit Leader, U.S. National Arboretum

  • Mrs. Carole Bordelon, Supervisory Horticulturist, U. S. National Arboretum

  • Mr. Michael James, Curator, National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

  • Ms. Kathleen Emerson-Dell, Assistant Curator, Artifact Collections, National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

DONORS (2018)

Click here for a full list of our generous 2018 donors.


  • Dr. Johann F. Klodzen, Executive Director

  • Mrs. Elizabeth Moffett, Burdette Smith & Bish LLC, Accountant

  • Kendra Rubinfeld & Travis Hare (KRPR), Communications Consultant & Web Designer

  • Danielle Grace, Social Media Intern

  • Mr. Alex Breyer, Snowden Lane Partners

Annual Reports

You can find the National Bonsai Foundation’s Annual Reports below:



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