July 31, 2021

The Bonsai In The Karate Kid movie

The Karate Kid movie had many stars including a bonsai tree. For years many questions centrered on this bonsai. What type of bonsai appeared in the kararate kid movie? Who owned the the bonsai? Who cared for the bonsai?

In many scenes throughout the film, Mr. Miyagi had a tiny green tree that he brought with him everywhere he went . From time to time it would be in his hands, at others it was placed on a table or on the ground.

It is said that this tree was one of Mr. Miyagi’s favourite bonsai trees and he had trained it for years before karate kid movie had even been made

In karatedo scene, Johnny says ” I know karate ” but karate was unknown in america, karatedo scene in karate kid movie is unrealistic. In karatedo scene of karate kid, according to the rules neither one Johnny nor Mr. Miyagi should do karate moves on each other because they don’t have any observer or referee .

Because karate kid movie is karate kata, karatedo is kata based sport karate katas are pre-arranged forms of karate used for training and exhibition.

Some karatemen even think that karatedo scene in the film was irrelevant or fake because if they haven’t karate uniforms then why do they fight karate katas karate katas are not for fighting karate katas are often misunderstood.

The film makes a dramatic turn when Daniel LaRusso (played by Ralph Macchio) must train every morning before school and in the evenings after work, and reveals that Mr. Miyagi is actually former karatedo champion, karatedo kata are often misunderstood.

Karate is a martial art that primarily uses the hands and feet as weapons to defend against attackers . The karate katas were created by masters who discovered kihon or basic moves in karate katas, which can be practiced alone without an opponent .

So there are some questions about the type of karate performed. Some say it was fake. But not the bonsai; it was very real.

What was the bonsai tree in the movie?

The bonsai in the movie was a Ficus Bonsai. The ficus bonsai trees are very popular for use in bonsai. They have small leaves, which give the tree a dense canopy of shade. These trees do well indoors and make great gifts for family, coworkers or friends.

Ficus Bonsai Tree

The ficus is native to tropical areas of India, Southern China and Japan.

Ficus bonsai grow well in warm areas and do best when temperatures are  room temperature. They can be placed outdoors in summer, but they should be kept out of direct sunlight until the weather is warmer.

Because ficus bonsai trees have small leaves, large trunks and long branches, they are not ideal for use as table-top bonsai. They work best in large, shallow containers with wide bases.

Who owned the bonsai tree?

In the movie the actor who played Mr. Miyagi was Pat Morita, he is very famous for karate kid movie because of his great talent .

Pat morita was an American comedian and actor. Born in 1932 in Utsunomiya , Japan, Mr Morita has been an influential figure in the film industry and has made appearances in several blockbuster hit films including Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), The Karate Kid (1984) and The Adventures of Ninja Turtles (1993).

In 1993, Miyagi’s bonsai tree was destroyed by a monsoon after he left it outside.

Miyagi held the shattered pot in his hands before trying to put the pieces together, then realizing that it was time for Daniel (who had  returned) to learn karate on his own, even though this meant going against Miyagi’s wishes.

Pat Morita’s bonsai tree in his backyard

Pat Morita passed away on January 24, 2005. Pat was cremated and left everything to his wife, Nancy. One of the many things he left her was a 3 ft x 4 ft Ficus Benjamina Bonsai Tree .

The son of Pat Morita talked about his father and karate kid movie at a press conference on December 3, 2009 . In the interview, he said that: ” I never had the courage to ask my dad how much of Miyagi was true .”

” She showed me all these things – a jade ring (which was inscribed with a saying in Chinese) … and the bonsai tree … she said, “Dad wanted you to have this.”

They say that karate kid movie is far from reality, but for those who are interested in how much truth was involved in it at all .

It is nice to know that Mr. Miyagi’s bonsai tree was donated by his family after Pat Morita passed away .

How to care for a ficus bonsai like Mr Miyagi

1. Ficus trees need a lot of light and water, so make sure they are in an area with plenty of natural light

2. Keep the soil moist but not wet – if it’s too dry, add more water

3. Make sure to fertilize at least once each month for healthy growth

4. Trim any dead or damaged leaves by cutting them off at the base of the leaf stem

5. Be careful when handling your tree because its branches can be brittle and break easily

6. When you’re done caring for your ficus tree, clean up after yourself and put everything away where it belongs before you leave so that nothing is left out on display.

Tips on how to take care of an indoor or outdoor ficus tree

1. Don’t place your tree directly in front of a window, or anywhere there might be direct sunlight

2. Make sure to water the soil often so that its roots are well-hydrated  because the trees don’t have large root systems, they need to absorb water through their leaves and through the soil

3. If your tree starts to look like it’s dropping its leaves, there are a few reasons why this could be happening- but most of the time it’s due to overwatering or underwatering

4. Make sure that any containers you use for your ficus have good drainage holes so that water can easily drain.


The Karate Kid movie left a lasting impression on many people with its depiction of the bonsai tree. It’s hard to forget the iconic scene where Mr Miyagi shows Daniel-San his prized possession in their backyard garden and tells him “wax on, wax off.”

We’re not sure what happened to this specific bonsai after the film wrapped up production but we know that it was cared for by an unknown individual who rented out space from Mr. Miyagi.

Perhaps they passed it onto one another or maybe someone else took over caring for it when he died? Who knows! If you have any information about what became of this particular plant please let us know! In the meantime, subscribe to our newsletter below so you https:thebonsaimaster.com 

About the author 

Greg Reed

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