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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  1. Very interesting topic you posted from The Karate Kid movie. Actually I never realize about Bonsai tree in The Karate Kid movie, I love to watch it but focus on the fight scene only.

  2. That's really interesting to know! Really happy that you covered this topic. I was also wondering what type of bonsai it was when I first saw the movie. Anyways, amazing information and hope you guys keep it up!

  3. I just rewatched Karate Kid probably last month. I watched it when I was a kid. I always have the hugest crush with Ralph Macchio. It's nice to know some trivia about it like what type of bonsai was feaatured in the film. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I am also a big fan of the movie and watched it once or twice. But, the snap shown in the post is quite appealing regarding the bonsai tree which I did not observed that time, I will look to watch the movie again and realize the bonsai tree's thing.

  5. I have watched the Karate kid movie and loved that .And I also saw the bonsai tree there but at that time I didn't know that this is the bonsai tree.

  6. I watched Karate kid as a kid and I never noticed the bonsai ha ha. Seriously tho, this plant is awesome It is low maintenance in a general sense, I think the plant is a metaphor for the message of the movie.

  7. I am trying to look back if I ever watch a Karate Kid series before. But I can't think of any. Maybe I am still a baby that time. Anyway, Bonsai trees are really beautiful amazing plants. Thank you for the tips on how to take care of these plants.

  8. I enjoyed this movie totally. But to be sincere I had no idea about the bonsai tree in the movie, it is actually informative.

  9. I've always wanted to grow a Bonsai tree after watching the movie karate Kid years back then. My late grandmother has this plant in his garden and it is really beautiful However, I really don't have any idea as to how to grow it. I am thankful that this blog shared tips on how to take care of such a tree. Now I am getting ready to do it.

  10. Another knowledge has been gained. This one is Ficus Bonsai and as expected, it isn’t so hard to care for. Thanks for this write up.

  11. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful it was the movie caption for me at first karate Kid. Threes are source of life to human. And beautiful step in caring for a ficus bonsai.

  12. I always like to watch karate movie but I never noticed of bonsai tree role . But I again will watch the movie for this. Really their small leaves is the beauty of bonsai tree.

  13. The karate movie was very interesting with respect to the Bonsai tree and the lesson taught. I never knew that the tree looks beautiful most especially when flowering. Also wish to know who later looks after the tree in the movie. Nice one

  14. The karate kid was a beautiful movie and I did notice the bonsai and the care it received as well. The tips you shared will certainly be helpful in raising one and the fact that I stay in a warm area.

  15. I saw the bonsai tree when I first watched karate kid in 2011. The bonsai tree is a fine looking tree which everyone will be willing to have in his or her home, but unfortunately it doesn't grow in all demographics.

  16. This is a wonderful story..I have watched the karate movie many times from part 1 to 3..I didn't even know that Mr Miyagi real name is
    Pat Morita . Another surprising thing is that I didn't know he was the real owner of the bonsai tree. Karate kid was the movie that made me realize their is something called bonzai tree. I could see the way Mr Miyagi cherished it. I thought he was only acting not knowing he cherish the tree real life.. Its good to know that the bonzai tree in karate movie is real though .Thanks for the insight

  17. I watched the movie it was interesting and I also noticed Mr Miyagi carrying a plant around, I didn't even know the name of the plant was bonsai interesting to know. Thanks

  18. I've seen this movie, yet I didn't notice the bonsai tree that time. I'm getting interested. Might watch this movie again sometime.

  19. Though the way the tree disappear and reappear is funny but the lesson in it is superb. Another things are the procedure required for making good tree in terms of how it should be handled and taking care.

  20. Oh my God! Flashing back now, I do remember seeing that tree in the karate kid and I used to wonder what kind of plant was that? Thanks for refreshing my memory. The tips of taking care of the tree are on point.

  21. Though to me, the disappearing as well as reappearing of the tree is a magic but it is a means of fascinating the spectators. Thanks for this information.

  22. I love this type of movie. This blog is very important for all kids. I remember my childhood when I seen this movie.i really love so much.

  23. I love this type of movie. This blog is very important for all kids. I remember my childhood when I seen this movie.i really love so much. Thanks for sharing this information.

  24. Funny enough I have seen the movie karate kid more than ones and I did not notice the bonsai tree… Thanks for bringing this to our attention,I will do well to check it out.

  25. Thanks for sharing. I always wondered about what type of Bonsai was used in the movie. I watched the movie for the first time when I was very young and I think it was the first time I saw a bonsai. I had no idea about the existence of these tiny trees.

  26. I always wonder what kind of bonsai is in the karate kid movie. Being able to witness how bonsai trees are cut and taken care of. I can that those person do have a high tolerance and very patient.

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