Since the late 1970's Saburo Kato, Haruo Kaneshiro, John Naka, and Ted Tsukiyama worked tirelessly to create the World Bonsai Friendship for the pure love of bonsai. The catalyst for the creation of WBFF was “Expo '70” held in 1970 in Osaka, Japan. During this World's Fair, the efforts and unity of the Japanese bonsai community, including Saburo Kato's noble precept of "World Peace through Bonsai," was formulated.
Once established, WBFF's Bylaws divided the world into 9 regions, and required that each region would have a regional organization represented on the WBFF Board of Directors. The regions comprised:
2. Australia/New Zealand
3. China (including Taiwan)
7. Asia-Pacific (excluding China, India and Japan)
8. Latin America (including Mexico and the Caribbean)
9. North America (Canada/U.S.A)
WBFF's North American Region originally included Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. However, with deference to their languages differences, the WBFF Bylaws were later amended to place Mexico and the Caribbean in the Latin American Region. Hence, since 2007 the North American Region has included only Canada and the United States,
The first four WBFF World Bonsai Conventions were held:
1st in Omiya, Japan (1989);
2nd in Orlando, Florida (1993);
3rd in Seoul, Korea (1997);
4th World Bonsai Convention in Munich, Germany (2001)
During the 4th World Bonsai Convention in Munich in 2001, the North American Region was again selected to host a World Bonsai Convention, this time for the 5th World Bonsai Convention to be held in Washington, D.C. in 2005. In addition, the WBFF Bylaws were amended in 2001 to pass the Chairmanship of WBFF to the President of the regional organization selected to host the next World Bonsai Convention, so from that time forward the WBFF Chairmanship has rotated every four years.
The World Bonsai Conference in Osaka, Japan 1980
Felix Laughlin became the WBFF Chairman from 2001 to 2005 with Saburo Kato becoming Honorary Chairman of WBFF and Daizo Iwasaki appointed WBFF Vice-Chairman.
5th World Bonsai Convention in Washington, DC in 2005
The Latin American Region was selected as the regional host for the 6th World Bonsai Convention to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2009. At the end of the 5th World Bonsai Convention, Solita Rosade, as President of the Latin American Bonsai Federation, succeeded Felix Laughlin as WBFF Chairman,
6th World Bonsai Convention held San Juan, Puerto Rico
During the 6th World Bonsai Convention in San Juan in 2009, the China Region was selected as the regional host for the 7th World Bonsai Convention in Jin Tan, China
7th World Bonsai Convention held in Jin Tan, China in 2013
Hu Yun Hua succeeded Solita Rosade as the WBFF Chairman for the period 2009 to 2013. During the 7th World Bonsai Convention in Jin Tan, China in 2013 the Japanese Region was selected as regional host for 2017 and Jiro Fukuda became the organisations’ Chairman. Naemi Iwasaki was appointed as Vice-Chairman.
8th World Bonsai Convention held in Saitama Japan in 2017
During the 8th World Bonsai Convention in Saitama Japan during 2017, the Australia/New Zealand Region was selected as regional host for 2021. Lindsay Bebb became WBFF Chairman and Naemi Iwasaki continued in the role of Vice-Chairman.