The Rafu Shimpo

The Rafu Shimpo is the premier newspaper of the Japanese American community. Since 1903, it has provided bilingual coverage and analysis of Nikkei news in Los Angeles and beyond. Visit the Rafu Shimpo website to read articles and to explore subscription options for print and online news.

Updated September 2015

community en

Philanthropist Tomoye Takahashi Dies at 100

Tomoye “Tami” Takahashi, co-founder and owner of the Takahashi Trading Company, passed away peacefully on June 4, just short of turning 101 years old.

Tomoye was known by many as a walking encyclopedia and had a wealth of knowledge and stories about the history and people of the Japantown community going back to its founding in 1906, following the Great San Francisco Earthquake. This year marks the 110th anniversary celebration of Japantown in the Western Addition.

Born on August 16, 1915, in San Francisco, she was the eldest daughter of Tomoyuki Nozawa and Masano Ozawa, both of whom immigrated from …

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community en ja

Voices of the Volunteers: The Building Blocks of the Japanese American National Museum

William “Bill” Hiroshi Shishima

Bill Shishima grew up eating gohan along with lingua (tongue), seso (brain), and menudo (tripe soup). His father ran a grocery store near Olvera Street, in the Mexican American community of Los Angeles. The store was stocked with items such as chile and masa for tamales. In the store’s kitchen, they made chorizo from leftover scraps.

On weekends, Mexican American residents from Chavez Ravine would stop by Bill’s parents’ store to place their orders. Bill’s father would then have a worker deliver the orders to Chavez Ravine and collect the money.

Bill’s older brother was in the Maryknoll Boy Scout …

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sports en

Olympic Medalist Tommy Kono Dies at 85

Tommy Tamio Kono, who won three Olympic medals in weightlifting and became head coach of the U.S. Olympic weightlifting team, died on April 24, 2016, in Honolulu, according to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. He was 85.

According to KHON2, a family member said Kono passed away at 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon from complications of liver cirrhosis.

His family said in a statement, “The family would like to thank all of his friends and especially the lifters at the Nuuanu YMCA. He was an inspiration to all who knew him.”

Kono’s Olympic gold medals were in the lightweight division at 149 …

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community en ja

Voices of the Volunteers: The Building Blocks of the Japanese American National Museum

Gary Ono

Gary Ono’s sunny Little Tokyo apartment is a monument to the things he loves.

Behind his dining room table hangs a Japanese illustrative scroll—vintage and yellowing—that shows the Japanese emperors in neat rows leading all the way back to their godly, mythical ancestors, Izanami and Izanagi. On the next wall are calligraphy scrolls, each maybe five feet tall, their dark brushstrokes painted by Mrs. Takeda, the nonagenarian who lived in the apartment before Gary moved in.

Farther along the wall, in stark contrast to these monochromatic Japanese artifacts, is an American flag.

This (also a hand-me-down from Mrs. Takeda) Gary …

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community en

Buena Vista: Haven in the Desert Exhibit Covers 118 Years of Alameda History

At Buena Vista United Methodist Church’s annual Spring Bazaar, as you follow the delicious aroma of chicken teriyaki on the barbecue, be sure to find a special place to reflect on a century of Alameda history—Buena Vista: Haven in the Desert for 118 Years, a historical exhibit tucked away in the sanctuary area.

As you enter, you will hear the wistful notes of the koto. Stop and look at photos of Japanese men in stiff suits standing with missionary women, taken a century ago. Have your name written in katakana or kanji. You will be tracing the steps …

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