Kimochi, Inc. presents 2010 Spirit Awards

“The Longevity of Giving” was the theme on May 16 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco’s Japantown as Kimochi Inc. presented its annual Spirit Awards for their commitment to the senior service agency.

Kimochi board member Benh Nakajo served as emcee. Following a performance by the San Francisco Police Department Lion Dance Team, opening remarks were made by Paul Chin, vice chair of Kimochi’s Board of Directors, and Jane Yura, a Kimochi board member and vice president for regulations and rates at PG&E. Consul General of Japan in San Francisco Yasumasa Nagamine and San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi also addressed the gathering.

The honorees, who included two centenarians, were:

Honoree Yukiko Alice Hamai with Ayako Nagano, also a Kimochi, Inc. board member.

• Yukiko Alice Hamai, 101, who was born in Stockton in 1909, grew up in Parlier and was incarcerated at the Gila River concentration camp during World War II. She grew award-winning violets and was a devoted supporter of Ohara Ikebana. She and her husband Takato raised six children. She has eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

• Harusue Ogawa, 100, who was born in 1910 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan and attended Keio University. He moved to San Francisco with his family in 1955 and all three sons graduated from UC Berkeley. He worked at Bank of Tokyo until his retirement in 1975. He continues to enjoy tennis, fly fishing and gardening.

• Robert Otsuka, executive vice president and general manager of California Flower Market Inc., who was recognized in the business category. A Sansei from Oakland, he graduated from California State University, Hayward in 1982 and assumed his current post in 1987. In addition to Kimochi, he supports the Golden Gate Optimist Club, JACL, National Japanese American Historical Society and Japantown Task Force.

Honoree Harusue Ogawa and his son, Dr. Tats Ogawa, who is also a Kimochi, Inc. board member. photos by Johnny Nagano

• Linda Ishii, administrator of Kimochi Home since 2000. A San Francisco Sansei, she graduated from Cathedral High School and earned a degree in marketing from San Francisco State University.

• Shoji Horikoshi, a Kimochi, Inc. board member since 2000 and chairman from 2001 to 2006. He was incarcerated at the Topaz (Central Utah) concentration camp and served in the Army in occupied Germany. After earning a degree in criminalistics (forensics) at UC Berkeley, he served 38 years with the San Francisco Police Department, becoming director of the Crime Lab Division. After his retirement in 1995, the lab was named after him. He has been a leader with the Northern California Asian Peace Officers Association.

Storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki and musician Mark Izu gave a performance. A raffle was held with Japan Airlines Regional Manager Hideki Oshima presenting the grand prize, two tickets to Japan. Kimochi Executive Director Steve Nakajo gave closing remarks.

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