OBITUARY: Hitoshi Tsufura

TSUFURA, HITOSHI, born in Los Angeles to the late Rev. Shosetsu Tsufura and Midori Tsufura, passed away in his sleep on July 17, 2011 in Berkeley at the age of 84. During the war he and his family were interned at Gila River Relocation Camp in Arizona. At the age of 16, Hitoshi left Gila to work in the Midwest and East Coast. In 1944 he joined the Military Intelligence Service of the United States Army, receiving his training as a translator. After a tour of duty in Japan, he returned to California in 1948 and enrolled at UC Berkeley, where he studied philosophy and criminology.

In Berkeley, Hitoshi stayed at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple dormitory, where he met and became a close friend and assistant to Rev. Kanmo Imamura and his wife, Jane Imamura. Hitoshi was an active leader in the Temple throughout the 1950s and 60s. He organized lectures at what became the study center at Berkeley Temple, with guests such as DT Suzuki, Alan Watts, poet Gary Snyder, Professor Ryugyo Fujimoto and Lama Tokan Tada. He was an avid amateur fisherman and deeply appreciated the company of his close friends. Up until his death, he was a kind mentor and caregiver to several generations of the Imamura and Matsuura extended families.

Hitoshi is survived by his brothers, Satoru Tsufura and Tadashi Tsufura, his sisters-in-law Alice Tsufura and Mabel Tsufura, his nieces, nephew and nephew-in-law, Lisa Tsufura (Griffith), Eve Tsufura, Donna Tsufura, Lamarr Tsufura and Peter Griffith, as well as his grandnephew Brantlee Griffith Tsufura.

A brief service will be held for Hitoshi at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple on Channing Way on Aug. 7 at 10 a.m.

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