OBITUARY: HATSURO “HATS” AIZAWA

Hatsuro "Hats" Aizawa

Hatsuro “Hats” Aizawaies,

AIZAWA, HATSURO, “HATS” passed away peacefully at his home Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 with his devoted wife Amey by his side.

Hats was born Aug. 26, 1924 and grew up in San Francisco’s Japantown until his forced removal from the West Coast in 1942, when he, his family and the entire SF Japanese American community, were incarcerated at the Tanforan Detention Center, and then later moved to the Topaz Concentration Camp.

At the time of the evacuation, Hats was attending Lowell High School. He completed his formal education upon his return to San Francisco after the war, where he earned a BA in Fine Arts at UC Berkeley.

After completing his studies at Cal, Hats was one of the first Japanese Americans to open a successful graphic design business, Aizawa and Furuta, in SF where he decided to focus on a Japanese clientele to promote better relations between the two countries. During this time, he also served as one of the founding members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California, and was appointed as the first Japanese American to serve for several terms as a Commissioner for the Asian Art Museum. Hats also served on the Board of Directors for many other community organizations during his lifetime.

Despite his success as a prominent professional in his field, Hats never forgot about giving back to his community, as it meant a great deal to him to see other younger professionals succeed and to support ongoing community activities. He was a generous donor to many community non-profit organizations and causes to preserve and promote Japanese American activities.

In addition, Hats was also involved with many organizations that helped to improve U.S.-Japan relations, and served as one of the first delegates representing the City and County of San Francisco to our sister-city, Osaka, Japan, when he was appointed by Mayor Joseph Alioto in 1957. He also played an instrumental role in other notable delegations, including the 1994 Kristi Yamaguchi Goodwill Mission to Japan; the 2002 San Francisco 49ers to Osaka Delegation, and as part of the 45th and 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the S.F.-Osaka sister city relationship.

Hats received numerous awards and recognition from the community for his leadership and volunteerism, as well as from the City and County of San Francisco and the State of California. In 2012, he was bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays from the Government of Japan for his longstanding dedication to bettering relations between the country of Japan and the US.

Hats was a lifelong supporter of his SF sports teams. He loved watching sports, especially the S.F. 49ers and held season tickets since the game days at Kezar Stadium.

Hatsuro is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Amey Aizawa; brother, Seiji (Vivian), and sister, Kashiwa (George) Hatamiya; as well as many nieces, nephews; and grandnieces and grandnephews.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday, Nov. 2 at 2pm at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, located at 1840 Sutter, San Francisco.  49ers festive attire is welcomed.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California or the Japantown Foundation.

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