FUNABIKI, KIKU HORI, 95, died peacefully at her home in San Francisco on October 12, 2019.

Kiku was born in San Francisco at Post and Buchanan on July 4, 1924. She resided there until the war when her family were incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Wyoming Internment Camp. On release to the west coast she completed her education at UC Berkeley.

In 1952 Kiku worked as the first Japanese American flight attendant, then later transferred to the sales department at United Airlines. During after hours she immersed herself in redress and reparation movement with NCRR. In 1984 NCRR sent her to Washington D.C. to testify before congressional committee on the Judiciary to appeal for redress and reparations for Japanese Americans who were incarcerated unjustly in U.S. concentration camps during WWII.

On retirement her involvement included tutoring of displaced orphans from Vietnam, organizing exhibit “Strength and Diversity” 3 generations of Nikkei Woman which exhibited at the Oakland Museum two successive years.

She also loved gardening and took pride in growing vegetables and flowers in her yard.

As NJAHS member she worked to get our story in school textbooks. And for several years she was in a writing class of ex incarcerates who published a book of their writings “Our Side of the Fence”.

Her activism was recognized by the Gray Panthers, Older Women’s League and by the UC Berkeley Japanese American Women’s Association as an alumnus. She also organized an exercise class in J-town after the doctors told her she would always need a wheelchair and proved them wrong by leading exercise classes without a wheelchair. Subsequently, she started jogging in the Presidio and later climbing her house stairs counting 100 steps daily.

Kiku is survived by her daughter Chiyomi, her husband Matthew, and grandson Nathaniel and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Walter.

A private gathering will be held sometime in January. For information please contact

Memorial contributions may be made to Kimochi, Inc. or NJAHS.

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