Hatsy Yasukochi, respected S.F. J-Town business owner, passes

Noted San Francisco Japantown business owner, Hatsuye “Hatsy” Yasukochi, passed away from the coronavirus in the early morning of March 27, 2020. She was 80.

Yasukochi was born March 7, 1940 in Oakland, Calif. She grew up in Concord, Calif. and graduated from Mount Diablo High School in 1958. She attended San Francisco State University.

She was incarcerated in concentration camps in Rohwer, Ark. and Tule Lake, Calif. during World War II.

In 1974, she and her husband founded Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop, a mini bakery inside what is now Super Mira market in San Francisco’s Japantown.

It is well-known for its Coffee Crunch Cake.

Erin Yamamura, one of Yasukochi’s daughters, told the Nichi Bei Weekly in a phone interview that her mother was the cake decorator, while her father was the baker. Kenji, one of Yasukochi’s grandchildren, currently runs the bakery, which has been open for more than 40 years. The city added it to its Legacy Business Registry last fall.

Yasukochi’s family and friends will remember her for her positivity toward others. “She was very generous, thoughtful and caring. She was just a very kind person,” Yamamura said. “She really loved spending time with the grandkids.”

Yasukochi enjoyed going on annual trips to Lake Tahoe with her family and going with her grandkids to play arcade games, Yamamura said.

The San Francisco Japantown community will miss Yasukochi’s generosity and kindness, Allen Okamoto, a real estate agent for T. Okamoto and Co., called Yasukochi “a community icon” who was “so sweet and humble.”

“She was just a terrific person and it’s a terrible loss for the community,” Okamoto said.

Linda Mihara, owner of Paper Tree, the origami store, said Yasukochi would be missed.

“She was open and friendly to everybody and every single time, it didn’t matter whenever I saw her, she was always so happy, so smiley and just real positive,” Mihara said.

Yasukochi is survived by her husband, Tom “Moses;” sisters, Lois Kaya and Kris Kobata; daughters, Stacey Nolan, Wendy Prigge and Erin Yamamura; and grandchildren, Amanda, Kenji, Samantha, Justin and Lindsay.

The family will hold a celebration of life for Yasukochi “when it is safe to do so.” Yamamura said the family is not accepting donations. For more information, visit https://everloved.com/life-of/hatsy-yasukochi/.

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