OBITUARY: Mitsuko Kawashiri

Mitsuko Kawashiri

June 22, 1922 – Dec. 15, 2021

AWASHIRI, MITSUKO passed away peacefully on December 15, 2021 at home in Novato, California surrounded by family and Reverend Koshi Kurotaki of Sokoji Temple.

The loss of Mitsuko is mourned by her daughter, Rumi Okabe, son-in-law Mitsufumi Okabe, daughter, Kumi Kawashiri, granddaughter, Nozomi Okabe and David Spivey.
Mitsuko was born 99 years ago on Geary Boulevard in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown where her parents, Senzo and Kuni Fukushima owned the Nankai-ya Hotel. She left San Francisco at the age of 8 with her parents to be educated in Japan. As a Kibei Nisei raised in both America and Japan, she was deeply influenced by Japanese cultural values and traditions in her formative years. During World War II, she lived in the city of Gobo in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. After the war and completing her education, she returned to San Francisco in 1947. Mitsuko was soon introduced to Sakae Kawashiri, her future husband of 53 years, by Suyeichi Okamura, owner of the Benkyodo Confectionery Company in Japantown.
After living for many years in Berkeley and raising their two daughters there, Sakae and Mitsuko moved to Novato where they were able to help raise Nozomi with loving care.

Mitsuko was a long-time member of San Francisco’s Sokoji Soto Zen Buddhist Temple and served as its Fujinkai Women’s Auxiliary President for many years. She was a member of Sokoji’s Goeika sutra singing group.

Mitsuko was ahead of her time with her focus on living a healthy lifestyle including an early concern for the environment.

She was a lifelong and diligent daily reader of the Berkeley Gazette, San Francisco Chronicle and Marin Independent Journal and faithful viewer of the local news channels, CNN, TV Japan and NHK World. She was a true information-hound and knew extensively about world affairs.

The family extends its deeply heartfelt gratitude to Mitsuko’s loving and devoted caregiver, Leva. We are also very thankful for the compassionate care given by Mele, Lavi, Mary, Kathy and By the Bay Health.

A private family service will be held. Her family hopes that we can all gather together in the near future to celebrate her life.

Memorial donations may be made to Sokoji at 1691 Laguna Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.

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