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100th Birthday!!

Takashi Matsui celebrates his 100th birthday with his family members. Photo courtesy of Kazue Nakahara

Takashi Matsui’s centennial birthday was celebrated by the Nisei Veterans Committee on Jan. 6 and by his family from the Seattle area and California on Jan. 20.

Takashi Matsui was born on Jan. 20, 1917 in Hood River, Ore. His father sent him with his mother to Fukuoka, Japan, where he was raised by his paternal grandparents.

After graduating from high school in Japan, his father sent him to Seattle, where Matsui attended Broadway High School. During his senior year at the University of Washington, he was drafted by the U.S. Army and eventually ended up as a Military Intelligence Service Japanese Language Instructor at Camp Savage and Fort Snelling in Minnesota as well as the Presidio of Monterey. He married Mitsue Kono in Topaz Relocation Camp and they returned to Fort Snelling.

He was sent to serve in the Occupation Forces in Japan.  When he became a civilian, he worked as a legal investigator for the War Crimes Defense in Yokohama. He has a B.A. in Economics from Senshu University in Tokyo and returned to Seattle to complete his B.A. in Business Administration.

As Deputy General Manager, Matsui helped to open the Seattle branch of Mitsubishi International Corporation where he worked for 30 years.

His numerous involvements with community organizations included the Nisei Veterans Committee, First Hill Lions Club, Japan-America Society of the State of Washington, Seattle-Tacoma Fukuoka Kenjinkai, Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival, Seattle Japanese Language School, Japanese Community Service and Seattle Buddhist Church.

In 1953, he was named one of Seattle’s 100 Newsmakers of Tomorrow by Time Magazine. Among his many awards, he received the 5th Order of the Rising Sun (Gold and Silver Rays) from Japan in 1994.

Matsui has two children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren who gathered at Nikkei Manor to celebrate with him on his actual 100th birthday.

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The North American Post is a community newspaper that celebrates Japanese culture in the Greater Seattle area. Founded by 1st generation Japanese-Americans in 1902, the publication is one of the oldest minority-owned newspapers in the region. Today, with bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the publication connects readers with diverse cultural backgrounds to Seattle’s Japanese community. Our articles include local news, event calendars, restaurant reviews, Japanese cooking recipes, community interviews, and more.