by Bruce Rutledge,
A special issue of The North American Post comes out in honor of Sam Goto, the cartoonist behind Seattle Tomodachi who passed away on December 31, 2017.
The special issue was produced in collaboration with the Japan Cultural & Community Center of Washington (JCCCW) and was made possible by a 4 Culture grant. It will be available at an event to celebrate Sam’s life on March 10 at the Mercer Island Community Center from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. That event is open to the public. The special issue will also be distributed at the JCCCW’s Tomodachi Gala on March 31 at the Hyatt Lake Washington.
I got to know Sam just a little while putting together that special issue. My daughter and I visited Sam and his wife, Dee Goto, at their house. We munched on senbei, sipped tea and talked about his life, from his childhood in Oregon to his days running track in Idaho, his military service and eventually, his career as a dental technician. He seemed like a sweet, thoughtful man. He was extremely modest, deferring credit to Dee or other friends. And, like so many Nisei, he seemed hesitant to talk about his accomplishments.
Sam started the strip when he was 79. He wanted Seattle Tomodachi to amuse, entertain and educate, he said. The fiveplus years of Sam’s strips do just that, providing a fascinating history of Issei life in early Seattle. I think he would be thrilled if this issue is used in classrooms or in other educational ways.
We need more people like Sam. He was thoughtful, kind, aware of his own history, and creative. May he rest in peace.