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Saying Goodbye to a Special Tomodachi

by Bruce Rutledge, the North American Post

Sam Goto entertained, amused, and educated North American Post readers for years with his Seattle Tomodachi comic strip. He recorded Issei life in a fresh way, with humor and insight and often through the eyes of his protagonist, Shigeru Tomo. As Sam wrote when the first strip appeared in 2012, his stories were “based loosely on my life as a Nisei born in Seattle,” and contained “lots of facts and some fiction.”

As most readers know, Sam passed away on December 31, 2017. Since then, this publication has been re-running our favorite Seattle Tomodachi comic strips. However, all good things must come to an end, and this issue marks the end of the Seattle Tomodachi’s run in our paper. From the next issue, we will introduce a new comic strip that we hope you’ll enjoy.

Sam started drawing the Seattle Tomodachi strip at the age of 79 after retiring from a career as a dental assistant and technician. In 2011, he published the book “My Fifity Years in Seattle’s Medical-Dental Building,” which included illustrations. He always enjoyed drawing in his home studio, shown in the photograph. The soft-spoken sansei never liked to take credit for his work, but we are lucky to have had him as part of our editorial team. His comic strips will help generations understand early Issei and Nisei life in Seattle.

The Post published its special edition celebrating Sam’s Seattle Tomodachi in March 2018. The issue is available online at http://napost.com/seattletomodachi.