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Obituary / Death Notice


Henri H. Takahashi

 Maiden Name



San Francisco, CA

 Approximate Date of Death



Notice of Death

TAKAHASHI, Henri Hiroyuki - One of the founders and owners of the locally-based Takahashi Trading Corporation, died April 16 at his home in San Francisco at the age of 87 of a heart ailment.

In addition to being a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Mr. Takahashi was active with the local Japanese American Community through his philanthropic endeavors.

Mr. Takahashi was born in Tokyo in 1914 and moved to Hawaii with his family at age 3 where his father was minister of the local Congregational Church. He moved to Oakland and then later to Riverside, California when his father was again transferred. Upon his high school graduation in 1931, his family moved back to Japan while Mr. Takahashi chose to remain in the States and enter Pomona College.

Mr. Takahashi worked his way through college with a variety of jobs, supplementing his income with his poker playing skills. He studied sociology and art along with playing shortstop on the Pomona College baseball team. After graduating in 1936, he moved to San Francisco where he found a job as a sports editor for a Japanese American newspaper.

In 1938, Mr. Takahashi met Tomoye Nozawa, the eldest daughter of a successful Japan Town businessman. Soon after they were married, the war with Japan broke out and Mr. Takahashi and his wife were moved to one of the Japanese American Internment Camps in Topaz, Utah.

While interned there Mr. Takahashi helped alleviate the sense of shared dislocation by becoming editor of the Camp newspaper, the Topaz Times. After being released and allowed to return to the west coast in 1945, Mr. Takahashi and his wife started a small store in San Francisco's Japan Town, at first helping local residents send care packages back to Japan and later importing goods for distribution and sale.

The business grew with Mr. Takahashi designing wares such as the Genji Screen, Kabuki Lamp and Moku Moku Salad Bowl, which became popular items of the day.

At its peak, in addition to their home offices on Rhode Island Street, the Takahashi Trading Corporation had stores on Grant Avenue, in Ghiradelli Square, several in Sausalito, as well as one in New York City.

In later years, Mr. Takahashi along with his wife Tomoye and sister-in-law Martha Suzuki started the Henri & Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and donated generously to support a variety of local service, cultural and educational institutions.

Mr. Takahashi is survived by his wife, Tomoye, his children Masako Cohan and Norman Takahashi, his sister-in-law Martha Suzuki, his sisters Helen Akaki and Julia Takahashi, in addition to several nieces and nephews.

Services will be held Monday, April 22nd at 6:00 pm at the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California (JCCNC) in Japan Town at 1840 Sutter Street. Flowers may be sent to the JCCNC.

In lieu of donations, the family requests you donate to your favorite charities.

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