The Asian American Optometric Society issued the following statement on Dr. Ryan Yonny Koyama, who died in an automobile accident on Sept. 18 at the age of 69:

Image from a video in which George Barris talks to Yonny Koyama, who owned a 1959 Bonneville customized by Barris and his brother Sam in the early 1960s.

“Dr. Koyama was a founding charter member of AAOS, the Asian American Optometric Society, formerly JAOS, Japanese American Optometric Society, in 1972.

“The professional organization started out as a 34-member group of doctors that had the purpose ‘to promote the social, cultural, scientific and educational interchange of information and experiences among its members.’ Today, the organization is 200-plus members strong.

“He was a very talented magician, a member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

“He was considered an expert on Japanese katanas, traditionally-made Japanese swords, often referred to as ‘samurai swords.’ In fact, he was able to provide the history of a katana possessed by a colleague and repair a holster for one of the swords.

“He had a passion for custom cars from his teen years. Here is a YouTube clip about that.

“Yonny had a passion for art, especially wood-working. Some of his works include the bar and tropical-themed art hanging from the walls and ceiling at Cherrystone Grill in Gardena and the Japanese-themed three-dimensional art at Yamabuki Sushi in Torrance.”

Survivors include his wife, Sachi; children, Leslie and John; and siblings, Marilyn and Sanford. A remembrance was held Sept. 25 at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Sign the guestbook at

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