Rodney Kageyama with City Councilmember Jan Perry at the Nisei Week Closing Ceremony in 2005. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

The Japanese American National Museum mourns the passing of museum volunteer and Little Tokyo icon Rodney Kageyama, who died on Dec. 9 at the age of 77.

Kageyama’s volunteer work at JANM started in 2000. He was a cherished storyteller for school groups visiting the museum and at other programs, including some exclusively for JANM members featuring ghost stories in conjunction with Halloween. He also served as an emcee for JANM events and was scheduled to act as Shogun Santa for the annual staff and volunteer holiday celebration this Friday.

“Rodney was beloved at the museum, throughout Little Tokyo, and within the entire Japanese American community of Southern California,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of JANM. “His seemingly limitless energy and desire to participate — even in the face of difficult health issues — was more than inspiring. The outpouring of messages from many of those whose lives he touched is testament to his legacy; he will not be forgotten.

“Our hearts go out especially to his husband, Kenny, his partner of more than 30 years.”

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