SAN FRANCISCO — Eddie Moriguchi, a longtime San Francisco Japantown CPA and leader of various community-based nonprofit organizations, passed away Sept. 7 due to a heart attack. He was 91.
Moriguchi, a past president of both the Japanese Benevolent Society of California (Jikei Kai) and the Hokka Nichi Bei Kai (Japanese American Association of Northern California), volunteered in a variety of capacities for several organizations.
He helped to establish the Bunka (Culture) Hall of Fame, located on the second floor of the Hokka Nichi Bei Kai at 1759 Post St. in Japantown, which enshrined some four dozen practitioners of the cultural arts. According to the award’s charter, the Hall of Fame was “created to promote the culture of Japan as practiced here in America.”
The concept was based on other halls of fame, but to honor cultural arts practitioners. “There’s halls of fame around, so why not have one for bunka (culture)?” Moriguchi told the Nichi Bei Weekly in 2017.
“Eddie started Bunka Hall of Fame in 2005 and continued until 2016,” said Kiyoshi Naito, who served with him on the Hokka Nichi Bei Kai board and the Bunka Hall of Fame committee.
“He was gentle, soft-spoken, and a very conscientious worker,” recalled Naito. “He showed a great interest in Japanese cultures and traditions and tried to keep them in the U.S. His passing is a great loss for Hokka Nichi Bei Kai and also for the Japanese American community.”
Moriguchi also helped to conceive a “Tribute to Our Pioneers” memorial to be erected at the Japanese Cemetery in Colma, which the Japanese Benevolent Society manages. According to those involved with the obelisk memorial, it will in part pay tribute to Okei Ito, the first Japanese woman buried in the United States, the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony, the Issei, the Nisei and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, and others.
Eddie Ichiro Moriguchi was born in Salinas in 1929. He started kindergarten in San Francisco, and in 1940 the family — father Kinjiro, mother Eiko, Eddie, and younger siblings Jack and Betty — moved to Esparto (Yolo County). They were forcibly removed from their homes, first to the Merced Assembly Center and then the Granada (Amache) concentration camp in Colorado during World War II.
He graduated from UC Berkeley in 1955 with an accounting degree, later earning his master’s from the same institution. During the Korean War he served stateside at Camp San Luis Obispo and the 5th Army Headquarters in Chicago. He also did seasonal work chick-sexing in Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Turlock (Stanislaus County) to support his education.
Moriguchi started his CPA career in 1956 at Lybrand, Ross Bros. & Montgomery. He would eventually start his own CPA firm, and semi-retired in 1995.
He remained active in volunteering for nonprofit organizations such as the Hokka Nichi Bei Kai, where he served as a board member from 1966 and president from 2005 to 2006; the Japanese Benevolent Society, where he served as president from 2003 to 2018; the Japantown Merchants Association, Japanese American Korean War Veterans, Japanese American Religious Federation, Japanese American Citizens League (president of San Francisco chapter, 1961-62), Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California, and Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California.
He also volunteered for the Nisei Voters League, National Japanese American Historical Society and Parents Association of Boy Scouts Troop 12. He served as a basketball coach for the San Francisco Juniorettes, San Francisco Dots and Boy Scout Troop 12.
In the civic arena, Moriguchi served on the Advisory Committee on Community Services for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency from 1964-66 and on the City and County of San Francisco’s Relocation Appeals Board from 1966-89 (chairman from 1980-81).
In 2006, Moriguchi received the Takeo Okamoto Community Leadership Award. “He was always so healthy and active,” recalled Japantown realtor Allen Okamoto, one of the Okamoto children who created the award in honor of their father. “I remember seeing him walk from his home on 18th Avenue all the way to J-Town. He was truly a community person and contributed quietly in so many ways.”
“He was a hard worker,” recalled Seiko Fujimoto, executive director of the Japanese Benevolent Society. “He was very nice, polite, and always smiled.”
His daughter Edith Horner will fondly remember her father in his comfortable office chair, where he could alternately be found reading or sleeping. “He was always at the office,” she recalled. “He liked to talk to people.”
Moriguchi sold his CPA practice to son Mark in 1995, and daughter Edith has also taken over his remaining clients in recent years.
Moriguchi was predeceased by parents as well as his brother Jack.
He is survived by his loving wife Alice Moriguchi, daughter Edith (Bruce) Horner, son Mark (Masako) Moriguchi, and grandsons Paul and William Horner and Andrew Moriguchi. He is also survived by brother Donald (Emi) Moriguchi, sister Betty Takeshita, sister-in-law Gertrude Moriguchi, two nieces, one nephew and many cousins.
Private services will be held.