Retired Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki of the Los Angeles County Superior Court passed away on Oct. 10 at his home in the Arleta neighborhood of San Fernando Valley. The Japanese American Bar Association mourns his passing and reflects upon his life.
Born in West Los Angeles in 1936, Fujisaki and his family were unjustly incarcerated with other Japanese Americans at Manzanar in Inyo County during World War II. Following the war, Fujisaki earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law.
In 1963, Fujisaki began his legal career as a deputy public defender for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. In 1970, Fujisaki went into private practice. In 1977, he was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1977 by former Gov. Jerry Brown. Fujisaki was later elevated to the Superior Court in 1980, where he served until he retired from the bench in 1997.
Fujisaki served as president of the California Asian Pacific American Judges Association from 1984 to 1985. And as a longtime member of JABA, Fujisaki is warmly remembered by JABA colleagues:
JABA Past President Bruce L. Ishimatsu shares, “Hiro was a man of few words but a true old-school warrior who had a sly smile and sense of humor. He never lost his perspective and as a jurist was always efficient and fair. He never welcomed the limelight so he would be embarrassed now to hear people praise him but we will honor him because he deserves it and the new generation of lawyers should know the example he set for all of us.”
JABA Past President Judge Fred J. Fujioka states, “Early in my career, I represented a defendant in a two-week criminal trial in front of Judge Fujisaki. He was deliberate, kind, patient and firm. When I attended a JABA event with him, he was quiet and funny. He is one of the giants whose shoulders we all stand upon. He will be missed by all who knew him.”
JABA mourns the passing of Judge Fujisaki, a community leader and friend.