Masako Kotsubo turned 103 on Jan. 15. She is best known for her beautiful crocheted blankets.

A special happy birthday to Masako Kotsubo, who turned 103 on Jan. 15.

According to her daughter Hiroko Endo, she is healthy and alert and has an amazing memory. She has been reading The Rafu Shimpo for over 50 years and placed fourth in the annual New Year’s poetry contest in the Japanese section in 2017 when she was 98 years old.

“Rainy Day”

by Masako Kotsubo

Kara kara ko

Kara kara ko

Where is the sound coming from?

In high wooden shoes in the rain

I wonder if it’s a boy.

I wonder if it is a girl.

I don’t mind.

I just love it (hearing noise)

Kotsubo was born in Stockton in 1919. At age five, her family moved to Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, to live with relatives and learn Japanese language and culture.

At 19, she married Noboru Kotsubo and the couple returned to California in 1941. Their son Sohei was born prior to the outbreak of World War II. Daughter Hiroko was born in the Santa Anita Assembly Center and son Shoji was born in Heart Mountain (Wyoming), where the family was interned for more than three years.

After the war, they returned to Southern California and lived in Long Beach, where Noboru worked as a gardener and Masako did domestic work while babysitting the children.

Kotsubo with daughter, Hiroko Endo.

Active in many community organizations, Kotsubo won a tsukemono contest and has been recognized by Long Beach Japanese Cultural Center and Long Beach Buddhist Church. Her experiences at Heart Mountain have been recorded by Tadaima, which collects and preserves histories of Japanese Americans in the 1940s.

Kotsubo enjoys learning new things and loves to write letters, talk on the phone and via Facetime, and send greeting cards. She is best known for crocheting blankets for family and friends. She makes two or three lap blankets each week and has made blankets for hospice patients in Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Crocheting for others for over 80 years brings her joy and an appreciation for her good life.

Kotsubo’s 99th birthday party in 2018.

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  1. Happy belated birthday, glad you are doing well. Hope to see you if the church starts having take outs again. Stay healthy and safe. Your yogore boy Walter S