Tribute to Aiko Ogata King by her granddaughter, Lauren Tomiko Zurian.
 

By WAYNE OSAKO

We mourn the loss of Stamp Our Story co-founder Aiko Ogata King. She passed away last week on Thursday, May 26, at the age of 94, with her family close by.

Aiko Ogata KIng

Aiko was born on Oct. 10, 1927, in Turlock, Calif. She grew up in the Central Valley Japanese American farming community where she would meet Fusa Takahashi, and become lifelong friends. As young teenagers, the two would later be removed from their hometowns with their families and both forced into the Amache, Colo. incarceration camp during World War II. Following the war, she served as a U.S. Army civilian nurse during the Korean War era in Japan.

Aiko developed an interest in collecting postage stamps, as well as a knack for being a “go-getter” and avid community activist in her Ventura Japanese American Citizens League Chapter. She and her childhood friend Fusa viewed a Nisei World War II soldiers exhibition together at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in 2005, and became inspired to do more to commemorate the Nisei who served.

The two friends thought of getting a U.S. commemorative stamp made to honor the Nisei soldiers, and embarked on a 15-year journey that resulted in the U.S. Postal Service issuing the “Go For Broke Japanese American Soldiers of World War II” Forever postage stamp in June of 2021.

With family and friends, they developed the Stamp Our Story Committee, which would become a nationwide and international movement after the U.S. Postal Service repeatedly denied their requests. Through their commitment and persuasiveness, the Postal Service eventually changed and issued their stamp.

Aiko’s energy, compassion, and positivity throughout her life will always be remembered by those she knew, and we now grieve her loss alongside her family. Aiko’s kind and generous heart led her into a life of service, from nursing, to her work in the JACL, and with our campaign. Every time you pick up or see the Go For Broke Soldiers Forever Stamp, think of Aiko. Her interest in stamps and tireless work made this a reality.

Rest in Peace, Aiko.

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Osako is co-chair of the Stamp Our Story Committee.

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