Seihichiro Tsutagawa passed away at the age of 84 at the Kyushu University Hospital in Fukuoka-shi, Japan in the early morning of April 20, 2022, after a long and difficult illness. Seihichiro lived a rich and full life in both Japan and America, and was better known in the United States as “Bill” by all of his friends and business associates. He is survived by his beloved wife, Yuriko; three sons, Michael, Paul, and Fred; his younger sister, Kikuko; and his nieces, Kelly, Michele, and Chantelle.
Bill was born and raised on the island of Miyajima, Hiroshima, Japan in December 1937, not far from the Itsukushima Shrine that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The seventh sibling out of eight and the last boy that was born, he grew up during a difficult and turbulent time in Japan.
Shortly after graduating from Kanagawa University, he followed his older sister, Kazuko Littlejohn, to Southern California. With literally no money at all in his pockets and nothing else he could do, he started picking strawberries for an already-established Nikkei farmer, Hiroshi Ukegawa. Seeing his hard work ethic, determination, and potential, Bill, who studied Spanish in college, quickly rose to become a supervisor for the Ukegawa farm. He went back to Japan and found and married his wife, Yuriko, whom he stayed faithful to for 53 years. After leaving Ukegawa, the two continued working extremely hard to make a living in the agricultural industry in Southern California while raising their three sons. After many struggles, Bill found success as an independent farmer, finally retiring from that work in 1999. He then transferred that success into real estate, where he and his wife would spend half of the year in California and the other in Japan, while enjoying traveling and eating good food as their main hobbies.
Thankful for his life in both Japan and the United States, he requested that his remains be divided and buried in both countries upon his death. Seihichiro’s funeral service was held on Friday, April 22, 2022, at the Hatsukaichi Sousaikaikan in Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima, close to Miyajima, shortly after his death. On June 19, 2022, Father’s Day, his remains were buried in his ohaka in the Miyajimaguchi-Nishi Cemetery in Hiroshima. Yuriko, Paul, and Fred returned to California in late June, and will hold a private family burial for the other half of his remains at Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside, California on Friday, August 19, 2022. He will be forever remembered for boldly and courageously living out the American Dream and finding success both in the United States and Japan, doing it all for his family, whom he loved deeply. He is deeply missed and will forever be in our hearts and in everything that we do.