Masako Yoshimura Matsumoto, 93, passed away on October 23, 2022, in Santa Ana, Calif. She would have been 94 this Christmas Eve. Masako often told others that she was already 94 and was proud of it! She was multi-talented and interested in many things. Masako was an entrepreneur in the early 1950s when she owned a bar and dance hall in Beppu, Japan. In the mid-1950s, she journeyed to the United States with the intention of only staying a short while. In all, she lived 67 years in the U.S. and became a citizen in 1980. Masako was a beauty consultant for several years and was one of Pola’s top sales associates. Her natural beauty, particularly her complexion, won over her clients for she claimed it was due to the product line. In the 1970s, Masako became a shiatsu massage technician and was known as “Mighty Mouse.” She was small in stature but wielded miraculous strength through her magic, iron fingers. However, it did help that she wore 3-inch platforms! In the late 1990s, Masako demonstrated her leadership skills as the president of the Shiatsu Association of America. The association was instrumental in providing education and resources, as well as forming a community of like-minded shiatsu professionals.
Besides her professional accomplishments, Masako excelled in the arts. She took classes in ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, and successfully completed an advanced level course. Masako was a gifted dancer in the early years (in her 20s) and enjoyed entertaining friends and family with her karaoke performances in her later years. Friends and family enjoyed her culinary talents, especially her delicious and “huge” inari sushi (also known by some as footballs). She was also a sports enthusiast with a particular love for sumo. Masako was always rooting for the little guy! In recent years she became an avid fan of Korean videos.
Masako is survived by her daughter, Eileen Aiko; daughter-in law, Tatsumi Yoshimura; stepdaughter, Keiko; sisters-in-law, Michiko, Sachi and Elisa; nieces and nephews, Valerie, Lisa Watson (Jeff Watson), Lori, Robert, and Key Jr; and great-niece, Katherine Watson. She was predeceased by her son, Shoji Yoshimura; half-brother, Yoshihisa Yoshimura; husband, Key; and brothers-in-law, Takeshi “Tak,” Teruo “Terry,” Hiroshi and Fred.
All who knew Masako experienced her wonderful sense of humor and welcoming smile and demeanor. She will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, Masa-chan.