August 18, 1925 – February 11, 2023
Yae Aihara passed away on February 11, 2023, at her home in Little Tokyo after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis last summer.
Up until her diagnosis and the nearly three-year isolation due to the COVID pandemic, she was a vibrant and active super senior.
Yae was born in Tacoma, Washington and raised in Seattle. She was the second of four children of Sho and Shizu Kanogawa. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the family was separated due to her father’s prominence in the Japanese American community. Eventually the family was reunited in Crystal City, Texas, a Department of Justice camp. After the war, the family relocated to Los Angeles, where Yae was introduced to Luis Aihara at Koyasan Buddhist Temple. In 1948, Luis established Aihara Insurance Agency in Little Tokyo. The couple were active participants in the Little Tokyo and greater Los Angeles Japanese American community.
Yae and Luis had four children, Douglas (Chris), Wendy, Dwight (Rhonda), and Dean (Sally); and 11 grandchildren, Blair (Michelle), Garrett (Cindy), Steven (Lisa) and Riki Aihara, Shaun and Kasey Oshita, Naomi and Natalie Aihara, and Adam, Tiffany and Aileen Aihara; and six great-grandchildren, Nolan, Eden, Ella, Lucas, Millie and Owen Aihara.
Yae was a vibrant, active and adventurous person. She was an active volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum, active member of the Montebello-Ashiya Sister City Association, member of the Montebello Women’s Club, avid traveler, and instructor of a vigorous exercise class at Maryknoll Catholic Center well into her 90s. She strived to live each moment with gratitude and appreciation, and will be missed dearly.
A private funeral was held on Wednesday, March 1. There will be a memorial for Yae on Monday, April 3, at 11 a.m. at the Japanese American National Museum.