March 2, 1930 – July 22, 2023
Kunihiro “Kuni” Nishiya, 93-yr-old Issei, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family on July 22, 2023.
Kuni was born in Seifuku, Kushikino, in Kagoshima Prefecture in 1930 to a mother who was 45. He was one of 1,500 Japanese immigrants who took part in Eisenhower’s Refugee Relief Act of 1953. He had to leave school to start working at age 14 to support his widowed mother, who had no other surviving children. Having worked until he was 26, he applied for the relief program. He immigrated to the U.S. at 26 and worked various jobs such as picking fruit in Fresno and washing dishes in restaurants in San Francisco in the winter months.
Kuni married his beloved wife, Setsuko, in July 1961 when he was 31. Together, they had a son, Mark. The family moved to Arizona and Kuni enrolled at Arizona State University at 35. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in structural engineering at 38. After moving back to Los Angeles, he started working for an American firm as a structural engineer and Setsuko gave birth to their daughter, Susan, a few years later. Kuni retired after 27 years to start his own consulting business, which he continued for another 25 years. He genuinely enjoyed working, and always regarded his business partners as friends.
When his children were young, he became a devoted member and leader of the Venice Japanese Community Center (VJCC) and served as their president and a member of their board of directors. He also loved to get involved with the Japanese American community. A notable project he worked on was in 2007 when he was a member of the Nebuta float committee and translated specifications from Japan to build the float for the Nisei Week Parade.
Kuni continued to stay active with various community organizations related to his heritage from Kagoshima, which he was very passionate about. He also loved to go fishing and attend minyo performances. Setsuko passed away from cancer in July 2013. From July 2023, the two are now reunited.
The funeral service will take place at the West L.A. Buddhist Temple on Wednesday, August 16th, at noon. Address: 2003 Corinth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025.
www.kubotamortuary.com (213) 749-1449