Toshio G. Tsukahira
December 22, 1915 - March 5, 2011
Toshio G. Tsukahira, the highest ranking Japanese-American Foreign Service Officer in his time, passed away peacefully on Saturday of natural causes. He was 95.
Tsukahira was born in Los Angeles to Japanese immigrant parents. After graduation from Belmont High School, he studied at Meiji University in Tokyo before attending UCLA, receiving an MA in history and political science in 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor he was hired as a civilian instructor in the Army Intelligence School at the Presidio, San Francisco, teaching military Japanese to servicemen. He married Lilly Yuriko Fujioka in 1942. His parents and siblings were relocated to an internment camp at Heart Mountain Wyoming.
Tsukahira enlisted in the Army in 1944 and served with the Pacific Military Intelligence Research Section and with Occupation forces in Japan, attaining the rank of captain. In 1947, he enrolled at Harvard University, earning a Ph.D. in Far Eastern History and Languages in 1951. After teaching there and at UC Berkeley, he joined the Foreign Service. From 1964 to 1968 he served as U.S. Consul General in Fukuoka, Japan.
After his retirement in 1975, Tsukahira taught at several major universities and institutions and undertook translating, writing, and consulting assignments. He is the author of, among others, Feudal Control in Tokugawa Japan: the Sankin Kotai System.
In 1996 he returned to live in Los Angeles. He is survived by his wife, Lilly; his children, Peggy of Los Angeles and Peter of Haifa, Israel; and his grandchildren, Emi, Nina, Michael, and Daniel. Funeral services will be private. Donations may be made to the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, 11282 Bunche Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Mar. 8 to Mar. 9, 2011.