Michiko "Midge" (ISHII) AYUKAWA
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AYUKAWA, Michiko "Midge" (nee Ishii) June 26, 1930 - October 24, 2013 Dr. Michiko "Midge" Ayukawa (nee Ishii) of Victoria, B.C. died peacefully with family by her side on October 24, 2013 at the Victoria Hospice in the Royal Jubilee Hospital. Michiko, was born on June 26, 1930, in Vancouver, B.C. to Kenji and Misayo Ishii and was the only sister to brothers Hideo, Yoshio, and Kazuo. Michiko attended Strathcona Public School in Vancouver, and during World War II was interned in Lemon Creek. After the war, the family moved to Hamilton, Ontario where she completed high school. In 1952 she graduated with a degree in Honours Chemistry from McMaster University, and in 1953 with a Master's Degree. In 1955, Midge married Kaoru "Karl" Ayukawa and worked at the National Research Council in Ottawa until 1956 when she started a family. She later taught chemistry laboratory to undergraduate students at Carleton University as well as at the University of Victoria after the family moved to Sooke, BC, in 1980. Following the death of her husband, in 1981, Michiko studied Japanese history and language at the University of Victoria. Her Master's and PhD (1997) focused on the lives of Japanese immigrants. She authored and edited numerous publications. Her most notable "Hiroshima Immigrants in Canada 1891-1941", was published in 2008 and later published in Japanese. She traveled throughout Asia and Europe and intensified her practice of Taoist Tai Chi, teaching health recovery classes at the Taoist Tai Chi Centre in Victoria. In 2007, Michiko was inducted into the McMaster University Alumni Gallery. Michiko was an active board member of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby BC. In September 2013, she was awarded the Japanese Canadian History Preservation and Education Award. Michiko is survived by her youngest brother Kazuo Ishii; her five children Hannah (and partner Roland), Michael (and wife Dianne), Ken (and wife May), Patti (and husband Greg), and Carla (and partner Brian); and her ten grandchildren Aki, Patrick, Eric, Irene, Courtney, Emma, Chelsea, Carly, Mika and Nicholas. She will always be remembered as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, academic, intellect, writer and dedicated contributor to her community. Her commitment to the preservation of history and to her family will be her legacy. The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, October 29, at 5pm followed by a reception from 6 to 8pm, at First Memorial on 1155 Fort Street, Victoria. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, B.C. Family members wish to thank Dr J. Spence, Dr. P. Ty, and Midge's close family and friends for their dedicated help and support.



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Published in The Times Colonist from Oct. 26 to Oct. 28, 2013.
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Memories & Condolences
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22 entries
January 11, 2014
I have just discovered Midge's obituary and send sincere condolences. She interviewed my husband Edward Arnet about the early Japanese community in Tofino and a write-up appeared in the Nikkei Images Autumn 2002. This article was read by two former Tofino school friends of my husband - Hiroo Izumi and Tatsuo Sakauye both who wrote to me and I still correspond with them. My husband Edward passed away in 2005. I telephoned Midge from time to time and I think last time I spoke to her was last summer. I am so sorry she has gone; I will miss our conversations.
Dorothy Arnet
November 9, 2013
Midge was my mother's last Ph.D. student and her dear friend. I have many warm memories of Midge and think of her as a role model - among other great qualities she was curious, intelligent, funny and kind. A couple of weeks before she passed away she e-mailed me to ask me about my mom's health and I was touched by her thoughtfulness at a time when she was ill herself. She told me that her family had rallied around her and that this had given her strength and joy. My and my mother's thoughts are with you all.
Maia Tsurumi
November 7, 2013
Our sincere condolences to the Ayukawa family. You had an amazing mom. Mrs. Ayukawa was a talented mother, cook and seamstress in our Ottawa Cardinal Heights neighbourhood during our growing up. In Victoria, she turned her incredible talents to research and writing, presenting and mentoring. There was nothing she couldn't do. What a role model!
Frances Cosstick
November 4, 2013
A great inspiration for me. Never let me get away with anything and forever encouraging. I have lost a mentor, friend and resource.
Terry Watada
November 4, 2013
I am honoured to have met Midge on several occasions, in Sooke, Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto... or was it Ottawa? She always had so many interesting stories to tell, and I admired her scholarship and tenacity that was mixed with warmth and humour. I will miss you, Midge.
Tane Akamatsu
November 3, 2013
I did not know Midge intimately, but she and I were in the same Japanese language class at UVic (she was brushing up her grasp of contemporary Japanese, especially the kanji), and she was very helpful to this ignorant "gaijin"). I also talked to her many times about our PhD work in History, and she was kind enough to congratulate my wife when I finished, noting that graduate work often destroys marriages. She was a brilliant and compassionate person, a rare combination.
Ross Lambertson
November 1, 2013
I would have attended the funeral but unfortunately had promised to be somewhere else. Midge, I loved and respected you. You were sharp as a tack and honest as the day was born. We'll all miss you terribly.
Cody Poulton
October 29, 2013
Betty Simpson, BA, 1952, McMaster University, sends her sympathy to the family of Michiko. Betty was a dear college friend of Midge's an visited her every year in Victoria.
Betty Simpson
October 29, 2013
Midge, I consider it an honor to have met you. I know you are at peace, but I miss you deeply.
Frank Mannion
October 29, 2013
I miss you, Midge. Wish we had more time to talk. Loved your wits and sense of humour. Your stories were always interesting. I hope you are now at peace.
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Yoko Mannion
October 29, 2013
Midge will be remembered for her generosity to friends and community…as well as for her unique and indomitable spirit. Thank you, Midge, for your friendship and all the other gifts that you gave me. I will miss you very much!
Louanne Mah
October 28, 2013
It was so sad to hear about Midge's passing. I will miss her very much. She took an interest in my form and technique in tai chi because she could see that I accepted her taskmaster ways as a route to be better; and with that she became my informal tai chi mentor.
All at the healthy recovery classes enjoyed her witty remarks, and her dry sense of humour. Rest well my dear friend.
Richard Hum
October 28, 2013
My condolences to Midge's family at this sad time. I have known Midge for many years through the Taoist Tai Chi Society, and will always remember her dedication, her intellect, her spunk, and her graciousness as a host when I stayed in her home. I am so sad to hear she has passed away, but glad to know she was peaceful. Warm Regards,
Verity Rolfe
Verity Rolfe
October 28, 2013
Dear Ayukawa family: So sorry to hear about Midge. In the very brief time I knew her I found her to be a very warm and interesting person to know. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Ross Young
October 28, 2013
Tony Guglielmi
October 28, 2013
I met Midge at a book signing for an Asian Heritage Month event I organized in Victoria. She gave a very entertaining talk and had the audience lined up to meet her. After I finished my MC duties I went over to talk to Midge and buy a copy of her book, Hiroshima Immigrants in Canada. I mentioned my mother's side of the family was from Hiroshima. She took great interest and asked about my family. I then found out that she had interviewed my uncle. What a small world. Thank you to Midge for preserving our Japanese Canadian history. I will treasure my copy of her book with her message to me. My condolences to her family.
Lorene Oikawa
October 28, 2013
Happy Journeys, Midge! I will miss you. You were always my favourite Push Hands partner!
Chris Sihoe
October 28, 2013
Midge was a great help with the Special Needs Classes. Now called Health Recovery. She was knowledgable.
A good Scrabble player too.
Diane Uyttersprot
October 28, 2013
Diane Uyttersprot
October 27, 2013
Betty Simpson will be very sad that her friend is gone. I am so glad that I met her in February 2012 when my husband and I accompanied Mom on her annual visit to Victoria. We had a lovely Japanese meal at her apartment prepared by Midge's daughter.
Mary Simpson
October 27, 2013
Happy Journeys, MIdge! Keep working on your Push Hands...you were always my favourite partner!
Chris Sihoe
October 26, 2013
I remember Midge when she was a student in the History Department at UVic. She was an original thinker and a good and generous friend to everyone. My sincere condolences to her family.
Karen McIvor
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