James Fumio Hirakawa

Aug 28, 1934 - Jan 8, 2021

East Lawn Memorial Park
4300 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA,


I was born in Walnut Grove, Ca. I lived on a farm on Tyler Island till I was about seven-years-old, then war broke out in 1941, we got a notice to move into town within 24 hours with just what we could carry. Then in a couple weeks from a town on a train to what they called an Assembly CTR in Merced. Then in 2 or 3 months they put us on a train with shades drawn again so we can’t see where we were going, we ended up in a concentration camp called Amachi Colorado.
There for 3 ½ to 4-years until the war ended. Then back to Walnut Grove where we were homeless for 4 years. There we lost our father, one year after camp I graduated Courtland High School in 1953.
I joined Carpenters Union in 1954 to present with 2 years’ service in the United States Army in.
I retired after 31 years at age of 50. Then I gambled and fished for Salmon for about 20 years. I enjoyed playing Pai-Gow so much, I was dealt five aces twice!
I have had so many good friends to thank for my life after my father passed away and helped my mom and me. I don’t know how mom managed everything. I’m glad I grew up in Walnut Grove back in the 40s and 50s when everyone knew everybody’s kids so we don’t get into trouble.
Thank you one and all!


  • Lila Yoshimi says:

    I enjoyed visiting when I was a child and I loved the times we had when we played pool and just sunk all the balls with no regard to the rules of it. I like that flexibility and I think to myself how important of a trait that is as an adult to just have fun with a kid.

    I also have very vague fuzzy memories of the casino trip when I was real young.
    I’m not sure if it was you or Gi-chan who won me the stripe heart and dog mini plush but I still have them to this day.
    I think it’s irrelevant who actually won them because I think of both of you regardless.

    Presently in a game that I play I saw a limited outfit set for my in game avatar – it was a pool stick and a pool table. I bought it with in game game currency and put my character in it in honor to you.
    Probably can’t post a screenshot here but I’m sure you can feel the sentiment.

    I like to tell some of my friends that I feel like the casino allure kind of peaks my interest and when I am cosplaying the character Sir Crocodile and he’s a casino owner mind you, I can’t help but think of you.
    If I’m ever in Vegas I’ll have to hit the Harrah’s casino because I remember seeing dice and other Harrah’s lore around the house in Sacramento.

    I also have a set of little casino machines I bought on eBay and those are Harrah’s slots.

    I love how these little things in my present life have that familiar bond and which is why I wish to share it.

  • Cindy Yoshimi says:

    Although I know Uncle James only about 5 years, he had a very generous heart and treated everyone so nice more than himselves. He was good taking care of everyone around him. He is now in a better place and will be missed.

  • Stanley Norikane says:

    Uncle James is still deep in my heart, the Hirakawas and Norikanes were close friends for decades. Mom tells me stories about Uncle James up on the roof of mom’s house in Walnut Grove replacing the roof. I was an infant still and she said he could hear me crying in the crib and he would try and ask me to not cry from the roof. I remember going to spend New Year’s at Uncle James house with all the families and playing pool in the family room. Uncle James was at all the Walnut Grove Buddhist Church Bazzars every July working the bingo booth, wearing his traditional dark ray-ban sunglasses and slick hair. Always a cool looking guy, he would always stop and say hi to me and chit chat when I saw him.
    Mom and I would go visit him later on in the 90’s and I was amazed how he had at least 4 tv’s on Saturdays during college football season all on different games. He loved football for sure.
    Uncle James spent a great deal of time taking care of his mother and two sisters during the later parts of their lives. Such a generous loving person, I can’t think of anyone else that would sacrifice so much of their personal life like he did.
    As time went on, Uncle James’ mobility decreased and it was his time to receive some help. Uncle James was an independent person, I’d always let him know to just call if you need some help with anything. As a last resort he would ask for my help, he didn’t want to inconvenience anybody. My young son Kenji and I would go visit Uncle James and help him with what we could, moving stuff around, resetting his tv and iPad. We loved listening to his stories and spending time with him. He would always tell me, “Stan, whatever you do, don’t get old.” The later years were tough on his body with all the arthritis. Wish I could take that pain from him.
    Kenji and I miss him a lot, we made a big batch of Japanese curry the other day; wish Uncle James was still around to split it with him.
    I know Uncle James is in a better place now not feeling any more pain. We miss you Uncle James.

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