At Frank Emi’s memorial service

Emi family headstone
(click to see enlarged images)

Frank Emi was buried Friday at Evergreen Cemetery in East Los Angeles. He comes to rest just several hundred yards from the paupers’ grave where the founder of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee, Kiyoshi Okamoto, is interrred. Together they made history, and it fitting that their lives and legacies remain intertwined to the end.

Frank goes to his final rest dressed in his white judo gi, a Buddhist ojuzu prayer bracelet wrapped around his left hand and his judo medals set next to him. More than 250 mourners attended his service at Nichiren Buddhist Temple for an hour of sutra chanting.

Frank Chin reads at Emi serviceFor his eulogy, writer Frank Chin announced “Superman is dead!” He then drew chuckles reading an excerpt from his book, Born in the USA. You can follow along, it’s the “Brothers and Sisters” exchange between Frank, brother Art, and sister Kaoru on pages 163 to 166.

Bob Iwasaki from the Hollywood Judo Dojo knew Frank as “Emi-sensei.” Heart Mountain resister Yosh Kuromiya had this:

Frank Seishi Emi was a fighter. The word “retreat” was not in Frank’s vocabulary. He and he alone, would decide when it was time to move on. Sadly, that time has arrived. Read more…

Frank Chin reads at Emi serviceAt the interment service at Evergreen, actress and soon-to-be filmmaker Momo Yashima gave a dramatic reading at the gravesite.

The Los Angeles Times published a thoughtful and prominent obituary for Frank Emi on page B-1 of their local section, conferring on him the honor he deserves.

Okamoto markerBefore we left for the reception, a few of us adjourned to the adjacent “Potter’s Field” section of Evergreen Cemetery, where we lit incense at the recently installed marker for FPC founder Kiyoshi Okamoto. Relative Marie Masumoto located Okamoto’s remains last year in a mass grave for paupers from the year 1975, and a ceremony was held to dedicate the new marker. On this day Okamoto’s great-nephew Earnest Masumoto read some new remarks on the occasion of Frank Emi’s passing. And from our discovery of the resisters, we’ve come full circle to the interment of both leaders in the same city, in the same cemetery.

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