Obituary

Kazuo Richard Miyahara passed peacefully in Toronto, Canada at the age of 86 due to aspiration pneumonia and declining health on December 31, 2019. Kazuo was born on February 3, 1933 in Osaka, Japan to parents Chika and Shizuka Miyahara, a trade carpenter. Kazuo’s beginnings were humble. His path in life would be influenced by interest in practical building skills and a desire to experience the world. During the evacuation of dense city centres, like Osaka, during WWII, Kazuo (age 10) was relocated to his ancestral home in Kyushu, where he built a lasting relationship with his extended family and the Kagoshima region. For the rest of his life, he proudly identified as a “Kagoshima-jin” or Kagoshima person, coupling himself with the region’s rich historical identity. Kazuo pursued an education to become a trade engineer and merchant marine from the newly established Kobe Shosen Daigaku (Kobe University of Mercantile Marine). He ambitiously studied English Language, firmly establishing his plans to explore beyond Japan. As a merchant marine, Kazuo visited international ports and witnessed the world at sea throughout the 1950s. One particular stop in Lima, Peru became the occasion for meeting Akiko Yokoyama, whom he married in 1958 and with whom he had two children: Kotaro and Yumi. In 1966, Canada was preparing for its centennial year as a nation, and created opportunities for foreign families to emigrate. Kazuo chose Canada. He lined up early in the morning on the first day Canadian visas were made available in Japan. In October 1966, 33 years after his birth, Kazuo, Akiko, Kotaro, and Yumi were amongst the first Japanese families to emigrate to Canada in the post-war period. Kazuo would always consider 33 an auspicious number related to notable events in his life. In Canada, Kazuo worked in heavy machinery at Sumitomo Canada Limited, Miura Canada Co. and later as a real estate broker. He enjoyed rugby; alumni reunions with his Japanese peers and community; and frequent trips back to Japan with his grandson, Dekkerd. Kazuo was an active participant in the Japanese-Canadian community. He was a founding member of Nikka Gakuen School in Toronto; a prominent member of Shinki-kai Association of Japanese Canadian Businesses and Professionals; and an organizer in Kagoshima Kenjin Kai, a community-based events group for families. Later in life, the Japanese-Canadian community that Kazuo helped foster would return the favour with exceeding generosity. Volunteers, staff and organizers affiliated with Castleview Wychwood, Momiji and Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre helped Kazuo maintain a connection with the homeland he loved. Kazuo Richard Miyahara is survived by his children, Kotaro Robert Miyahara and Yumi Miyahara, and his grandchild, Dekkerd Kyo Copp Miyahara. Kazuo is to be cremated and processed at the Cardinal Funeral Home. In place of a funeral service, the family has chosen to celebrate Kazuo’s life at a later date in Japan with his much cherished school alumni, close friends and family. In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations may be made to Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Momiji Healthcare Society, or Parkinson Canada.

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November 28, 2020
Jonathan Murphy
I was sorry to hear Richard passed away. Richard was my Senpai at Miura Canada in 1988. My thoughts and prayers are with you. RIP Miyahara San.