July 22, 1925 ~ September 10, 2013
Takako (Kanehira) Moriyama
7/22/1925 – 9/10/2013
"In Autumn, when I hear the geese cry "caw," "caw"…I long for home."
Takako was born to Ryozo Kanehira and Chiyoko (Inazawa) in Taipei, Formosa (now Taiwan). Her father, Ryozo, was a widely recognized botanist, researcher and explorer with volumes of published works that are referred to to the current day. Because of Ryozo's world travels, the family was exposed to and adopted many aspects of western culture including embracing Christianity. Takako was mostly raised in Fukuoka, Japan where the family lived in a uniquely large western-style home known in the area for its red tile roof. Takako was the fifth of six children.
Takako met T. Walter Moriyama, originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1947 when Walter was in Japan while he was on active-duty in the U.S. Army (as part of the U.S. occupation forces). Walter and Takako dated and eventually received the blessings of Takako's parents to marry prior to her parents' deaths in late 1948. Despite receiving the consent of her parents, Takako could not immediately marry Walter because of laws restricting such marriages. Takako and Walter eventually received authorization and were married in Tokyo on December 15, 1950 at the American Consulate followed by a church wedding the next month.
Takako's and Walter's first child, Lisa, was born in Tokyo in 1951. Son, Grant, was born in Osaka in 1954. Takako and the family left Japan in 1960 and moved to Barstow, California where husband, Walter, worked in the Civil Service at Camp Irwin. As a stranger in a new country with her friends and family left back in Japan, Takako especially appreciated the loving acceptance of the residents in that small desert community. Several years later, the family moved to Redlands, California upon Walter taking a job at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino. Takako gave birth to her third child, Renee, (known to the family as "Mika") in nearby Fontana in 1965. Eventually, the family moved to Torrance, California in 1967 as Walter was transferred by the Air Force to El Segundo. Takako lived in Torrance until her death.
For a period of time Takako worked out of the home. She taught Japanese at the Gardena Buddhist Church prior to becoming a small business owner (with her husband) of laundromats and dry cleaning establishments. She was strong and physically active most of her life…even after surviving cancer.
Prior to her falling ill at the age of 86, she visited Japan approximately seven times after a long 23 year absence from her homeland. Possibly the most memorable homecoming was the trip she and Walter took together to Japan on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary when they were able to visit Fukuoka for the first time since they had first met. Subsequent to that Golden Anniversary trip, they took another memorable trip together in 2003 to Taiwan where Takako's father posthumously received recognition from a Taiwanese government agency for his research of the flora in that country.
Takako lost her mobility in 2011. Over the course of two years, she declined and progressively became weaker. Despite her condition, she was able to venture out regularly in a wheelchair until a few days prior to her peaceful passing. Funeral services were held on the beautiful Monday morning of September 16, 2013 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Torrance where she was an active member prior to her illness. The funeral services were attended by her three children, their spouses, all her eight of her grandchildren (who served as pall bearers) and 3 of 4 great grandchildren as well as approximately 200 friends. Takako is interned at Green Hills Cemetery in Palos Verdes, California.
Takako was legendary for her beauty - both external and internal but also her ability to see and create beauty of everything she saw and touched. She would frequently point out something overlooked or odd but through her eyes, people could see that it was beautiful. Her grandchildren recall on more than one occasion Takako picking up an Autumn leaf and admiring its elegance. With her fresh eyes she would create sophisticated and elegant Japanese flower arrangements, eventually becoming a certified teacher of Japanese flower arranging.
Takako would design beautiful clothes for herself and for her daughters. She did art. She learned to do leather work, sew, crochet, knit- not simple knitting but, elaborate heavy sweaters with Scandinavian snowflake designs. Her detailed hand-made Christmas decorations are some of her most remembered creations by the family. Takako would also cook and bake and she particularly loved baking since she had a sweet tooth, especially for chocolates. Unfortunately, the taste for chocolates was passed on to some of her family who eat it frequently, justifying that it is good for our health and now, because it reminds them of Takako.
She collected Asian antiques and during shopping trips, family members learned much from her by the way Takako looked, selected and then displayed the antiques.
She loved creating a home that was beautiful and serene. She frequently put recorded piano music on to fill the air; particularly works by Chopin which reminded her of her late sister, Sumiko, a classically trained concert pianist. She would also spend hours outdoors on her knees to tend to yard which was always covered in a rainbow of flowers of many varieties. Takako will always be remembered for her pot after pot of gorgeous cymbidium orchids.
Most importantly, she saw beauty in people. The family cannot recall her ever saying a mean word about anyone.
Grace comes from the Latin - gratus meaningful thankful. And Takako's grace came from gratitude. The family never heard envy in her words, only gratitude for her life and for her family. She would say over and over again," I have everything, I don't need anything". There is an easy elegance and refinement in one's manners and actions when there is no envy---no craving.
There is a Japanese word that Takako used frequently , "shoganai." It means" it can't be helped." It is a release…a letting go...and there is an accompanying peace and calm --a serenity that Takako seemed to have.
And in her final moments, Takako surrendered to death with abundance of grace and serenity. When she passed, the family continued to feel her serenity and by nightfall it had begun to settle in our hearts. Surely, this priceless gift must have been her final gift.
Takako had a beautiful Japanese calligraphy in the entrance of her home. As is customary with Japanese calligraphy, there is a white expanse of the void and a black ink calligraphy. In this calligraphy the word "hope" is written - her favorite word. Takako said that life without hope is not a life. Hope sustained her through the hardships of war, deaths and other tribulations and she told her granddaughter that hope was not only for one's own life but for everyone in the world. She would want us to share this sense of hope to all.
Beauty, grace, serenity and hope - precious and rare qualities embodied by Takako who will eternally be deeply loved by her husband, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and loved ones.
Husband: Walter Moriyama
Children: Lisa Moriyama (husband Stanley Wachs), Grant Moriyama (wife Julie Moriyama),
Renee Anderson (husband Darwin Anderson)
Grandchildren: Kristin Millett (husband Zachary Millett), Mitsu Salmon, Candice Moulton (husband Kellen Moulton), Kara Moriyama, Tiana Anderson, Shaylea Anderson, Jayden Anderson, Caprice Anderson
Great grandchildren: Porter Millett, Benson Millett, Bennett Moulton, John Millett
Parents: Ryozo Kanehira, Chiyoko (Inazawa)
Siblings: Yoichi, Sumiko (Takahashi), Michiko, Bunji, Shinsuke
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