Owner of Old Araki Store Celebrates Life as a Centenarian

October 28, 2009, 10:26 AM HST · Updated October 28, 10:27 AM
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Yoshiko Araki of Wailuku, Maui, turned 100 years old on Oct. 15.   About 100 of Araki’s friends and family wished her a happy birthday at a birthday celebration held on October 24 at Maui Beach Hotel Elleair Ballroom.

Photo Courtesy Araki ‘ohana: (standing from left) Sam Araki and Fred Araki; (Sitting) Yoshiko Araki and Jane Sorensen.

Photo Courtesy Araki ‘ohana: (standing from left) Sam Araki and Fred Araki; (Sitting) Yoshiko Araki and Jane Sorensen.

Born in Honolulu in 1909 to Risaburo and Rika Kikkawa, Araki left for Japan at the age of two where she and her sister Hanae resided with her mother and attended school in Hiroshima Prefecture.   Upon graduating from high school, she returned to Honolulu in August 1927 to join her father who lived and worked on Oahu.   She eventually met her future husband Masayoshi Araki and married in 1929.    She and her husband moved to Upper Paia where she was a Japanese language teacher until she owned and operated Araki Store in Upper Paia between July 1941 and March 1969.  She became a widow in late October 1953 and has remained a widow ever since.

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She and her husband reared three children, Jane Sorensen of South Pasadena, CA, and Fred and Sam Araki of Wailuku, all of whom were present at the recent birthday celebration.

“Grandma Araki is truly an amazing woman.   In addition to having a strong faith in God, Grandma is accomplished in artwork, ikebana, and Japanese calligraphy.   She still lives alone, is alert, and never goes a day without reading The Maui News as well as Hawaii Hochi.  Believe it or not, she stopped driving only a few years ago,” said her granddaughter Lynn Araki-Regan who coordinated the celebration.

The event included Japanese karaoke by family members, Japanese dancing by Tama Makishima, professionally known as Matsudai Tamao, performances by the Maui Nishigobu Choir, a video presentation of Araki’s life over the past century, remarks by family friend Carole Toy, and a banzai toast by Former Mayor Alan Arakawa.   

When asked what her secret is to a long life, she said that proper blood circulation is vital.   Everyday, she pounds her feet at least 100 times.   She also said that it’s important not to overeat and to maintain a healthy weight.

(Photo Courtesy Araki ‘ohana:  (standing from left) Sam Araki and Fred Araki;   (Sitting) Yoshiko Araki and Jane Sorensen.)

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