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Hashimoto celebrates 100 years

When Tsurue Ijima Hashimoto celebrated her 100th birthday Friday, the event was more than a party at Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital.

“It’s been such a long time since we had something like this,” said Josie Pablo, the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation Kaua‘i Region recreation director. “We even have a live performance by select members of the Shinbuyo Kai dance group. We couldn’t do this before.”

Hashimoto was born on May 21, 1921 in Kaumakani, to parents Shozo and Haru Ijima, Pablo said.

According to a birthday message sent by Mayor Derek Kawakami, Hashimoto’s parents were immigrants who came to work at the Olokele Sugar Company mill. She had four brothers and one sister.

“As we know, plantation life was hard, and being thrifty to make ends meet was a key to survival,” the mayor said in his message. “Being the second oldest of five, and the oldest girl in the family, she learned at an early age the valueable ethics of life. She learned how important it was to help her family in any way she could.”

Memories of her childhood years and the sight of familiar friends painted her face with a radiant smile in the collection of quick tents that sprouted in the yard outside the KVMH entrance, where all guests needed to be screened for entry.

“She’s connected to the mayor,” said Janice Oyama, one of four daughters born to Tsurue and Seiroku “Cowboy” Hashimoto. “She used to cut and bag vegetables at night. Those bags were brought to be sold at the Kawakami Store as chop suey vegetables.”

“Tsurue also was a seamstress, and all of the Kawakami aunties used to come to our house and be fitted for dresses,” Oyama said.

Hashimoto’s family came from Honolulu, California and Arizona to celebrate this milestone event with KVMH residents and the HHSC Kaua‘i Region leadership team.

Kawakami’s message said Hashimoto, her daughters and their families are so thankful for the wonderful love and care she receives at the KVMH Long-Term Care, as well as from her physician, Dr. Richard Lewan, who led the birthday anthem and provided additional entertainment during lunch prepared with the help of the KVMH culinary crew.

“All of the caregivers have become a part of her ‘ohana,” Kawakami said. “At 100 years young, she still has her beautiful smile, humor and inner strength. But don’t let that food you, as she can be headstrong and feisty. Her work ethic and strength to persevere and endure life’s ups and downs has made her the woman she is.”

Pablso said with Hashimoto’s birthday, she becomes the fourth centenarian residing at the KVMH Long Term Care.

“Tsurue’s the second ‘Hashimoto,’” Pablo said. “The other is Chiyoko Hashimoto — she’s 100 years old — and there’s Mitsue Kimoto. And, we have Naoko Ogata who is 104 years old.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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