Monday, October 26, 2015

A Loss of a Remarkable Man: Shoji “Stogie” Kanogawa

It is with great sadness that our dear friend and one time Koyasan Temple President Shoji "Stogi" Kanogawa has passed away. A Washington born native, Shoji was the inspiration for the Soji Nishida character in our epic novel The Soldier and the Samurai. It was with his detailed recollections of  pre-war Seattle of the 1930's-1940's that we were able to create a literary facsimile of the world he grew up in. Like other Japanese Americans of his generation, Shoji along with his family (who owned the 12th Street Market in Seattle) were sent to the War Relocation Camps. Despite this unjust experience he proudly served in the US Army in the interim years between WWII and the Korean War from 1946-1949. Mr. Kanogawa as we knew him was a jolly old fellow who was one of the first people to welcome us to the Koyasan Temple. He had always been a friendly, lively, energetic man but then he suffered a debilitating stroke two years ago and had been in a steady decline yet remained a dear friend to the very end. He is survived by his wife Masako, two adult daughters Lori & Nancy Kanogawa. He was 88 years old at the time of his death. For us, Mr. Kanogawa was our friend and he will be missed but never forgotten. 

Sayonara old friend and Rest in Peace Mr. Kanogawa.


  1. Very sad. What an interesting life he must have had.

  2. The 1930's Seattle Washington scenes in our novel The Soldier and the Samurai were completely based on Shoji;s recollections. He was a friendly guy who always greeted you with a smile and a story. Our later 1990's Soji Nishida character was literally modeled on his personality. His assistance was immeasurable and his friendship we held dear. He had so many stories from his life we would have loved to have learned more about but the stroke of 2013 robbed him of much of his memories and his ability to convey them to us. We're just happy that we were able to show him the finished product and the pages where we both thanked him but the mentions of the Kanogawa family history within the pages of the book.