By Rosin Saez
January 20, 2016


Seattle—Local Artist Akio Takamori Passed Away January

The celebrated ceramist touched lives in both broad and quotidian ways, but always impactful whatever it was—be it life-sized works in front of a Whole Foods. Akio Takamori taught at the University of Washington in Seattle for over 20 years,  molding students in the ways of pottery and ceramics. The artist spent Wednesday, January 11 work in his Magnolia studio with his son, Peter. After returning home, Takamori passed away at the age of 66 from pancreatic cancer, reports the Seattle Times.

One UW student fondly remembers her former teacher:

“I took one class with Akio: beginning wheel throwing. He was so incredibly kind and funny. He took one of the stumpy cups I made, nodded, called it “ugly,” and told me it would be good for poison. Another time, he quietly sat down next to me during a break in class, broke a doughnut in half, gave me the other [half], and without saying anything, we ate. I didn’t know him very well, but I feel fortunate to have gotten a glimpse into his inspiring legacy as an artist and teacher. He will be missed very much.”

Pay your respects by way of art, that is, you can view Takamori’s latest work next month at his new exhibit at the James Harris Gallery in Pioneer Square.

“My interest is humanity,” he told the The News Tribune of Tacoma in 2006. “That doesn’t change, even over a thousand years. Everyone from a 2-year-old to an old man still has love, compassion, appreciates beauty.”

Indeed we do.

Seattle—Community Leader and Activist Al Sugiyama Also Passed This Month

Northwest Asian Weekly reports that longtime community activist, Al Sugiyama, passed away on January 2, also due to cancer. In 2010, the Seattle City council declared October 28 to be Al Sugiyama Day to honor his lifetime of achievements in community work; some of those being: He was the first Asian American member of the Seattle School Board, founded the Center for Career Alternatives, found a monthly pan-Asian newspaper, the Asian Family Affair, cofounded the Oriental Student Union at Seattle Central Community College in the late ‘60s, organized demonstrations to advocate for Asian American Studies, and the list continues on throughout a five-decade-long career.


Seattle—The Women’s March

A sister march to the Women’s March on Washington in our nation’s capitol will occur on Saturday, January 21. A cavalcade of marchers will start in Judkins park and move through Chinatown and Downtown to eventually meet at the Seattle Center. The Stranger said it well: “Please Be a Good Neighbor:Businesses in the Chinatown-International District and Little Saigon will be disrupted by marchers passing through the neighborhood during Lunar New Year, a busy time for these shops and restaurants. After protesting and committing to taking action, try to swing through the neighborhood and supporting the neighborhood’s businesses.”