USSEC Honors Yoshiko Kojima as U.S. Soy Advocate
- General News
USSEC mourns the loss of Yoshiko Kojima, who was an integral part of the American Soybean Association (ASA) Tokyo office for many years.
Ms. Kojima worked for ASA Tokyo in the area of Soy for Human Usage starting at its inception in 1956. She worked for over 40 years to advocate the import of U.S. Soy to Japan.
The efforts of people such as Ms. Kojima have been key for the U.S. Soy industry to gain the respect of the Japanese public as a trusted partner. Together, the U.S. and Japan have fashioned a trading relationship that helps feed the Japanese nation and supports the families of American farmers and traders. The efforts of the U.S. and Japanese industries and USSEC in this important market continue to be essential.
According to USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization (HU) Manager & Japan HU Director Masako Masi Tateishi, Ms. Kojima worked as a secretary for General Headquarters (GHQ), which occupied Japan after World War II, before joining ASA. She was also active for the improvement of women’s status in Japan, at one point chairing the Japanese branch of Zonta International Club, a worldwide organization of executives in business and professions working together to advance the status of women.
“The last time I met her,” recalls Ms. Tateishi, “was March 2014 at her nursing home. Our food bean customer/importer, Mr. Mokichi Aihara, president of Saitama Ryokoku, took Mr. Gunnar Lynum, former ASA Japan Director (1983-1987), and me to see her when [Mr. Lynum] visited Japan. Mr. Aihara kindly introduced me to Ms. Kojima as her successor and told Ms. Kojima that because of ASA Japan’s service and support during her era, his business has continued to be sustainable and successful, and he has been able to continue importing U.S. Soy food beans from the state of Ohio for many years.”
Mr. Aihara stated, “I’ve known her over 30 years since my father’s era, who founded a food bean wholesaler many years ago. I went to the United States with Ms. Kojima. She invited to her house in Seijo, Tokyo. I had lunch with her a few times in Aoyama, Tokyo. I remember very clearly that when I asked Ms. Kojima, “What is your energy source?” she replied while smoking slowly, “A bit of wine & cheese!” Ms. Kojima was a pioneer of food beans.”
Ms. Kojima died of pneumonia at the age of 92. Her memorial service was conducted in Honpoji Temple in Asakusa on May 25.