Remembering Fumiko Uyeda Groves: Leader & advocate of Japanese American community

 Fumiko Uyeda Groves, right, performs kamishibai during Kodomo no Hi in 2017. PHOTO BY JASON GU

Fumiko Uyeda Groves, right, performs kamishibai during Kodomo no Hi in 2017. PHOTO BY JASON GU

BY STEPHANIE IKEDA / JCCCW STAFF

Fumiko Uyeda Groves, a longtime board member of Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington, and active member of many other community organizations, recently lost her battle to cancer.

Fumi's parents were Masato and Ayako Uyeda, who operated a landscaping and garden ornament import business in what is today's Pike Place Market. The couple were also active in Hiroshima Kenjinkai, now Hiroshima Club. 

 Fumiko in the 1954 Seattle Betsuin Yearbook

Fumiko in the 1954 Seattle Betsuin Yearbook

Fumi grew up attending Japanese Language School and her family survived the incarceration experience, including being separated from her father, an Issei arrested after Pearl Harbor, for three years. After returning she graduated from University of Washington, started a family and worked various jobs, and eventually focused in the library field and received a Master's degree in Library and Information Science. Later in life, she served as President of the Hiroshima Club among many other community leadership positions and spoke about her experience with incarceration as well as losing family members in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

At the JCCCW, Fumi will be fondly remembered for her kamishibai, or Japanese storytelling, which she also widely shared at community centers and museums throughout the Puget Sound area. 

In all respects, Fumi was a tireless advocate for the Japanese American community and its history. Fumi wished for the generations that came after her to continue working to support and uplift the Japanese community in Seattle and remember their history. We will miss her dearly but her work and life will inspire us all for many years to come.

Services for Fumi are planned for April 14th at 1:30 pm at Seattle Betsuin with a reception to follow.