Hatsumi Ishii Moss passed away peacefully on March 5th at Linda Manor. Hatsumi was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1929. Her parents were Hakutei and Kayo Ishii. She was the youngest daughter of seven children. Her father, Hakutei, was a prominent artist and an authority on art history. The Ishii family suffered the loss of their home in a 1945 wartime fire bombing raid.
Hatsumi’s mother was a Christian and Hatsumi attended Keisen Women’s College, a well-known Christian school in Tokyo founded by Michi Kawai, an early woman educator and leader among Japanese women. So, Hatsumi was greatly influenced to become a Christian. She was baptized in 1949. During her college days, Hatsumi participated in the program of the Student Christian Fellowship. There, she became good friends with one of the leaders, John (Jack) Moss.
In 1951, Hatsumi was given an opportunity to study in America at National College for Christian Workers in Kansas City, Missouri. When Jack returned to America, their friendship deepened and they were married in Jack’s father’s church in Saranac Lake, NY in 1953. They felt led to return to Japan as a missionary couple. They completed studies at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. While in New Haven, their first child, Patricia Nozomi, was born. Back in Tokyo, while Jack continued his language studies, Hatsumi was a volunteer worker for the American Joint Committee for Assisting Japanese-American Orphans. Their second child, Carolyn Megumi, was born in Tokyo in 1956.
Hatsumi and Jack were assigned to work in the Niigata District of the United Church of Christ in Japan. During their work in Niigata, they served together as a team on many projects in consultation with Japanese church leaders. In the early years there, Jack relied on Hatsumi to translate sermons and speeches. They had a weekly fellowship time in their home, open to anyone. Hatsumi helped with church district youth programs, women’s activities, and the establishment of a retreat center on the slopes of a mountain. When the Niigata Earthquake of 1964 caused great damage in the city, the Mosses opened their home as a center for student work-campers to do relief work.
Besides these and her domestic responsibilities, Hatsumi became a leader of the Niigata YWCA and eventually became a vice president of the Japan YWCA, representing Japan at various overseas conferences. She served on the Niigata Prefecture Adult Education Committee. As such, she often was asked to speak to PTAs and other groups about issues of the day. She was a pacifist with deep concern about international understanding, world peace, and reconciliation.
From 1962, Hatsumi was on the committee to establish a new private high school in Niigata based on a Christian philosophy of education. After years of effort, Keiwa High School opened in 1968. Hatsumi was asked to serve on the staff of the new school. She taught English, spoke frequently in chapel, served as a head homeroom teacher, advised seniors about their future in higher education and jobs, and counseled a student service club with frequent trips abroad, mostly in Asia. During her 26 years there, she helped shape the lives of thousands of her students, many of whom frequently returned to visit their beloved Hatsumi Sensei (Teacher).
Hatsumi retired with Jack in 1994 to South Hadley, and greatly enjoyed being near Patricia and Carolyn and their families. She had 6 grandchildren, including triplet boys, who now are all grown up. Two great-grandchildren born recently brought great delight. Hatsumi loved music: attending concerts, playing the piano, and singing in the church choir. She had a very extensive doll collection from travels around the world.
In 2017, the couple moved to the Lathrop Community in Easthampton, with many new friendships. They were able to continue attending their cherished Hope United Methodist Church in Belchertown,
Memories of Hatsumi will gladden the hearts of many who will feel deep thankfulness for her
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