The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001296082-01
Funeral Notices


The smallest in stature of seven sisters, Nancy was known as "Big Nei" to all. She enjoyed taking care of her two daughters and large family. Nancy was the first child of Richard Manki Higa and Tsuruko Miyashiro, born on February 5, 1925. She left us peacefully September 5, 2020. Nancy graduated in 1942 from Farrington High School and married Shojiro Akamine in 1944. In 1956, she and Shojiro bought Manoa Grill. Nancy became a widow three years later, and through her perseverance, managed to become a successful business owner, operating the restaurant until 1970. She then went on to work at the Pagoda Restaurant and served as its manager until retirement. In 1977, she married Robert Arizumi and together they traveled throughout the world with many visits to the ninth island.

As the eldest sister, Nancy encouraged the family to be active in Ginowan Club events, stressing the importance of maintaining family traditions. For many years she was instrumental in andagi making with her family at the Okinawan Festival. In 2002, she was honored as Ginowan’s Uchinanchu of the year.

Nancy will be remembered for her gracious hospitality and generosity. She took joy in cooking for family and friends, paired with a witty sense of humor that never left her even as her short-term memory faded in her later years. Active until the end, she spent much of her 90’s making hundreds of hand-sewn bean bags for her great-grandchildren and their classmates.

Nancy continues to live on through the practices and values that are reflected in the families of daughters, Claire Matsumoto and Wilma Ogimi (Tom); sisters, Betty Higa (James), Alice Morisako (Larry), Lillian Tanabe (George), Elaine Koike (Ken), Karen Shimabukuro (Fred) and Gayle Terayama (Tom); 4 grandchildren, Marc Matsumoto, Matt Matsumoto, Tricia Araki and Michelle Mendes; 9 great-grand- children, and many nieces and nephews. Our hearts will always reflect Big Nei’s cheerful love of life. Private services held.

Arrangements Provided By: Hosoi Garden Mortuary