Akira Otani, 100, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on July 24, 2021.
Akira was born on January 26, 1921, in Honolulu to Matsujiro Otani of Okikamuro, Japan and Kane Otani of Kohala, Hawaii. He was the 5th of 9 children, grew up in Kaka’ako and Manoa, and graduated from McKinley High School. Following high school he attended the University of Hawaii while working with his father at the M. Otani Company.
In December 1941, at the onset of World War II, Akira volunteered for service first as a member of the Hawaii Territorial Guard, then as a Varsity Victory Volunteer and eventually as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, and went on to train incoming infantry recruits, mostly Nisei, at Fort McClellan, Alabama. By 1945, Akira joined the Military Intelligence Service specializing in Japanese language and proceeded to be stationed in Osaka, Japan, as 1st Lieutenant with the MIS Occupational Forces until he was honorably discharged in 1946.
Following his discharge he completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Hawaii. In 1947, he married the love of his life, May, while continuing to work at M. Otani Company and later at United Fishing Agency Ltd., the Honolulu Fish Auction, both originally founded by his father, Matsujiro Otani. After his father’s passing in 1972, Akira assumed leadership of United Fishing Agency as company President, and later Chairman, and was responsible for relocating the business from Kewalo Basin to Pier 38, its current location. He was dedicated to the business and continued to contribute until his passing. Akira was especially proud to work alongside his sons, Daniel and Floyd, who carry on the leadership of United Fishing Agency today.
Akira is survived by his loving wife of 74 years, May; sister, Evelyn Kiyota; 3 children and their spouses, Laura Gota (Raymond), Daniel (Lei), and Floyd (Joey); 7 grandchildren, Neal Gota, Myles Gota, Karen Brewer (Daniel), Denise Curran (Tom), Andrew, Megan, and Matthew; and 2 great-grandchildren, Clara Brewer and Elise Brewer. Akira was devoted to his family and will be remembered for his generous spirit and strong work ethic.
A private service was held and a memorial service is planned when circumstances permit.
Arrangements Provided By: Hosoi Garden Mortuary
Notice #: 0001337937-01