Obituaries detail

Nobuko Kawase , Age: 91
Oct 28, 1931 - Mar 13, 2023
On October 28, 1931, Nobuko was born in Tainan, Taiwan, the second of four girls She often identified as Jo of Little Women, a story of four close sisters. She was the child of bank manager, Uichi Matsui. His upward career trajectory required experience away from Japan. 
As a preteen, Japan entered World War II. Her family relocated to Japan’s mainland. Schooling included nationalistic songs and war preparations filled her life. Toward the end of the war, Nobuko’s life was marked by privation and the death of friends by American bombs. Her father contracted Tuberculosis. Due to no antibiotic treatment in that era, he was confined to a sanatorium, one stay lasting two years.Concomitantly, she was an academic success. She skipped two years of public education and finished her Bachelor of Arts at age 19 from the elite Tokyo Woman’s Christian College. There she taught Math and Physics, giving her place in her community and even in post-war Japan a good income.Nobuko met Makoto Kawase, at Nishikatamachi Church located just outside the gate of University of Tokyo. Loss of the war bred distrust of the emperor, causing Nobuko and Makoto, as well as many other elite students, to follow Christ. They married in 1954 and honeymooned nearby, being able only to afford the voluntary hospitality of a church family. Their first child, Yutaka, was born the following year.After obtaining a Master of Science at University of Tokyo, Makoto continued graduate work at the better-funded University of Minnesota. Nobuko followed in 1956 by taking a two-week freighter trip over the Pacific. The romance of international travel was dispelled by sea sickness and chasing a toddler. Makoto contracted appendicitis, preventing him from meeting her in Los Angeles. She made the 50-hour train trip to Minneapolis by herself.Academic opportunity brought the family to Cornell where Makoto obtained his doctorate. In 1959 they had their first daughter, Yuriko. Starting a new life in America was challenging for Nobuko. Speaking English with an accent, not making a living, and raising two children without extended family - she felt like a tired second-class citizen. Nobuko had had hoped for return to Japan;  not being able to was a difficult trial.Makoto completed his post-doctoral fellowship in Horticultural research at Purdue and took his first real job in Manitoba, Canada. Nobuko braved the -49 degree F cold in the town of Morden. Quite distant from Japanese culture, food, and people, she contented herself learning the nuances of canning and raising children in western culture. In 1962 they welcomed their second daughter, Mariko.Job advancement brought the family to Wooster, Ohio, Nobuko’s home for the next 32 years. The community was larger, more cosmopolitan, and more educationally accomplished. She flourished with friends, taught Japanese, studied computers, and raised children. She knew how to party!In 1982, Nobuko traveled with her husband on an important expedition to northern Japan to obtain flora for the American Nursery (Plant) Industry. Not long after, her husband succumbed to cancer. She came to embrace the Book of Ruth. Widowhood came hard, but she regained emotional footing and worked for ten years at American Honda as an Administrative Assistant. She also taught “Saturday School” Japanese and math to expatriate families.In 1999, Nobuko moved to Kansas, sharing home with Yutaka and his wife Sue, their five children and students. She came to be a homeschool advocate and taught math through calculus. She also cooked weekly meals, which were generous feasts! In community with many moving parts, she was resilient. She had to be. She did take welcome breaks, vacationing with Yuri’s family in Florida. In, 2000 Nobuko came to see America as home. At age 68, she obtained citizenship and then voted in all elections available to her, save one.In 2007, her unyielding insistence on visiting her birthplace introduced Yutaka’s family to All Nations, a mission agency. This cascaded into many international family mission trips.In the 2000s and early 2010s she stepped into the blur of her grandchildren's activities. Dance six days/week, performances, travel (including to Japan), meals, injury rehab - she supported it all (and drove lots).In recent years, generosity, spunk, and affection waxed despite less energy and declining memory. She retained some “mean” dance moves and forehand-batting balloon skills. Foremost in her thinking was providing for her family. Until her last year she was a voracious reader and an avid letter writer.On March 13, 2023, and after four months of intense health challenges, Nobuko transitioned into the loving arms of the Lord with family at her bedside. She is preceded in death and joined in burial by her husband Makoto Kawase.***Nobuko is survived by:- Taeko Nakadaira (sister) with…- Nephew Shinya, married to Toyoko, and their daughter Mimika- Niece Aiko, married to Megumi Inoue, and their children Manae, Masumi, Hikari, and Motoki- Nephew Nozomu’s widow Ikuno, and their children Fujiko and Motono- Toshiko (sister) and Yoshiasu Kobayashi with…- Niece Itsuko, married to Ichiro Hatanaka, and their daughter Reina- Niece Junko, married to Motoyuki Yuasa, and their children Ko and Shun- Kazuko Kamoshita (sister) with…- Nephew Nobuhiko, married to Mariko Kamoshita, and their children Masahiko and Tetsuji- Nephew Akihiko, married to Yuko Kamoshita, and their children Mana and Nozomi- Niece Yuko, married to Kenji Uchida, and their children Hiroya and Chiaki
- Yutaka (son) and Sue Kawase with…- Granddaughter Jenna, married to Kiran Eshcol, and their children Mika, Satya, and Esther- Grandson Kenon, married to Annie Kawase, and their children Nathanael, Benaiah, Eliza- Granddaughter Kirsten, married to Dominick Wong- Granddaughter, Abigail, married to Kyung Han- Grandson Joshua- Yuriko (daughter) and Mike Naegele with…- Granddaughter, Janelle- Mariko (daughter) and Fritz Cropp with…- Grandson Eric- Granddaughter Marisa
Nobuko is preceded in death by brothers in law, Kenkichi Nakadaira and Shigehiko Kamoshita, and nephews, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi and Nozomu Nakadaira.
In lieu of flowers, those desiring to contribute, can give to All Nations International- Taiwan Hub in honor of Nobuku Kawase. Give — All Nations International


Shinya NAKADAIRA Mar 17, 2023

Nephew ,Tokyo

My Aunt Nobuko was a great person helping everyone and loved by everyone. I am proud of having such an aunt.

Angie, Kevin, Kasey and Ethan Weigelt Mar 18, 2023

friends ,Brasov, Romania

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Grandma Kawase. May God surround you with grace and comfort as you grieve her loss. She was an incredible woman. Kind, thoughtful, giving, hard working, comical, and with a deep love for her God, her family and her friends. We had the privilege of living with the Kawase family for a season. At that time, Grandma taught the kids math and Japanese. She cooked every Thursday. We were some of the students mentioned who would change their schedules to be there for her cooking. She was an amazing chef and an incredible host. Her Thursday meals rivalled Thanksgiving dinners - roast turkey with all the trimmings or a Japanese feast with Miso soup. The day we moved out, she made a pie for us. One of my favourite memories of her was when she came home from her morning walk with a turtle she had found on the road. She was carrying it in a frying pan or on a flipper of some form. She had that twinkle in her eye that was indicative of her fantastic sense of humour and fun loving side. I believe she joked of turtle soup and we all had a good laugh. She was precious to all who had the privilege of knowing her, a 'grandma' to so many. We will miss her and grieve with so many others. May God comfort each of you and bring solace to the ache that her absence leaves. With love and prayers, Angie, Kevin, Kasey and Ethan Weigelt

Antonio and Tawnya Kitt - Bridge Church Mar 19, 2023

Friend of the Wong family ,Wichita ,Kansas

Our deepest condolences to the Kawase family. What a beautiful tapestry of God’s faithfulness embedded into her life and legacy; thank you for sharing it. May the Lord flood your hearts with fond memories and grant you peace. Amen.

Priscilla Wan Mar 20, 2023

Friend ,Columbus ,Ohio

My heart and prayers go out to the Kawase family who continue the legacy of this great woman of God. My life and countless others have been touched and marked by Nobuko and her family.