Hawai'i jeweler Yoshimasa Ishihara dead at 86
By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer
Yoshimasa Ishihara's life is best described by the Japanese word, "kaizen," which means lifelong learner.
Yoshimasa Ishihara "was an example of integrity and professionalism and was a leader in the (jewelry) industry," said his son Isaac Ishihara.
"Dad took (kaizen) to heart," third-generation jeweler Isaac Ishihara said. "He was always trying to learn new things. He read trade magazines and he attended jewelry industry classes until his retirement. We have all the latest equipment.
"I think he was an example of integrity and professionalism and was a leader in the industry," said his son, who is running the family business after working off and on with his father for 30 years.
Yoshimasa Ishihara gave up an opportunity to attend medical school after he graduated from the University of Hawai'i-Manoa to help his father, Gihei, a noted watchmaker on Kaua'i who opened a jewelry store on 'A'ala Street in Chinatown in 1927.
When Gihei brought his son into the business, G. Ishihara & Son had moved to Hotel Street near River Street. Yoshimasa Ishihara was running the business in 1952, when he moved the store to Hotel and Bishop streets and changed the name to Hallmark Jewelers.
In 1966, Hallmark opened a second store at Ala Moana Center, becoming the first tenant on the diamondhead side of the shopping center.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Rosaline; sons John, Robert and Isaac; daughters Joan Nakamoto and Susan Ishihara; brothers Yasuo Ishihara; sisters Janet Lee, Sylvia Ifuku and Lillian Sakasegawa; and four grandchildren.
A private service was held Friday. The family requests donations in his name can be sent to the American Gem Society, c/o Peggy Campbell, 8881 W. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89117.