SUEHIRO, EIJI JAMES
Eiji Suehiro was born in Yamaguchi-ken, Japan, on March 1, 1905. He came from a family often brothers and sisters. His boyhood was spent in a peaceful, rural area of Japan. At the tender age of fourteen, he came to Hawaii to join his father who was working there.

It was Toyohiko Kagawa’s book, Beyond the Death Line, published in 1921, which opened Eiji’s spiritual eyes. In 1923, he met Seikan Higa of the Methodist Mission in Honolulu, who had also been deeply influenced by Kagawa. In December 1924, Kagawa came to Honolulu for a series of lectures. Suehiro accepted Christ at the Honolulu Memorial Mission Hall after hearing Kagawa’s message, “The Champion of Faith.” Three days later, on December 10, he was baptized by Kagawa at an early morning Bible study.

In 1927, he graduated from the Lahaina Luna High School in Maui and entered the University of Hawaii. That same year he met Sadaichi Kuzuhara at the Kakaako Mission, where Toshio Hirano was pastor. On May 1, 1930, coming under the conviction about the Bible as the Word of God, Suehiro committed himself to the Lord.

Encouraged by his older brother, Waichi, to see Kuzuhara and learn from him, Eiji Suehiro came to the Mainland in 1931 and instead of going to Japan for theological studies, enrolled at the Huntington Park Training School. The following year, on June 16, 1932, Eiji Suehiro and Tamiyo Yonemura were married at the Los Angeles Holiness Church. In 1933, he was assigned as an assistant pastor of the Los Angeles Holiness Church. On February 7, 1934, he was dispatched to Seattle to begin a pioneer work. In 1936, he was ordained at the annual Holiness Conference. After four years of ministry in Seattle, Suehiro was assigned to the San Lorenzo Holiness Church on June 1, 1938, and served there until World War II began.

With the outbreak of the war, Suehiro was sent to the Topaz Relocation Camp. In the camp, he suffered a kidney problem, and was hospitalized for three months. On July 29, 1945, Eiji Suehiro returned to the San Lorenzo Holiness Church from Topaz.

In August of 1946, Suehiro was elected Superintendent of the Holiness Conference, succeeding Sadaichi Kuzuhara. He was also appointed as minister of both the Japanese and the English Departments. He served the Los Angeles Church for twenty-nine years, until Robert Tsujimoto succeeded him in September 1975. Suehiro served on numerous Conference committees and he briefly served as the Executive Secretary for the Japanese Division.

In his retirement years, Suehiro began publishing a widely received monthly bulletin called, Friends of Faith, in March 1977. That publishing ministry continued until September 1989. Five children were born to the Suehiros: Jonathan, Aiko, Eiko, Mitsuko and Sharon. Presently, Suehiro resides with his daughter Aiko in Gardena, while his wife is in a convalescent home.


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