WAKATANI, KAMEICHI AND FUSAYO
Kameichi Wakatani was born in Wakayama-ken, Japan, on June 18, 1902. He came to the United States with his sisters and probably with his father. During the war, he was sent to the Manzanar Relocation Center where he became a Christian. Soon he dedicated himself to the Lord and studied at the Bible School in Chicago at night, while he worked during the day to support himself. Two years later, en route to his home town in Japan to evangelize, he stopped by Los Angeles to visit with Eiji Suehiro, who was the Bishop of the Holiness Church of North America. Suehiro convinced him that there were many unsaved Japanese farmers in the San Jose area. A visit there with Suehiro in May 1950 prepared the groundwork for future work in the area. Soon after that Wakatani married Fusayo Miyoshi, who had assisted in the work at the Honolulu Holiness Church.

Fusayo, who was born in Kauai, Hawaii, came to know Christ through the ministry of the Nazarene church during her recuperation from tuberculosis at the Leahi Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Honolulu. She was encouraged to attend the Honolulu Holiness Church around 1936 and started to work among the children and young people. During this time, she taught kindergarten at the Crossroads Church. After having a very fruitful ministry among the young people, she was encouraged by Miss Neva Young, a volunteer helper in the Sunday school and church, to attend a Bible school on the mainland.

After graduation, Fusayo returned to Hawaii and began the ministry with the English Department of the Honolulu Church in Moiliili. She continued faithfully in winning many young people and children through the Good News club and the church activities. Rev. and Mrs. Ernest Kilbourne arrived about 1949 and began to help her in the English Department ministry.

During this time, Fusayo left for California and was married to George Wakatani at the Los Angeles Holiness Church by Rev. James Suehiro. They began their ministry in the Campbell area at that time. Shichiro Masuda, who was saved through their ministries, once mentioned Wakatani’s passion for evangelism as follows:

As most of the Japanese farmers were strawberry farmers, Mr. Wakatani visited their ranches to evangelize. I was also a strawberry farmer in Milpitas along with twelve other families. Rain or shine, he visited us twice a week without fail. When his car would get stuck in the mud, I would pull his car out with my tractor. He was amazingly fervent for the Lord.

In 1954 as God blessed their work, a Saturday night worship service and a Bible school for children was begun in Campbell. That same year at the General Conference, Wakatani was appointed to the Campbell Church as an evangelist. The following year the church was named the Campbell Holiness Church, which was eventually to become the Santa Clara Valley Holiness Church.

As several church members such as Saeko Higashi, Haruko Shimizu, and the Masudas as well as the Wakatanis moved to Mountain View, a few miles North, home meetings began there. Due to the distance, the Wakatanis began a Sunday school in their home. These meeting set the foundation for the Sunnyvale Holiness Church. After the merger of the Campbell and Sunnyvale Holiness Churches, the Wakatanis began another pioneer work at an Assembly of God Church in San Jose.

In 1977, during a by-pass surgery, Wakatani suffered a stroke and was hospitalized at Highland Convalescent Hospital for five-and-one-half years. Kameichi Wakatani died on November 27, 1982, at the age of eighty.

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