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Nikkei Chronicles #10—Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities

Keiro Superstar: Yosh Arima

At 91 years old, Yosh Arima has lived a full life of teaching, traveling, playing sports, and surrounding himself with people he enjoys.

After being incarcerated at Santa Anita horse stables—with transfers to Rohwer and then Tule Lake with his family during World War II—Yosh moved to California, then New Jersey, and back to California. He jumped around to different high schools during that time, but eventually graduated from Belmont High School in Los Angeles. He went to LA City College and Cal State LA then transferred to UCLA where he completed his bachelor’s degree. He later got his master’s degree from Cal Lutheran University. Though he did not plan on it, he landed in education and taught at Belmont High School for 42 years.  

A Teacher Throughout the Years 

Yosh was a teacher of a variety of subjects, a counselor, and popular baseball, gymnastics, golf, and basketball coach at Belmont, a career that he shared to be “very enjoyable and rewarding.” One of the highlights of his basketball career was being on the coaching staff for the Los Angeles City School All Stars that defeated the Southern California CIF All Stars. Another highlight was coaching the basketball team at Belmont that had an undefeated league season. Because of his dedication to his students, in 2006, the basketball court at Belmont was named “Arima Court” in his honor.

Arima Court at Belmont High School

To this day, Yosh keeps in contact with some of his students by attending class reunions and receiving phone calls or letters. He has also accidentally run into them around town and once even on an airplane during his travels!

Outside of coaching at Belmont, Yosh was a coach and the clinic director of the Los Angeles-based Sansei Basketball team for 10 years, where he was able to engage with visiting basketball teams from Japan. Whether it was strengthening their basketball skills or taking part in a cultural exchange, both teams benefitted from this international competition. Sansei basketball brought him many opportunities that he is grateful for such as cultural exchange, taking trips to Japan, and meeting new people that he still keeps in contact with.  

After retirement, Yosh began volunteering at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) as a regular docent for 15 years, sharing about Japanese incarceration during World War II and his personal experiences. To this day, he highly encourages everyone to put a visit to JANM on their bucket list.

Yosh giving a tour at JANM

For the Love of Sports

One of the things that Yosh is most known for is his love for sports. In the 60’s, Yosh played on the Little Tokyo Giants baseball team for several years where he was awarded Outstanding Player of the State Championship in 1960. Throughout his teaching career and retirement, he took several golf trips around the world and was able to play on major courses such as Mauna Kea in Hawaii, Banff Springs in Canada, Hida Sugo in Japan, Pinehurst in North Carolina, and more.

Golf continues to be a major part of Yosh’s life. Within the past few months, Yosh has been able to get back out onto the golf course and play with his friends and former co-workers on a weekly basis. His goal is to start playing three times a week. He plays for the exercise but most importantly, the relationships he has made with people.

Hopeful Travels

Yosh in Japan with friends

In December 2019, Yosh was diagnosed with congestive heart failure that put him in the hospital for three days. Since then, with the pandemic restrictions and his health, he has been limited from doing certain activities like traveling. But he has taken advantage of this time to stay active and healthy to come back even stronger when he is able to travel again. 

In order to keep himself in good shape, Yosh eats healthy food, goes on mile-long walks every day, and, of course, golfs. Additionally, Yosh tends to his garden daily, where he shares the produce with his family and friends. 

Yosh shared that one of his main motivations for staying healthy is to be able to travel to Japan and Thailand. He also looks forward to traveling to Hawaii twice a year for his annual family reunions.

Yosh’s Tips for a Healthy Life 

Yosh shared a few of his personal tips that have helped him stay healthy and encourages people to follow these tips to live a healthy and happy life!

  1. Maintain proper mental and physical activities.
  2. Have an overall positive outlook on life.
  3. Eat a healthy diet and take proper rest.
  4. Give back and contribute to the community.
  5. Drink alcohol in moderation.
  6. No smoking.
  7. Manage your stress.
  8. Make sure to go to your doctor for your annual physical.

Being Around People You Enjoy

Throughout his interview, Yosh continuously stressed the importance of being around people you enjoy. He shared, “My number one priority is to be around people you enjoy. Family is also very important, and I am very fortunate to have my family.” Yosh is very grateful to have spent his life surrounded by people he enjoys.

Yosh with his family

Yosh credits his wife for his longevity as she always cares for him through her cooking, household duties, caring for their kids, allowing him to go on golf trips, and more. Though Yosh resides in Monterey Park, he has children who live in Houston, TX, Sandpoint, ID, Whittier, and Rosemead. Although he is not able to currently visit his family that lives out of state, he makes sure to frequently call and send cards and letters.

When reminiscing about his past and where he is today, Yosh said, “I am very blessed in my life, and the personal relationships I have with people have been very rewarding to me.”


*This article was originally published on Keiro website on May 24, 2021. 


© 2021 Keiro

5 Stars

Nima-kai Favorites

Each article submitted to this series was eligible for selection as favorites of our readers and the Editorial Committees. Thank you to everyone who voted!

basketball Belmont High School coach docent Family golf JANM Japan Keiro NikkeiGenerations Sansei Basketball team travel Yosh Arima

About this series

The theme of the 10th edition of Nikkei Chronicles—Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities—takes a look at intergenerational relationships in Nikkei communities around the world, with a particular focus on the emerging younger generations of Nikkei and how they connect (or don’t) with their roots and with older generations. 

Discover Nikkei solicited stories related to Nikkei Generations from May to September 2021. Voting closed on November 8, 2021. We received 31 stories (21 English; 2 Japanese; 3 Spanish; and 7 Portuguese) from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, and the US, with a few submitted in multiple languages.

An editorial committee chose a favorite story in each language. In addition, a Nima-kai favorite was determined by online community voting. Here are the selections! (*Translations of the selected stories are currently in progress.)

Editorial Committee’s Favorites

Nima-kai Favorite:

To learn more about this writing project >>

* This series is presented in partnership with: 




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*Logo design by Jay Horinouchi