On the February 2, 2019, the Jikoen Buddhist Women’s Association honored Jean Yamashiro for the work she has done to sustain Jikoen. Her unfailing good humor, patience, kindness, and willingness to work combine to create a place of warmth and support. Jean’s life is truly an example of a Buddhist life of gratitude and love.
Jean Yamashiro, A Buddhist Life
Jean was the first of four children. She lived on Liliha Street when it consisted of grocery stores and small businesses. The household Jean grew up in was simple. For example, her family did not have a phone. They went to the grocery store to receive and make phone calls. The family’s mode of transportation was the bus until 1948, when they purchased their very first car. On very special occasions, they took the taxi, which had a mini-fan on the dashboard! This precursor to air conditioning was considered a luxury.
Jean attended Liliha Elementary School where she starred in both, “Tubby the Tuba” and “Hansel and Gretel” at the LEAD! The fact that Jean was a budding actress is little known but true. The family moved to Kapahulu where she attended Kaimuki Intermediate and graduated from Kaimuki High School in 1954.
Being the oldest, Jean had the responsibility of boiling several pots of water for the family’s baths and cooking dinner Monday through Saturday. Her mother did not get home from work until 9:00 pm. Like her mother, Jean was a very hard worker. Not only did she do her chores, but also worked at Bill’s Bakery on Kapahulu Ave. after school.
After graduating from the University of Hawaii with a degree in Nursing in 1958, she started her career at The Children’s Hospital on Kuakini Street, which is now the Rehab Hospital of the Pacific. She then went on to work as a Registered Nurse at Windward Pediatrics.
She met a handsome young man, Katsuo Yamashiro, while on a moonlight picnic at the beach. Jean and Katsuo were married on October 8, 1960. They have two sons, two daughters, seven grandchildren and five granddogs. They have been on many adventures together. They have traveled to the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Washington DC, Japan Okinawa, Australia, and Europe. They also have done a tour of the National Parks.
After their children became independent, Jean and Kats decided to seek spiritual guidance, which led them to Jikoen. Jean is a very caring and nurturing person, always there to help and care for her grandchildren. She finds time even with her busy schedule to watch her grandchildren at gymnastics, swimming, baseball and volleyball. Her most satisfying moments come from watching her grandchildren grow into young men and women. She also enjoys crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles.
It is fitting the Jikoen Buddhist Women’s Association honors and thanks Jean for her tireless work on behalf of Jikoen Temple. When you are in the presence of her smile, her kindness, her patience, and her great caring, you know instantly that you are in the presence of a Buddhist life unfolding. Thank you, Jean, for all you do for Jikoen.