Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Maui matriarch’s family
concocted guri guri treat

YOSHINO TASAKA / 1910-2001


By Rosemarie Bernardo

Yoshino Tasaka's main priority was her family.

"She remembered every family member's birthday and called to remind us who to send a gift to," said Tasaka's daughter, Jean Nagao.

"She was really thoughtful," she said.

Tasaka, 91, of Wailuku, retired proprietor of family-run business Tasaka Guri Guri, died Saturday in Hale Makua-Kahului.

She was born on March 10, 1910, in Kihei, Maui.

Yoshino Okada married Gunji Tasaka in 1931 and worked at the family store in Kahului until her mid-80s, said Nagao. "She was a really hardworking person," she added.

More than 80 years ago, Tasaka's father-in-law, Jokichi, opened the store that was originally called Tasaka Shogetsu-do. The store sold treats such as manju, mochi and yokan. But selling confections was not profitable, Nagao said.

In the 1940s the Tasakas created a dairy-based icy sherbet. The creamy ice cake grew popular among Japanese immigrants, who mispronounced the sherbet "goody goody as guri guri," Nagao said. The mispronunciation was later incorporated in the store's name.

Tasaka's sons, Henry and Setsuo, currently run the store.

Tasaka is also survived by daughter Thelma Odo, brother Sadami Okada, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Kahului Hongwanji Mission. A reception will follow. Casual attire. No flowers are requested.

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