Dentist treated patients
with care for years

Cards and pictures covering a bulletin board in the waiting room of Kanemi Kanazawa's office testify to the meticulous dental care he provided for generations of patients.

Kanemi Kanazawa: He often talked about current events as he treated his patients

The longtime Honolulu dentist, former detective, military intelligence officer and war veteran died Saturday at his son Peter's home. His 87th birthday was today.

"The night before he died, we all went for trick-or-treating, wheeling him around (in a wheelchair)," his son said. "He really lived a full life."

Kanazawa and his twin brother, Kinji, who died Oct. 8, were the last of seven children born to Sakijiro and Haru Kanazawa.

They grew up in Moiliili, attending Kuhio Elementary and Washington Intermediate Schools and McKinley High School.

Kanemi took premedicine at the University of Hawaii where he and his brother won gold medals for being the best soldiers in ROTC. He was active in sports, including wrestling, soccer and rowing.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1939, Kanazawa became a detective in the Honolulu Police Department. He and other detectives, including former Gov. John Burns, were assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for counterespionage investigations before World War II.

Kanazawa joined the U.S. Army Dec. 15, 1941, and was commissioned as a captain from the ROTC when the 442nd Infantry Battalion was formed.

Because of martial law, he had to ask permission to marry a "native," and he and Harumi Hanada, of Maui, were married March 8, 1943.

He served as a military intelligence officer in the Counter Intelligence Corps.

He also served as an infantry unit commander in Europe and the Pacific before he was discharged as a captain in 1946. He was wounded twice and hospitalized in France and England.

After the war, Kanazawa worked his way through Northwestern University dental school in Chicago, supporting his wife and two children.

He returned to Hawaii in 1953 and opened his dental practice. He was in the same office at 1415 Kalakaua Ave. for at least 45 years. Peter Kanazawa joined the practice in 1989 and has continued it since his father retired in April.

Patients remember Kanemi Kanazawa's keen interest in discussing current events and other topics while their mouths were full of instruments. Children were treated to a gentle tweak on the nose when he finished.

Peter Kanazawa said he sees gold crowns and other work done by his father 30 or more years ago: "You know if they're not done right, they wouldn't last.

"More than the things I learned from him was being able to practice with confidence that there was a guy next to me with that much experience who could bail me out," he said. "That allowed me to maintain a large range of dentistry."

Kanazawa was president of the Honolulu County Dental Society in 1964, the Hawaii Dental Association in 1968 and the Hawaii Service in 1970. He was a member of the Hawaii Dental Association Board of Trustees and House of Delegates from 1969 to 1984.

The Hawaii Dental Association gave him a Distinguished Service Award in 1987 as "one of the wisest leaders of our association who has been the stabilizing force for many years."

He served as an instructor at Northwestern University, the University of Hawaii, Kapiolani Community College and St. Francis Hospital. He was first chairman of the Division of Stomatology of the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Hawaii Society of Dentistry for Children in 1968 and was awarded many fellowships for his leadership and service.

Over the years he was active in Boy Scouts, the Moiliili Community Center and the Language School. He was an active member of the Moiliili Hongwanji Mission, serving in various positions on the board of directors.

Survivors include another son, Chris, also of Honolulu; a daughter, Lisa Mizono, of San Francisco; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at Hosoi Garden Mortuary with visitation from 4 to 4:30 p.m.


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