Kinuyo Watt passed away on September 7, 2020.
Kinuyo was born on May 13th, 1948 in Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan. She joined Soka Gakkai with her parents at the age of eight. She was blessed with good looks, and as early as high school she was scouted by entertainment production companies. She favored a career in fashion rather than entertainment so her first job was at the famous Japanese apparel company Renown, where she worked both as a model and a stylist. She then moved to the jewelry department of Japanese watch company CITIZEN. It was at that time, as she was visiting a friend’s house, that a gas explosion accident left her with life threatening burns and injuries. Supported by Soka Gakkai members, she chanted and was determined to get better. She courageously survived several surgeries, including an heterogeneous skin graft, the very first performed in Japan. Her case and the speed of her recovery was notable enough to be presented at a medical conference. Next, Kinuyo decided to study abroad, in the United States, in order to become a jewelry designer and build upon her previous experience. Once her mind was made up she was unstoppable. She studied English, and managed to enroll into University of California, Berkley. She fell in love with the United States and didn’t want to go back to Japan. She worked hard on SGI activities and it was during one of them that she met Richard Watt, an officer in the United States Air Force. They married in 1985 and settled in Delano, California. Kinuyo was enthusiastic about Shakubuku. She contributed for more than 40 years as a pioneer of SGI-USA, and always led by example. In Delano, she and her husband held district SGI meetings at their home, always serving delicious food. Enticed by Kinuyo’s personality,
the number of members and guests increased steadily. The meetings’ scripts were prepared by Kinuyo and Richard every time, and for meetings held further away, such as Los Angeles or Chapter meetings, they went out of their way to help members get to them, in the spirit of Kosen-rufu New members, such as international students from Japan or others without local links, were always warmly welcomed and treated as members of her own family. For more than ten years she worked at the cafeteria of Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Her specialties, Kinny's Teriyaki Bowl was very popular. Always looking to challenge herself, she fulfilled a long time dream and enrolled into Japan’s Soka University’s teacher education program by correspondence in 2012 at age 63. This gave her the opportunity to attend summer school in Japan, an annual event where she made many friends from all over the world. She graduated in 2018. In 2018 her beloved husband passed away. She wanted to make the most of the rest of her life and continued her annual trips to Japan. She also travelled to meet her international friends. Each of her trip was full of cheerful energy and delighted her friends and family. She alsostarted the process of patenting the recipe for Kinny’s sauce. In June this year, she learned that she was sick but kept chanting and fighting, believing she would overcome. Friends and SGI members all over the world were chanting to support her until the very end. She is survived by her sister Kayoko and brother Mitoshi and their children. Her selfless and generous spirit will never be forgotten. She will be greatly missed.
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