This article explores a Japanese American family mortuary and its 100 years of service and involvement with the Japanese American community in Los Angeles through five generations of the Fukui family. The Fukui Mortuary is Los Angeles’s oldest Japanese American family mortuary and has provided the Japanese American community with services relating to death and bereavement for nearly a century. Through autoethnographic and ethnographic methods, this research examines a site within the Japanese American community after World War II where death, ethnicity, nationality and gender intersect. Studying the cultural and traditional options people have to negotiate, participate and engage in one’s cultural practices during a time of death allows us to investigate the structures of power, economics and institutions that are embedded in our histories and societies. Through the mobilization and service of cultural traditions related to death, the Fukui mortuary contributes to the story of Japanese Americans and how ideas of death, religion, gender and ethnicity are situated in community involvement and the genealogy of the Fukui family.
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