Fujiko was born on November 22, 1928, in Nanai village, near Mashiko town, in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, Japan. The youngest of seven children, she was born into a family of long lineage and high rank, gentry farmers, samurai warriors, and government officials. As a young woman, she lived and worked in Tokyo where she met her future husband, Laurence Axtell, a young US serviceman. They married in 1953. Fujiko left her entire family and culture behind, moved to Colorado to start her new life, and supported her growing family tying exquisite fishing flies for a boutique sporting goods company. The family moved to Hawaii in 1960, where Fujiko enjoyed the next six decades living in the quiet beach town of Kailua.
After becoming a proud American citizen, raising three children, and enjoying artistic pursuits in custom dressmaking, brush painting, and stoneware pottery, Fujiko found God. At the urging of an angelic being who visited her one night, she began studying the Bible and then converted to Christianity, eventually joining the Japanese church The Original Gospel Faith (Makuya). From then on, Fujiko pursued a spiritual life of prayer, study, and service to God, while continuing her roles as wife, mother, and friend to many. Following a stroke in 2019, she lived in quiet prayer and reflection at the Pohai Nani Care Center in Kaneohe.
Fujiko was preceded in death by her husband Laurence Willard Axtell (October 7, 2020), her parents Shinzo Iwashita and Mitsu Nanai Iwashita, six siblings, and generations of Iwashita, Nanai, and Kawahara ancestors before her. She is survived by her children Carson Willard Axtell, Linda Mitsui Axtell-Thompson (Mark Thompson), and Benjamin Laurence Axtell (Tamara Bissell-Axtell); grandchildren Keaton Robert Axtell, Grace Malia Axtell, and Eliana Fongtian Thompson; her extended family in Japan; and her church family worldwide.
Fujiko and Laurence will be honored in a joint life remembrance with family and close friends at the Axtell family home in Kailua, followed by a private service at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to Pohai Nani Care Center or your preferred charity.
Arrangements Provided By:
Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary