Japan Kobe Mission Presidents
November 9, 2002
- The Kobe Mission began as Kobe Branch when Paul C. Andrus was president of the
Northern Far East Mission. Elder Mark W. Hoover, who served from January 1955 to February
1958, opened the branch in Kobe.
Adney Y. Komatsu and Walter R. Bills
were mission presidents in Japan just before the Japan-Okinawa (Kobe's first mission) was
President Komatsu led the Northern Far East Mission (headquartered in Tokyo) from 1965
until 1968; Walter R. Bills presided over the Northern Far East Mission during July and
On September 1, 1968, the Japan Mission (headquartered in Tokyo) and the Japan-Okinawa
Mission (headquartered in Kobe) were formed from a division of the Northern Far East
Mission. President Bills led the Japan Mission; President Okazaki led the Japan-Okinawa
Mission. (Source: The Light of the Sun [Tokyo?: 1968?], p. 69)
Okazaki, Edward Y.
- Years as mission president: 1968-71
President Okazaki received life's final transfer during the spring of 1992. Say˘nara.
Spouse's name: Chieko (See photo at right [left on
- Sister Okazaki was released from her
calling as 1st Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency at April General
Conference, 1997. She is a best-selling Church author. (Some of her books appear on this
site's "Books" page.)
Dale Walther (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports (1/16/1998) of
Sister Okazaki's recent visit to Alaska:
"Had an enjoyable visit with Sister Okazaki while she was here in Alaska earlier
this week. She mentioned she was aware of this site and looked forward to getting onto the
Internet in the future. She is as busy as ever and spoke to packed meeting houses while
here. Her Alaska visit brought her to both Anchorage and Fairbanks. We spoke at length
about the missionaries from our jidai and I was amazed at how she remembered each
individual and knew where and what most were doing even today. The love and concern that
she had for each of us while we were in the mission field continues to the present."
Years as mission president: 1971-74
Spouse's name: Junko
President Shimizu has served as Mission President in Japan three times. (This
must be a record!!) After serving as President of the Japan Central Mission from 1971 to
1974, he served as President of the JMTC from 1996 to 1998. Finally, he served briefly as the President of the Nagoya Mission from February to June 1998, finishing out the term of President Kent J. Diamond, who had become ill.
The following appeared in the LDS Church News, April 17, 1971:
Masaru Tom Shimizu, El Segundo, Calif., has been called to preside over the Japan Central Mission. He is director of the department. of building and safety at El Segundo. Mrs. Shimizu and their two sons will accompany him to the mission field.
Pres. Shimizu, who was graduated from the University of Utah in 1959, was born in West Lost Angeles, Calif., May 26, 1933, a son of Toru and Sai Kato Shimizu. He married Junko Idehara in the Los Angeles Temple on Oct. 10, 1964.
He was converted in the Union (Utah) Stake, and baptized on Aug. 13, 1952. Since that time, he has served as a clerk in the Butler Ward, as a missionary to Japan, on three different stake missions, and as president of
two seventies' quorums.
Mrs. Shimizu was born in Aichi-gun, Aichi-ken, Japan, on Oct. 2, 1934 to Kinzo and Hagi Takeda Idehara. She was baptized in Nagoya, Japan, Oct. 2,
1954, and after various MIA and Junior Sunday School positions in Nagoya, was called to a full-time mission in Japan.
She has served as a Sunday School teacher and Junior Sunday school coordinator; in the Primary as a teacher, counselor in a ward presidency, and chorister, and as Relief Society chorister in California. She was graduated from the Sugiyama Girls School in Japan, and earned her B.A. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.
- Years as mission president: 1974-77
Spouse's name: Jean
Biography: President Akagi was Bishop of the Wahiawa Hawaii Ward when
called to preside over the Japan Central Mission. An electrician by trade,
he was born in Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii, in 1925.
A native of Wahaiwa, Hawaii, Sister Akagi had served with her husband on a building mission in Japan,
and in the presidencies of Primary, Relief Society and YWMIA, as Sunday School
secretary, and as associate meetinghouse librarian.
Activities: President Akagi was called as President of the Japan
Missionary Training Center in January 1991. Prior to that time, he had
served as a high councilor, seventies quorum president, and bishop's
councilor. He died a few months later, on April 2, 1991, while serving as the President of
After his death Sister Akagi returned to Japan to
serve in the Tokyo temple.
- Years as mission president: 1977-80
Biography: President Stout was 40 when called as mission president. A
native of Pocatello, Idaho, he had received bachelors and masters degrees from Brigham Young
University and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University and Loyola University. He
was a seminary and institute area director at the time of his call to serve
Activities: Bart Williams reports (19 Dec 2001) that "Pres. Stout
... [lives] in Orem, UT. I talked with him and his wife and daughter Wendy for about an hour or
so [recently]. We attended the 100 year Celebration of the Opening of Japan. It was a very good
program presided by Elder Kikuchi who delivered the Keynote Address. The Stout Family is doing well and would like to get together with everyone who served under him."
- Years as mission president: 1980-83
Spouse's name: Susan
Biography: President Porter was president of the Salt Lake Cottonwood Heights
Stake when he was called as mission president at age 42. He had received a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and
executive in the Century 21 Porter and Co. Before that, Pres. Porter served
as a missionary in the Northern Far East Mission, from 1957 until 1960.
Activities: We have received two recent reports on the
4/27/1: President Porter is in "semi-retirement,"
having moved his residential development company to Arizona about 10 years ago. Sister Porter mentioned that she and President Porter
returned to Kobe for the first time about a year ago, and visited the Kobe Mission Home, and many of their old friends & local church
leaders. As with many of us, she was sad to hear of the closing of the Kobe
Mission. (Source: E-mail from Brad Goodwin [email@example.com],
27 April 2001.)
5/21/1: J.R. "Russ" Lovell (JRLovell@aol.com)
tells of "working with Elder Porter as a member of a Stake Presidency here in Texas. Elder Porter is serving as an
Area Authority Seventy in the North America Southwest Area. He was assigned to our stake to help us soon after his call and came often to our Member
Missionary Correlation Council meetings that he chaired. It was great to talk
to him about Japan and our service there and our service in this area. He is
a great leader and I am glad I had the chance to work with him." (J.R.
Lovell served in the Japan Central Mission beginning in June 1971.)
12/3/1: President Porter has been called as the president of the Japan Tokyo Mission Training Center.
(Source: E-mail from Steve Jett [firstname.lastname@example.org])
Address: 4040 East McLellan Rd #12, Mesa AZ 85205
- Phone: (480) 641-9723
Years as mission president: 1983-86
Spouse's name: Margaret
Phone: (801) 942-4445
Biography: Prior to his call as mission president, President Packer was president
of the Salt Lake Cottonwood Heights Stake. He had also served as counselor in two stake
presidencies, high councilor and counselor in a branch presidency. He served in the
Northern Far East Mission, 1960-1962. He was a dentist in Salt Lake City.
Since his mission, President Packer has since served as a Regional Representative.
(Source: Grant Denton '85-'87, citing the Church News, January 30,
Years as mission president: 1986-89
Spouse's name: Jan
Biography: "President Morris R. Sterrett is originally from Talent, Oregon.
He served as a missionary for two and a half years when all of Japan was one mission. His
first city, for two weeks, was Kobe. He served all over Japan, but in the boundaries of
the present Kobe Mission he served in Okamachi and Nishinomiya. He graduated from BYU with
a major in Asian Studies. He received his masters degree from BYU and Ph.D. from Claremont
in California. He was a professor of criminal justice at Weber State College in Ogden,
Utah, and bishop of the Ogden 73rd Ward.
"Sister Sterrett is from Grand Junction, Colorado. Her father is a rancher. She
graduated from BYU, served a mission in France, and taught Utah history and English for a
year. She became the first secretary of the French Language Training Mission in
(Source: Grant Denton '85-'87, quoting from The Best of Times, vol 1,
- Years as mission president: July 1989-June 1992
Spouse's name: Michi
Previous mission experience: Served November 1966-May 1969 in the Northern Far
East Mission (President Komatsu) and then in Japan Tokyo (President Bills). Areas included
Sannomiya, Takasaki, Tokyo East, Yamagata, Nagoya, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Futenma, Tokyo
Central, Tokyo Hombu.
Activities: Currently employed again with Ray, Quinney & Nebeker lawfirm in
Salt Lake City, Utah, 79 South Main Street, Suite 400, SLC 84111.
Address: 7961 Royal Lane, Sandy, Utah, 84093
Phone: (801) 323-3344 (work); (801) 532-7543 (business fax); (801) 942-2261
- Christian: Returned missionary from Fukuoka, enrolled at BYU, planning
marriage to Jody Jensen (Tokyo North Kikan Senkyooshi) in August of this year
- Dylan: Returned from Sao Paolo Brazil Interlagos mission September 1997
and attending BYU.
- Misa: Completing Freshman year at BYU and then headed to semester
abroad in Jerusalem.
- Devin: Junior at Brighton High School, captain of soccer team and
looking forward to summer and golf (plus work!)
- Derek: 8th Grader, playing soccer for a club team, and generally
keeping us all entertained.
E-mail: DMatsumori@aol.com or DMatsumori@rqn.com
- Years as mission president: July 1992-June 1995
President Wilson returned to his Heavenly Father in late August 2000,
following a long struggle with colon cancer. Read letters
to the Wilson family, by a few missionaries.
Spouse's name: Kathleen
Spouse's address: 1608 E. 2330 S., Spanish Fork, UT 84660
Phone: (801) 794-0181
- Years as mission president: 1995-1998
Introduction: When called as mission president, President Matsushita was a member
of the Shibuya Ward in the Tokyo Shibuya Stake. Prior to his call, he had served as
councilor to a mission president and a district president, as a member of a high council,
and as bishop and elders quorum president. He was also a leader of the temple record
section in the Tokyo Temple. President Matsushita graduated from the University of
In 2000-2001 President and Sister Matsushita served as missionaries in the
Church Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
President Matsushita passed away in Kichijoji Japan on 4 Nov 2002. Say˘nara!
Years as mission president: 1998-2001
Introduction: President Robertson is a returned missionary from the Northern Far
East Mission. At the time of his call, Pres. Robertson was a member of the Stamford
(Connecticut) Ward of the Yorktown (New York) Stake. He was brand manager for IBM. Some of
his church callings have included: counselor in stake presidency, regional public
communications department member, high councilor, bishop, and high priest group leader. (Source:
Church News, 14 March 1998.)