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Japan Kobe Mission Presidents

November 9, 2002

Before 1968 Okazaki Shimizu Akagi Stout Porter Packer Sterrett Matsumori   Wilson Matsushita Robertson
Fukuoka: Watanabe  
Nagoya: Sato  
Osaka: Ushio Blalock   Peterson  
Okinawa: Larsen Pope  

Before 1968: Preparing the Way

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 organized.

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 August 1968.

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. SayƓnara.
Spouse's name: Chieko (See photo at right [left on some browsers].)
Sister Chieko Okazaki 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 ( 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."


President M. Tom Shimizu

Shimizu, M. Tom

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.


President and Sister AkagiAkagi, Kenji  

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 the JMTC. 
After his death Sister Akagi returned to Japan to serve in the Tokyo temple.


President and Sister StoutStout, Robert Thomas

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 as president.
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."


Porter, R. Gordon

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 was an
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 Porters:
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 [],  27 April 2001.)
5/21/1: J.R. "Russ" Lovell (  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 [])
Address: 4040 East McLellan Rd #12, Mesa AZ 85205
Phone: (480) 641-9723


President and Sister Packer

Packer, Barlow L.

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, 1983)


Sterrett FamilySterrett, Morris R.

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 Provo."

(Source: Grant Denton '85-'87, quoting from The Best of Times, vol 1, no. 1)


Matsumori, Douglas (updated 4/5/1998)

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 (home)

E-mail: or


Wilson, Curtis P. (updated 1/29/2005)

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 


President and Sister Matsushita

Matsushita, Yasuhiro (updated 11/9/2)

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 Hokkaido.

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. SayƓnara!


President and Sister Robertson

Robertson, David Franklin (updated 5/13/2001)

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.)