Aiko Mikami, 87, of Lodi, died on January 18. She was born in Hiroshima, Japan, on August 27, 1929. A devoted student of Japanese arts, Mrs. Mikami received at the age of 28 the highest tea ceremony certificate, Midare, from the School of Omotesenke and was the only person in the U.S. to hold such a distinctive certificate. 1958, she immigrated to the US, marrying Matsuto Jim Mikami of Lodi. During her time in California, she was an ambassador of Japanese culture. In 1969, she became a founder of the Omotesenke Domonkai, Northern California chapter, an organization focused on the study of the art of tea ceremony; it has over 250 members today. In addition to teaching tea ceremony, Mrs. Mikami taught koto and shamisen, two classical Japanese instruments, for over 50 years to more than 100 students. Additionally, over her lifetime she performed countless demonstrations of Japanese culture including music, tea ceremonies, origami crafts, and flower arrangements at venues from San Francisco to Micke Grove to nearly all local elementary schools. Lastly, Mrs. Mikami was a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother. She helped grow grapes on the family vineyard and successfully raised two children through college.
She is survived by her daughter, Eileen Takeda, of Clovis; son, Jason, of Oakland; and three granddaughters. She was preceded in death by her husband, Matsuto Jim Mikami, and brother Masanori Ninomiya.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Lodi Buddhist Church, 23 N. Stockton St., Lodi. Inurnment will be private at Cherokee Memorial Park.