In 1956, Willy Kai joined Far East Travel, in Los Angeles’ “Little Tokyo,” as equal partner with Eiji Tanabe. They expanded services and destinations and changed the name to Kokusai International Travel. Tours to Mexico, Europe, and Around-the-World, were offered to the growing clientele.
During the ensuing 40 years - the office was moved to the Miyako Hotel Lobby - then above Joseph's Men's Wear - to the 321 Building - to Honda Plaza - and finally to Huntington Beach, where it remains. Eiji Tanabe passed away in the mid-60s, leaving Willy as the sole owner.
Willy traveled with almost all of his groups, providing the personal attention to detail that so many people came to appreciate. With his loyal following, he covered the globe, providing unforgettable experiences and memories. Many customers traveled 2 or more times a year, forming lasting friendships with fellow travelers as well as with Willy.
Even in his last weeks, he was able to join the last 2 tours of 2013 – “Autumn in Hokkaido” and “Uranihon.” When he returned from Japan, his cancer was found to have returned. On December 19, he made the last stop on his lifelong journey – passing away in his sleep, at his home.
Willy’s daughter, Stephanie Fukuzawa, has been working with her father since 1970. For years, she has handled the administrative side of the business that made it possible for Willy to be on the road 9 months of the year. As President of Kokusai International Travel, Inc. for the past 10 years, Stephanie continues to provide the same level of quality and service that her father did.
His legacy continues, though his physical presence does not. We will miss the wealth of knowledge that he carried around in his head; the integrity with which he lived his life; the giving, caring, compassionate side of him; the smiles, jokes, and “tell-it-like-it-is” comments. We will continue to share the passion of his life, each and every time we travel and enjoy the sights and sounds of faraway places.
Kokusai International Travel, Inc.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
International Travel, Inc., Huntington Beach, CA 92647 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org