Letter from Sensei

To: Nippon Kan’s Current & Previous Members, the Members of Hakama-Kai,  graduates of the Uchideshi Program and all others concerned,


In Remembrance of Emily Busch Sensei (A Celebration of Life)

A month has passed since Emily Busch Sensei’s passing.  As the Vice President of Nippon Kan, Emily Sensei’s legacy is evident in her work with Aikido Nippon Kan Dojo and AHAN’s educational, medical and humanitarian support initiatives.  Although her departure was totally unexpected and painfully sudden, her dedication, thoroughness and attention to detail not only demonstrate her commitment to Nippon Kan, but have given us a strong foundation to carry on our work relatively smoothly.

New buds on trees are sprouting and flowers are blossoming in the garden of Nippon Kan; the Dojo is bustling with students; DOMO Restaurant is busy as usual with customers.  All is as if nothing has happened…

One morning when Emily and I were taking a stroll in a park near our home she exclaimed joyfully, “The weather today is ‘SARU’ like!”  I exclaimed, “Huh? What???”  She had mixed up the Japanese words SARU, meaning “monkey”, and HARU, meaning “Spring”. Ever since then, the word “SARU” became a code word to mean “HARU” for Emily and I.

Whether it was “SARU” or “HARU”, the choice of words or language did not matter to us as long as we could share the joy of being impressed by whatever it is that we experienced during our moments together.

Some people were impressed by Emily’s command of Japanese, while others wondered how in heaven’s name she could comprehend Homma Sensei’s uniquely eccentric command of English and translate for him.  I must say that Emily and I had cultivated something akin to the telepathic intuition that a lovely elderly couple may possess after being together for a very long time.

When we were working to publish a book, blog essays or articles, even I sometimes wondered how she comprehended my ugly English so quickly and precisely!  It was not uncommon for her to finish translating even before I finished reading the rough draft.  Emily and I lived our lives side-by-side for over 32 years. We overcame every challenge, of every kind together while dedicating our lives to building and nurturing Nippon Kan and AHAN into the organizations  you recognize today.

The breadth of AHAN Nippon Kan’s reach and activities through these years are well known among Nippon Kan members and support personnel. For example:

  • Emily stimulated the imagination of over 20,000 primary and middle school children in the Denver area by introducing them to Japanese culture through Nippon Kan’s cultural education initiatives.
  • Emily was instrumental in establishing AHAN’s humanitarian outreach programs in Southeast Asia, Middle East and South America regions. Over 10 facilities were opened in various countries that not only provide food and shelter for orphans and but offer educational opportunities.  Emily’s legacy continues to provide food and rice to feed over 1,000 children.
  • Emily coordinated foreign cultural music festival concerts that raised awareness of the importance of cultural diversity.

Emily always played an incredibly active role as my partner on many fronts.  She worked mostly behind the scenes, like a highly capable stage manager.  It is my deep regret that many of you may not have known or understood the critical and vital role Emily fulfilled.

Emily has joined her deceased parents.  She is survived by her little sister and her distant relatives.  As Emily was a highly reputable jewelry designer managing a sizable jewelry business, she had to be low-key person for security reasons.  Hence, most of us knew Emily through the roles she played for AHAN and Nippon Kan. Very few knew much about her private life.

Respecting Emily’s sister’s desires, the funeral and the memorial service are being planned by the family members and will be held mainly among the family members on April 14th in a solemn and quiet setting.  It is Nippon Kan’s desire to honor the family’s wishes to regard the funeral as their private proceeding, and therefore Nippon Kan will neither organize nor coordinate a group visitation to the family funeral and memorial service.     We should also remember that Emily was not only adored as the “mother of Nippon Kan”,  but well respected among the beneficiaries of AHAN activities as a public figure representing AHAN and what it stands for.  In honor of Emily, Nippon Kan is hosting “SHINOBU KAI” on Saturday April 15.  Emily’s bereaved family members are also planning to join the occasion.

“SHINOBU KAI” is a gathering where we can show our respect to the deceased according to our individual faith and beliefs and enjoy a hearty meal together while remembering and celebrating Emily and her life with us.  It is similar to what is commonly known as a Celebration-of-Life.

The event will take place and the meals will be served at DOMO Japanese Restaurant.  This too is a place whose success, from its humble start to its present-day status as a well-known Denver restaurant, would not be complete without Emily’s dedication, contributions, and, above all, her countless hours  of behind-the-scenes support.

The trees that Emily planted in the garden of DOMO should blossom to welcome us all in celebration of Emily and her life’s achievements. Please join us to remember Emily and the legacy she left in so many parts of the world. There will be many photos and videos we will view and enjoy together.

For those who worked with Emily at AHAN/Nippon Kan, please join us to relive the moments we cherished with her!

For those who have known Emily only as a fine jeweler, please join us in an appreciation of her “other life”.  She dashed through life so quickly, so productively, her accomplishments so outsized compared to her petite stature.

Details of SHINOBU KAI are listed at the webpage listed below.

“SHINOBU KAI schedule” 

Gaku Homma,

Founder, AHAN Nippon Kan