We are sad to announce the passing of three former staff members, each of whom played an important role in creating our school community. 


Taeko Yasuhara (Former Librarian, 1968-2005)

NIS has recently received the sad news that Taeko Yasuhara, long-time librarian at NIS, passed away on January 16, 2021. She was 86 years old.

Yasuhara-san was one of few “constants” at NIS. She was the head librarian and even after her “retirement” she stayed on to assist part-time. I remember Yasuhara-san, though strict at times as was necessary, as someone who was always willing to help. She was the one who helped me pick out my first book to checkout to read and she was also the one who helped with research projects in my high school years.

Yasuhara-san was the one who taught me not to rely on one resource. Pre-internet, in the limited NIS library, was not an easy task. You had either the World Book or Britannica encyclopedias. When I thought that was it, she showed me other options, including one time when she helped me search through old issues of National Geographic for what I needed.

Yasuhara-san was a positive influence on so many of us Dolphins and she will not be forgotten.

(A. Vorland)


Max Aranui (Former Teacher, 2009-2013)

Max Aranui, who taught Middle School Social Studies at NIS from 2009-2013 tragically also passed away recently. Those who remember Max knew him as a kind and gentle man, a great orator with a beautiful singing voice and a caring for students that was unparalleled. His funeral has already concluded. The NIS community extends our sympathies to his wife, Hinekura, who also worked at NIS, as well as his wider family and friends.


Dean Hester (Former Teacher,  2016-2021)

NIS is deeply saddened to also announce the death of our former Design Teacher, Mr. Dean Hester, who died on January 21, 2021.

Mr. Hester often shared how much he loved teaching at NIS and working with students in the design lab he created for our school and in the robotics program he started. Mr. Hester had long been struggling with depression from which he tragically died by suicide. Our deepest sympathies are with Mr. Hester’s family and friends at this time.

We understand that those reading this message, or others we know and care for, may need support in response to this news. The sudden death of a community member can be triggering, and death by suicide is particularly hard to process and comprehend. At this time it is very important that we reach out in support of those around us and make sure that anyone who needs help has access to it. You may be someone (or know someone) who is struggling with depression and/or suicidal ideation themselves, or perhaps this news triggers memories of personal trauma in your own life or the lives of others.

NIS has established a ‘grief and loss’ page HERE (nisjapan.org/griefandloss) where supportive resources and contact information is available from both within and beyond the school. Please look out for your own health and wellbeing, and for those around you, and ensure that anyone who has been affected by this news has access to the help they need.

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