TSPS Member Yoshikazu Aoki Passes Away at Sea

It is with the greatest sadness that we learned today of the passing of long-time TSPS member Yoshikazu Aoki.

The details of the incident that occurred yesterday (Nov. 14) remain sketchy, but we’ve learned that Aoki-san along with another man, Yoshiaki Yamamoto, was sailing for Yokohama in rough seas with two to three meter waves. Their port of departure is unknown. They were approaching Shimoda harbor for refuge when a local construction worker called the Coast Guard at 3:10PM to report a vessel floundering outside the harbor. Their vessel had apparently lost power and hit a concrete breakwater at the harbor entrance. The construction worker (perhaps working on a water project in the harbor) approached the sinking vessel and managed to bring aboard Yamamoto-san, but Aoki-san, by that time had succomed to whatever occured.

Aoki-san was a very popular and well-known sailor in Japan. He worked as a delivery skipper and delivered vessels all over the world. In 2012, a boat he was delivering from the Mediterranean Sea to Japan was set upon by Somali pirates off the coast of Africa. In the ensuing chase, his vessel suffered rifle shot but managed to evade the marauders. A video of the incident shot by a crew member was broadcast on television throughout Japan. To say that Aoki-san was an adventurous man would be a gross understatement.

Aoki-san possessed a wonderfully infectious laugh and brought enormous energy to every conversation. His passing brings on a sudden silence in the Japanese sailing community.

On behalf of the Bridge and our members, we offer our deepest condolences to Aoki-san’s family.


Click here for a video of Aoki-san belting out a tune about the umi (the sea) at the 2012 TSPS-Hayama Joint Sail event. Clearly, the man loved the sea. Thanks to Randy Erskine for recording this.










Please feel free to comment and/or share your memories of Aoki-san in the comment section below.










14 thoughts on “TSPS Member Yoshikazu Aoki Passes Away at Sea

  1. After I bought my boat, Aoki-san gave me invaluable advice on owning a boat in Japan. He was also instrumental in me finding a slip for Voyager and helped me get through a bout of buyers remorse. I will miss him and his optimism. It was truly infectious

  2. Aoki-san was one of a kind, a true free spirit. He delivered my boat to Japan from Hawaii in 2008 after helping me find a place to keep it. He was always upbeat and a truly giving person. I was looking forward to seeing him again at his Bonenkai coming soon. What a great loss to the boating community in Japan.

  3. Aoki-san introduced the sea to me and taught me many lessons about life at sea and life in general. My business partner and I have many classic stories of the time we spent with him. He made such a positive influence on everyone he met because of his friendly, open and welcoming attitude. Everyone will remember his laugh and spending time with him always lifted your spirits. Aoki-san will be dearly missed.

  4. My best buddy.Favourite sailing destinations together..St. Vincent..2010 and 2013..the Grenadines..Tobago Cays..Bequia and Mayreau..lotsa people people from Nova Scotia remember you well and will miss you more.
    I will remember you in our sunspot..Tama-Gawa dai koen.
    Fair winds,peace and harmony buddy.

  5. My best friend. Favourite memories..too many to list. Favourite sailing destinations..of course St. V and the Grenadines..Tobago Cays..Bequia and Mayreau for sure..Union for Happy Island as well..Nova Scotians will miss you plenty buddy..always in our hearts..see you in Tama gawa dai..the sun spot.

  6. He will be sadly missed. A man with a great sense of humour and a very infectious laugh. Had some good times during my short stay in Japan.

  7. Yoshi impressed so many people in Nova Scotia when he visited. His laugh always made anyone around him smile. Our house will forever more be 121Bay. Every time we look at the sea we will remember. Calm waters now, our friend.

  8. Oh dear Yoshi, your smile and laughter will forever hold a special place in my heart. You were kind, fun and free and the best friend my brother could ask for. Thanks so much for being you. While my eyes tear, I smile and hear your laughter. Kanpai my friend.

  9. Wake ceremony for Aoki-san will be held on Wednesday November 19th 18:00-19:00 at Kirigaya Saijo in Nishi Gotanda.
    (5-32-20 Nishi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo.)


    Five minutes walk from Fudo-mae station (Tokyu Meguro line) or fifteen min. from JR Gotanda.

    Funeral service will be held on next day, Nov.20 10:00-11:00 at the same place.

    For someone who wish to offer flowers to the ceremony and service, please contact ‘Kamata Giten Center’ (03-3732-4241).

    Aoki-san’s loving daughter, Hanako-san said that she does not want to hold the ceremony and service in disconsolate manner so please come to see Aoki-san off to his next voyage.

    These photos seem from the ones on a delivery from Hawaii in 2008 that I took…
    I have been awkward sailor but am proud of those opportunities and experiences that he gave me.


  10. We are absolutely shocked and totally saddened to hear of Aoki-san’s death. He sailed with us for many years, every summer, and was a wonderful man who was highly regarded by every member of our staff.

    All of us at Barefoot Yacht Charters in St Vincent and the Grenadines, West Indies, offer our sincere condolences to his family. He will be much missed.

  11. I was fortunate enough to have Aoki-san as a dear friend in my life for more than a decade. During that time, we shared much laughter and sake both ashore and at sea. Aoki-san helped us purchase our first yacht (Myriam) — it took three of us literally to raise the mainsail — she was that old but we didn’t care, we were on the ocean, we were free.

    Thank you Aoki-san for so many great adventures. I remember clearly being caught in rough sea and weather as inexperienced sailors one late afternoon bound for Hotta, we realized quickly just how proficient Aoki-san was as he navigated us safely to land as we helplessly spectated. I would experience a similar situation when Aoki-san captained our catamaran around the Phi Phi islands, he would simply don a towel upon his head and sail right through the storm single handedly. A true master of the sea.

    We had great times in Bangkok and in phuket, so many people on the streets would call out ‘Aoki-san’.. he was well known and loved.

    I will never forget singing Karaoke at Honey’s until the early hours with Aoki-san and Nick, drinking sake and laughing so loudly, the locals must have suffered that night.

    Although I had served as a submariner many years before, Aoki-san was the one that truly introduced me to the sea.

    Aoki-san had an infectious laugh, he laughed at himself and at life, he never took anything too seriously.

    He lived life to the fullest. A free spirit, a true adventurer.

    You are dearly missed Aoki-san, thank you so much for everything.


  12. After twenty years of friendship, the news of the loss of my friend Yoshi-san hit the very deepest and saddest chords in my heart. I hold on to the wonderful happy memories of our sailing together aboard “Simpatico” around the waters of Phuket, accompanied by other Japanese guests who joined us for the ‘love of sailing, the love of the sea’. I feel sure the strong spirit of Yoshi-san lives on with all of those who sailed with him, those who enjoyed and had the privilege of his marvelous laughter and warm smile, his never ending love of life, sailing and the sea.

  13. Well,well,well.Its been a year buddy.Last time I saw you was the 6th of November,on a Thursday night at your place in Den en Chofu and we ate some pumpkin pie that Hana-chan had prepared.We also were working out charter fees and expenses,bank transfers etc that we were gonna send to Barefoot to prepare our sail at St.Vincent and the Grenadines July 2015. It is strange that I remember that time just one year ago so clearly,but it feels like a very long time since I have seen you last.
    I miss you Yoshi. November 14th.

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