Mr. Koshiro Odashima, a prominent businessman, founder and lifelong supporter of the Hot Springs-Hanamaki Sister City relationship, died on Wednesday, February 24 in Japan.
Odashima led the research delegation from Hanamaki City that visited Hot Springs in 1992 with the intent of exploring a potential sister city relationship. He returned a year later for the Hot Springs-Hanamaki signing ceremony in 1993. Mr. Odashima strongly supported the Sister City Program, serving as a board member of the Hanamaki International Exchange Association. He received an Honorary Citizen commendation from former Hot Springs Mayor Melinda Baran. A prominent businessman, he opened a café within one of his supermarkets, naming it “Hot Springs.” He also imported Mountain Valley Water to sell in his shops.
Odashima’s family shared reproductions of his sketches drawn during his first visit to Hot Springs with those arriving to pay their respects. The sketches (a few of which are attached) capture his first impressions of the Spa City, including Mountain Tower, Oaklawn racetrack and ceremonial meetings depicting Baran with Hanamaki City officials.
“It is admirable that even at the end of his life, Mr. Odashima’s work continues to honor our sister city relationship and promote Hot Springs,” said Mayor Ruth Carney. “The City of Hot Springs remembers Mr. Odashima with great respect and appreciation. While we mourn his passing, we are grateful for his friendship and support, knowing that his lifelong efforts will help continue the growth and progress of our wonderful Sister City Program.”