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Hitoshi Toji Passes Away at 95

The founder and co-owner of H Toji and Company was husband and business partner of Sharon Toji.

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LAKEWOOD, CA – Hitoshi “Tosh” Toji, sign company owner and World War II Japanese-American concentration camp survivor, passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 11. He was 95. 

He is survived by his wife, Sharon Toji, and stepson, Bill Toji. 

After being released from the Manzanar concentration camp where he and other Japanese-American citizens were being held during World War II, he finished high school while working as a house servant. 

Since he couldn’t attend art school, he studied signmaking at L.A. Trade Tech. Tosh founded Crenshaw Signs with $500 that Tosh had saved from his job, making letter-press signs for a drug store. This shop produced handpainted signs and show cards, and his reputation grew. 

Eventually, the shop was renamed H Toji and Company, and Tosh got a contractors license. After he met his second wife, Sharon, a corporation — Tosharon, Inc. — was formed, and sign and project design were added to the mix. 

Tosh bought one of the first Gerber signmaking machines, and then when the ADA law was passed, because of Sharon’s expertise, the company started on its path to becoming one of the pre-eminent influencers in the ADA sign field. Inspectors respect the name Toji when they see it on a sign project. Sharon intends that the H Toji name will still continue to represent accessible, beautiful and legally compliant ADA signs as long as she is able to continue working. 

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Hitoshi “Tosh” Toji will be missed. For more information, visit 4adasigns.com, and Sharon’s GoFundMe is linked here

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