Partner Morris Graves, Hermon Baker

Queer Places:
3021 Hinano St, Honolulu, HI 96815
Yone SF Beads of San Francisco, 478 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Japanese Cemetery Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA

Yonemitsu Arashiro (June 23, 1923 - October 5, 1992) was a fashion designer who worked in the San Francisco of the 1960s.

Yonemitsu Arashiro was born in Kekaha, Kaui, the son of Kenneth Arashiro. In the 1940s the family lived at 3021 Hinano St, Hono, T.H. and he worked for Sunny Sundstrom, Kau Kau Korner.

In the 1950s Morris Graves was not faring very well in his love life. He had been involved with Yonemitsu "Yone" Arashiro, who fell hopelessly in love with him but was taken aback at Graves' contradictory nature. Yone lived with Graves from about 1947 to 1952. The extant letters between the two men reveal a chronology of hopeful, romantic love, followed by Yone's desperate attempt to resign himself to a hopeless loss of the idea of romantic love. In a letter dated November 13, 1952, he wrote to Graves: "You are building your life with one justifiable selfishness. My downfall is that I need someone to love and share the hopes and dreams that belong to nowhere, no other, or even anywhere. A selfish love for two people, for their inner self alone. If I must walk this life alone, I would do so. I cannot comply or try to discharge this inner feeling. So, I am going to resign myself to a solitary life & live another kind of life void of all emotional ties."

In 1953 Yone Arashiro opened Yone SF, a bead store (originally called Sueko, after his sister), in North Beach, San Francisco. Arashiro and his partner since 1956, Hermon Baker, a former theater set and lighting designer who conceived and built the shop's interior, lived upstairs above the shop, becoming neighborhood fixtures and befriending the likes of Ruth Asawa, Imogen Cunningham and Janice Joplin. They welcomed anyone that needed a place to feel free to express their creativity, and became known as the “gentlemen bead sellers”. Yone designed very special clothing for unusual people. Known for adorning his designs with beads and jewelry, his passion for beads soon took over. Yone San Francisco became the first “real” bead store where customers could see, handle and select loose beads from one cent to $125 for an antique Venetian bead more than 100 years old. Some of the leading people in beads and bead design today came around. Beads were new, but bead lovers knew what to do with them. Yone SF was a gold mine for beads of every size, shape, color and material. An awesome inventory of 8,000 to 10,000 separate types of beads, Yone and Hermon Baker together created a world-class collection of beautiful beads. The shop has been packed up and is in storage as the complex process to move the collection into the virtual world continues. Sadly Hermon passed away in 2020 at the grand old age of 97, but his spirit is still deeply felt by his niece and nephew who have taken over day-to-day operations.

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