Chikaji was born On May 1, 1924 to Kakuji and Shitsuyo Tsurusaki, immigrants from Japan. He was the last of 6 children in his family. Chic grew up on a berry farm in Santa Clara, CA. His senior year in high school, right before graduation, his family was forced to leave the farm and was relocated to Heart Mountain Camp where he spent the next 2 years living with his family. He was drafted into the army right out of camp in 1945, and served for the Army Occupation in Germany. He received an honorable discharge in 1946.
Chic found a job in Minnesota as a brass fitter and went to traffic school on the GI Bill. In Minnesota, he met Yoneko Mizuhata. They married in 1948 and spent the next 55 years raising their 6 children in the Chicagoland area.
Anyone who knew Chic, knew of his dedication to the Temple. The family never missed a Sunday at church. Chic volunteered as a Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent, Church President, Treasurer, member of the Board of Directors and an Active Asoka Society member.
He loved the yearly church picnics at Calumet Beach, working at Natsu Matsuri, dancing at Bon Odori, and attending the EBL Conventions. He always wanted the Temple to be well represented and was constantly soliciting his friends to attend the Japanese community events and to “get involved.” After retirement, Chic joined the Karaoke group and the Kokyo Taiko group.