About Us/History

L.T. Kagawa
Early 1930s

Although Hawaii's Asian American community was a vital part of its economy, they faced wide-spread discrimination, even when purchasing life insurance. Companies either refused to write policies on them or demanded exorbitant premiums, believing that Asians had shorter life spans than Caucasians.

Lawrence "L.T." Kagawa - a young insurance executive - was convinced this wasn't true. He compiled detailed health data that proved it. But the insurance companies wouldn't listen to him.

1932

L.T. travels to San Francisco. Although he does not have an appointment, he waits in the lobby until he's able to meet with A.P. Giannini, founder of Bank of America and Transamerica, the holding company for Occidental Life Insurance Company of California (which was renamed Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company).

He presents his findings and convinces A.P. Giannini who orders Transamerica to change its underwriting practices with regard to issuing life insurance to Asians.

1933
1933

L.T. opens what was to become Occidental Underwriters of Hawaii. The agency goes on to become one of Transamerica's top producers.

1942-1945
1942-1945

Because of the public's fear and uncertainty following the start of WWII, L.T., his family, and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are required to move into government internment camps. Many lose everything they own.

The Kagawa family returns to Hawaii to restart their business. Fortunately, Transamerica has helped protect the agency assets and licenses in recognition of L.T.'s contributions to the company and the insurance industry.

1948

L.T. convinces Giannini and Transamerica to support him in extending FHA-guaranteed home loans to lower and middle-income Asian Americans in Hawaii... creating new, lasting wealth for thousands of people shut out from owning their own home.

Early 1950s
Early 1950s

L.T.'s younger brother Yoshinobu becomes the first American employee of Sony. He provides founder Akio Morita with cross-border legal and business advice and assistance in opening the American and eventually European markets to Sony products to overwhelming success.

1955

L.T. and Yoshinobu enter the Japanese insurance market to serve overseas Americans and the expatriate community, securing a license from the Japanese Ministry of Finance to represent and sell Transamerica's policies to Americans and other foreign nationals in Japan.

1971
1971

L.T.'s son Siegfred "Sig" Kagawa becomes President of Occidental Underwriters of Hawaii and dedicates himself to serving humanitarian causes while continuing to grow the flourishing business his father started.

1972
1972

Japan's Emperor Hirohito awards L.T. the distinguished Third Order of the Rising Sun in recognition of his pioneering services to Japanese in America. His younger brother Yoshinobu is later awarded the Second Order of the Rising Sun for helping corporations reach out beyond Japan.

1988
1988

Sig Kagawa is instrumental in securing funding for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. It is designed to be a dynamic center for national - and global - learning that celebrates the contributions of Japanese Americans in overcoming hardship and opposition to become valued members of American society.

Sig goes on to become the first Asian American chairman of the Bishop Musuem in Hawaii and the first Asian American to serve on the National Board of the Boy Scouts of America. In 1997, he is awarded the Silver Buffalo Award, the Scout's highest and most prestigious volunteer award.

1992
1992

Stephen Kagawa - L.T.'s grandson and Sig's son - founds The Pacific Bridge Companies in Los Angeles. Pacific Bridge soon becomes an innovative and global leader in cross-border financial services, serving high net-worth individuals and Pacific Rim corporations.

2002
2002

Stephen Kagawa continues the family tradition of community service. Both the State of California and the City of Los Angeles honor The Pacific Bridge Companies for exceptional service to the community and outstanding corporate citizenship.

2005-2009

The Pacific Bridge Companies expands to meet its growing network of worldwide clients, alliances, and financial services by opening new subsidiaries and offices in Hawaii, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

2011

In response to the Lehman Crisis in 2008, Pacific Bridge partners with world class investment managers for underwriting and analysis of investment portfolios.

2013

Business and client advisory in Asia evolve, encouraging new services.

Pacific Bridge Real Estate is launched, giving clients and alliances access to new opportunities in real estate with underwriting, analysis and coordination with real estate advisors.

2014-Present

The Pacific Bridge Companies sets its focus on the United States and the 1st generation communities migrating from Asia, helping with their transition to their new American homes.

New opportunities arise as tax law changes encourage new services for multi-national corporations. Lako e Pono is born.

Corporate and Community Citizenship

Corporate & Community Citizenship is one of The Pacific Bridge Companies' (TPBC) guiding principles and we are honored to partner with variety of industry and non-profit organizations around the globe.

2005
With Japanese Prime Minster Junichiro Koizumi and Key Leaders of the Japanese American Community at the office of the Prime Minister

U.S. – Japan Council
2011
APEC International Trade Reception (Honolulu, Hawaii)
With Yukio Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

U.S. – Japan Council
2013
Annual Meeting - Culinary Diplomacy
From Left: Stephen Kagawa, Craig Takiguchi (Muginoho International), Kenshiro Uki (Sun Noodle), Roy Yamaguchi (Restaurants Roy's), Chef Eric Ziebold (CityZen)

U.S. – Japan Council
2013
Annual Meeting - Culinary Diplomacy

Go For Broke National Education Center
2013
Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida's official visit to Southern California
From left: George Nakano, Don Nose, Bill Seki, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida,Toke Yoshihashi, Mas Takahashi, James Ogawa and Stephen Kagawa

Go For Broke National Education Center
2013
Board of Directors and World War II Veterans with Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae
From left: Tokuji Yoshihashi, Roy Akune, Masao Takahashi, Elma Takahashi, Art Velarde, Don Oka, Ken Akune, George Nakano, Paul Abe, Ambassador Sasae, Don Nose, Consul General Jun Niimi, Patricia Kinaga, Stephen Kagawa, Diana Nishiura, Nobuko Sasase

U.S. – Japan Council
2010
USJC Reception at Capitol Hill
From left: Stephen Kagawa, Norman Mineta (Former Secretary of Transportation), Eric Shinseki (US Secretary of Veterans Affairs), Michael Hirai (President of BSCM)

Million Dollar Round Table
2007
Stephen Kagawa received an award from MDRT Foundation that benefited the Go For Broke National Education Center

Million Dollar Round Table
2009
The Pacific Bridge Companies exhibition booth

Japanese American National Museum
April 2009
Gala Dinner Sig Kagawa, Stephen Kagawa's father was honored for his many contributions to the National Museum

World Scout Foundation
2013
With His Majesty The King of Sweden

World Scout Foundation
2013
With 2012 Nobel Laureate Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and Mrs. Chika Yamanaka

World Scout Foundation
2013
With Mr. and Mrs. Baden-Powell, Mr. Baden-Powell is the grandson of Lord Baden- Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement and first Chief of the Boy Scout Association

NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors)
2012
Greater Foothills Sales Congress

NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors)
2012
From left: Ted Lim, Toby Wills, Stephen Kagawa, Ara Aharonian, Randy Russell, Keith Caporaso

NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors)
2013
YAT (Young Advisors Team) Taco Truck Mixer at TPBC Office

NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors)
2013
YAT (Young Advisors Team) Taco Truck Mixer at TPBC Office

NAIFA Los Angeles
2013
NAIFA & TPBC members with Stephen Rothschild, Former President of MDRT

The American College of Financial Services Alumni Association Tour
2013
From Left: Andrew Ziskin, Mitchell Kraus, Stephen Kagawa, Guy Baker, Daralee Barbara

Disclaimer: The individuals/organizations in these photos do not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services of The Pacific Bridge Companies. The views and opinions of authors expressed on The Pacific Bridge Companies' website do not necessarily state or reflect those of the individuals/organizations featured in these photos.
  • Early 1930s
  • 1932
  • 1933
  • 1942-1945
  • 1948
  • Early 1950s
  • 1955
  • 1971
  • 1972
  • 1988
  • 1992
  • 2002
  • 2005-2009
  • 2011
  • 2013
  • 2014-Present
  • Non-Profit Organizations