“Elder Koichi Aoyagi,” Ensign, May 2009, 138
When Elder Koichi Aoyagi was 17 years old growing up in Matsumoto, Japan, he joined his high school’s English club. One day on his way to school, a young man standing on the street handed him a slip of paper as he rode by on his bicycle. The paper was an invitation for free English classes. The young man was a Latter-day Saint missionary.
“I had never known anyone so positive, so cheerful, so optimistic” as these missionaries, Elder Aoyagi says. “I wanted to be just like them.” He began attending church in Matsumoto, where the members impressed him with the same spirit of joy and love. He was baptized and confirmed in 1962.
After attending Kanagawa University in Tokyo for two years, Elder Aoyagi returned home because his family’s business went bankrupt. His parents were no longer able to pay for his schooling. This incident opened the way for him to serve a construction mission in the Northern Far East Mission from 1965 to 1967. One year later, after working three jobs to save money, he was called to serve a full-time proselytizing mission to the same area, from 1968 to 1970.
Elder Aoyagi married Shiroko Momose, a member from his first branch in Matsumoto, in September 1970; they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple later that year. After earning a license from the Japan Real Estate Academy, he worked as a real estate and construction manager in the Asia North Area office in Tokyo. He has also worked as a sales chief and sales manager for two other companies in Japan.
Before being called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Aoyagi served in many callings, including branch, stake, and mission president; bishop; sealer; and Area Seventy.
Elder Aoyagi was born on March 24, 1945, to Mitsuo Yagasaki and Sueno Aoyagi. He and Sister Aoyagi have four children and live in Chiba-ken, Japan.