Oral History Interview with Masa (Masaaki) Yamamoto, M.D.
Kibei male, born January 1, 1919 in Seattle, Washington to parents whose families raised rice and made sake - rice wine - in Japan. When Masa was eighteen months old his parents took him to Japan. He did not return to the United States until 1938 at age nineteen to study English. He was drafted into the army in June 1941 and was stationed at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington. After December 7, 1941, he was transferred to Columbus, Ohio as a sergeant assigned to the medical corps. This experience inspired him to become a physician. Upon discharge in 1943, Masa entered Ohio State University, one of three Nisei admissions. Although Japanese were not allowed to take science courses, he entered pre-medical studies on appeal. He attended the University of Chicago Medical School and married Fusako Miyasaki. After his internship and residency in internal medicine, Masa, his wife and three children moved to Sacramento. He was Department Chair of Internal Medicine at Mercy Hospital and was on the Board of Directors of the Cancer Society for thirty years. He describes medical issues including recruitment, comparison of academic preparation with other professions, health coverge and payment. Masa explains the concepts of Yoshi and muko in terms of his own traditional family. Although he was the only son and eldest of three children, he did not benefit from the practice of primogeniture in Japan He is an American citizen and his permanent resident is the United States. A younger sister, next to him in age, married a muko or groom, who took the Yamamoto name and assumed the responsibilities of head of family.
Transcript available at California State University, Sacramento University Library
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