Kazue Togasaki

Year: 1897-1992

Dr. Kazue Togasaki was born in 1897 in San Francisco, California and was one of the first women of Japanese ancestry to earn a medical degree in the U.S. She received her RN degree in 1924; however, due to discrimination against Japanese nurses, she was unable to work in the hospital where she received her training. When she lost her nursing job, she decided to pursue studies in Public Health at the University of California in 1927. After obtaining her degree, Togasaki enrolled in medical school in 1929 and earned her medical degree from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1933. During World War II, she was detained for one month at the Tanforan Assembly Center and was asked to start providing medical services, such as administering vaccinations and delivering babies, to other Japanese detainees at the center. While there, she delivered 50 babies and led an all-Japanese American medical team. She was repeatedly sent to other assembly and relocation centers (including Topaz, Tule Lake, and Manzanar) before being released in 1943. After the war in 1947, Togasaki returned to San Francisco, where she specialized her medical practice in obstetrics and gynecology. She served the Japanese American community for four more decades and is said to have delivered over 10,000 babies. Pictured: “Manzanar, Calif.–Newcomers waiting their turn to be vaccinated at this War Relocation Authority center for evacuees of Japanese ancestry.”

Source: Online Archive of California
Added Date: 03/15/2021