Robert Keiji Emy was born in Oregon at the beginning of the Great Depression, but when he was an infant his family moved to Chicago, where his father studied in the post-graduate dental school at Northwestern. Dr. Emy moved to Ashiya, Japan, in 1933. While resting at home with a mild case of tuberculosis, he returned to the U.S. upon the invitation of his uncle, Dr. Sabro Emy, who was a prominent physician in New York City. He spent one year in high school to improve his English and then enrolled in pre-med courses at New York University. After graduating from the Medical College of Virginia, he developed an interest in hematology. In 1961 he was drafted and served in the US Navy as a medical officer for two years. He became an internist on the staff of Roosevelt Hospital and taught medical students at Columbia University. For many years, he was an active volunteer in the Japanese community, serving as a Board member and a past President of The Japanese American Association of New York, Inc. (JAANY). In 1994, he was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th Class from the Emperor of Japan. His wife, Junko, was also a pediatrician and internist.