Chikara Masuda Biography-1
Soldier Served While His Family was in a Japanese Internment Camp
Chikara “Chick” Masuda was born on Nov 24, 1918 in Palo Alto, CA, and died on July 8, 1993. Chikara was a Nisei (an American citizen of Japanese descent).Chick graduated from Washington Union High School in Fremont, CA in the top ten of his class. He volunteered for the US Army in October 1941 (before Pearl Harbor), and in 1944 he was stationed at Fort Sill, OK. In 1942, he purchased a Bell watch, engraved with his name (“Chikara Masuda”) and his Army Service Number (“ASN 39012973”).
Despite his voluntary enlistment in the
US Army, Chikara's entire Japanese family
was forced to sell their California home
and were interned at the Topaz Relocation
Center (Delta, Utah) for the duration
Chikara married Takaye Yamasaki in 1949;
at his mother-in-law’s request, he changed his
name to Yamasaki (since Taka had no brothers
to carry on the family name). They raised five
children – Karen, David, Janet, Warren, and
Eric. In 1966, the family moved to
San Jose, CA.
Chikara died in 1993, and was buried at Oak Hill
Cemetery in San Jose.
I was able to contact Chikara's family in August 2019, and on Nov 12, 2019 I returned his watch to his daughter, Karen Chang.