Chikara Masuda Biography-2

Chikara Masuda: A Life Well Lived - Son, Soldier, Family Patriarch

Chikara Masuda was born on Nov 24,1918 in Palo Alto, CA, and died on July 8, 1993. He volunteered for the US Army in October 1941 (before Pearl Harbor), and was a soldier in the 11th Armored Division / 490th Field Artillery. Chikara was in stationed in Austria and Germany during 1945, and honorably discharged in 1946.  He earned the Good Conduct Medal; American Defense Service Medal; European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.

Tragically, his entire Japanese American family was interned shortly after Pearl Harbor at the Topaz Relocation Center (Delta, Utah) for the duration of WW2 (see photo).

In August 2019 I contacted Karen Chang (Chikara’s daughter) and niece Kimiko Marr after finding their Ancestry.com genealogy. They were not aware of Chikara’s watch, and its discovery came as a complete surprise:

“After the war, his family moved to Morgan Hill to grow strawberries for Driscoll.  My parents were married on July 17, 1949, and had 5 children--- two daughters and 3 sons.  My maternal grandmother had two daughters, and no sons to carry on the family name, so on Aug 17, 1949, he legally changed his last name from Masuda to Yamasaki.  My parents raised strawberries for Driscoll while we lived in Gilroy, CA.  In 1966, our family moved to San Jose, CA, and he became a gardener.  He had a stroke on Jan 1, 1986, and was forced to retire from gardening.  My father passed away from a heart attack on July 8, 1993, when he was 74 years old”.  (Karen Chang)

On November 12,2019, I returnd Chikara's watch to his daughter Karen. 

 

Chikara Masuda’s wristwatch is poignant memento of the courage and resilience of Japanese Americans during WW2.