Go For Broke

National Education Center

Japanese American Health Care Workers During WWII


The 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team medical teams consisted of doctors and dentists. The 100th’s medical team was led by battalion surgeon Captain Isaac Kawasaki, MD. He worked alongside Lieutenant Richard Kainuma, MD, and dentist Captain Katsumi Kometani, who was also the battalion’s morale officer and who received training in first aid. 

Yoshiye Togasaki, US Army

Originally from San Francisco, Yoshiye Togasaki was a practicing doctor before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After her forced removal from the Bay Area, Togasaki was sent to the Manzanar concentration camp. She fought for proper sanitation after finding a “real public health nightmare,” and demanded the segregation of tuberculosis patients within the camp.

Toward the end of WWII, Togasaki joined the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRR) as a medical officer for refugee camps in Southern Italy. Because Togasaki was traveling to a war zone, she was commissioned as a captain in the US Army, becoming one of the most (if not the most) senior ranking Nisei women during WWII.

She continued working in medicine after WWII and served as the Chief of the Division of Preventive Medical Services and Deputy Health Officer for the Contra Costa County Health Department.

Captain Yoshiye Togasaki before she left for Italy with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. National Archives and Records Administration
Scroll to top