Michael Okamura

Mike, a Nikkei Yonsei, has Southern California roots that go back to the early 1900s. He volunteers with organizations in Little Tokyo, Montebello and at the University of Southern California. He studied at Waseda University’s International Division and lived in Tokyo for a few years. He also volunteers for a faith-based organization in Sendai, Japan.

Updated April 2017

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Japanese Hospital: Keeping the Community Healthy

Beginning in the late 19th century, boosters of Los Angeles touted the region’s sunshine and mild climate as a place for health-seekers. Yet residents of ethnic enclaves in Los Angeles were often denied access to health care at mainstream hospitals.

Japanese and other recent immigrant groups depended on itinerant midwives for assistance with childbirth and traveling physicians to make house calls to treat serious illnesses. By the 1910s, the increase in birth rate that resulted from the arrival of scores of picture brides from Japan, along with the detrimental effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic, demonstrated the need for ...

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