with POW, Clark Army Air Force Base, Philippines, September 1945
Born June 17, 1922 and raised in Wapato, Washington, on the Yakima Indian Reservation, Yoshito is one of five children of Kamezo and Koma Iwamoto. His father died when he was only one; his mother and second brother, Tsugito, owned and operated the U.S. Hotel and Cafe. He attended public schools in Wapato, studying at the local Japanese school after regular school hours. Iwamoto was evacuated with his family in 1942 to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming. He was able to enter the University of Wyoming as a freshman in 1943, and when drafted a year later, he volunteered for Camp Savage.
Assigned to the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section in Manila, Iwamoto was a member of a special Luzon Prisoner of War (LUPOW) team responsible for processing Japanese POWs. He subsequently was sent to ATIS, Tokyo, and then transferred to Yokohama for interpreter duty at the Class B War Criminals International Tribunal. Discharged in 1946 at Camp Zama, he continued as a court interpreter for one year as a civil servant until he was accepted as a student at the University of Washington.
Returning to the U.S. in 1947, Iwamoto married Chifune Hasegawa of Kelso, Washington, and recommenced his university education. His first employment was with the Military Sea Transportation Service as a hydrographic clerk. He was then appointed computer supervisor in the General Services Administration, Region 10. Retiring at the age of 57 after 33 years of combined serrvice, he accepted a 2-year position as computer center supervisor with the Seattle First National Bank.
Active in veterans affairs, Iwamoto served as president of the MIS Northwest Association in 1987; as commander of the Nisei Veterans Committee (Seattle) in 1992; and has been a member of American Legion Cathay Post #186 since 1986. He is a board member of the Nikkei Concern (Keiro Nursing Home); and has served as cultural instructor in the Evergreen Chrysanthemum Association since 1980. His hobbies include gardening and especially raising exhibition chrysanthemums for which he has won numerous sweepstakes, grand challenge, and other prizes.
Yoshito and Chifune Iwamoto have three children: Associate Professor Gary Alan, neurophysiologist, University of Illinois; Carol Ann, an illustrator editor in Silicon Valley; and Nancy Ellen, polymer chemist, Naval Air Weapons Center; China Lake, California.