October 5, 2015

The Chiba Morio Family: Undaunted in the Face of Adversity


Bain Chiba with his father Yasukichi, '17, at Bain's graduation from UW School of Pharmacy in 1937.

Bain Chiba with his father Yasukichi, ’17, at Bain’s graduation from UW School of Pharmacy in 1937.Seattle PI 6/15/1937

Second year PharmD student Beau Chiba’s lineage in the UW School of Pharmacy is long and strong. When he graduates in 2018, it will be 101 years since his great-grandfather, Yasukuchi Chiba, earned his degree in Pharmacy. In fact, Beau Chiba is the sixth member of his family to attend our school.

Beau Chiba, '18, photographed across from his grandfather, Bain Chiba's, '37, pharmacy location in Japantown, Seattle

Beau Chiba, ’18, photographed 40 years later across from his grandfather, Bain Chiba’s, ’37, pharmacy location in SeattleAlex Levine Photography/Uknown

His family’s story echoes the social, political, and economic ebbs and flows of the last century.

Shirosabura Chiba, Beau’s great-great-grandfather on his father’s side, was a pharmacist who emigrated to the United States from Japan with his young family. When his son, Yasukuchi, graduated from the UW in 1917, he worked with his dad and operated several pharmacies in the Seattle-Tacoma area, including Main Drug in Seattle’s International District.

Twenty years later, in 1937, Yasukuchi’s son Bain graduated with his pharmacy degree and began work at Main Drug. Bain’s brother-in-law, Noboru “Nibs” Morio, began his pharmacy studies at UW just before WWII. Mary Shimoda, who would later marry Nibs, was also a student there.

In early 1942, all four members of the family were practicing or learning pharmacy when President Roosevelt, on the heels of Pearl Harbor, signed an executive order to relocate 120,000 Japanese-Americans to internment centers. Family members were forced to leave their homes in south Seattle and Beacon Hill. Automobiles were impounded, homes and property sold. Main Drug was lost.

Read the rest of the story on UW Health Science NewsBeat


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