K. Morgan Yamanaka

April 14, 1924 to January 27, 2017 (age 92)

It was on January 27, 2017, at the age of 92 years that Morgan Yamanaka passed away peacefully in his sleep in Mill Valley, Calif.

He was preceded in death in 2009, by his loving wife, Ruth Mae Yamanaka, and is survived by his three grown children (John, Barbara and Beverly) and two grandchildren (Morgan and Dylan).

Yamanaka was Emeritus Professor of Social Work at San Francisco State University. He was born in San Francisco in 1924, taken to Japan as an infant, and returned to the U.S. in 1931 for schooling.

After Pearl Harbor, in an act of patriotism, he renounced his Japanese citizenship, but in April 1942 his draft status became 4-C (“enemy alien”). While incarcerated in central Utah (Topaz), Yamanaka answered the loyalty questions “no-no” and was segregated to Tule Lake, where he was labeled a “troublemaker” and imprisoned in the stockade. When Tule Lake closed in 1946, Yamanaka was one of the approximately 5,400 American citizens who left Tule Lake stripped of U.S. citizenship: a “Native American alien.”

Click here to read more about Yamanaka’s life

In 2009, Yamanaka was inducted into the CSWA Hall of Distinction.

To view this induction, please visit

At his request, no memorial service was held.

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