Date Created: 03/02/2016
Last Updated: 03/05/2016

Celebrating the Life of Miko Yamamoto
6/12/1937 - 2/28/2016

Location: Daly City, California

Visits: 33,238

This memorial was created to celebrate the life of Yoshiko (Miko) L Yamamoto of Daly City, California. Miko was born on June 12, 1937 in Honolulu and passed on February 28, 2016 at the Zen Hospice Guest House in San Francisco. Miko was loved by many and will be dearly missed by all of her friends and family.


Dear Family, Friends and Colleagues,

Miko had led a full and fascinating life - one that is not fully known to most of her family, friends and colleagues. Her life story is slowly being pieced together through old photos and connections with her different circles of friends.

Please feel free to contribute your memory and photos to this website. There are many photos without a date and identifier. Please help us fill in the blanks. If you prefer, you may also send your comments and photos to and we will post them on this site for you.

Thank you.

Family & Friends of Miko


The Life of Yoshiko Miko Yamamoto

Miko's family and friends will be putting together the full story of Miko's life, piece by piece, as we gather the information. This first section, below, is written by Miko's niece, Lisa Prince Fishler.


Yoshiko Yamamoto, Miko, was a kind, cheerful, hard working and very ambitious person. An aunt, sister, friend, colleague, anthropologist, professor, museum director, she only just retired in December of 2014.

Miko was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Shozo Yamamoto, and Masao Iwata Yamamoto, and was the youngest of three girls. My grandfather, Shozo, was an academic, a lover of Japanese religions and philosophies and thus, gave his daughters clever characters for their names. Noriko Yamamoto Prince, was born on September 22, 1925 in Tsing Tao, China, when her parents were on vacation. The character for her name = michi, road, representing Taoism. Miko and my mother were 12 years apart and both born in the year of the Ox. (hard working, honest, creative, ambitious, cautious, patient and handle things steadily. Also stubborn, indifferent, prejudiced, slow and not good at communication!) Noriko lives in Pound Ridge, NY, was married to Alfred M. Prince, MD, and is a painter.

Their middle sister, Shigeko McCarthy is 10 years older than Miko, born in Tokyo, Japan on September 12, 1927. Her name, Shigeko, is written with the character for Makoto - Truth, sincerity, and representing Confucianism. Shigeko now lives outside of Boston, MA and is married to Phillip McCarthy, a Dermatologist.

Miko was born on June 12, 1937 in Honolulu. The character for her name, Yoshiko is the same as for Kanon / Kuan Yin / the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. In the week fo her life, Miko shared with me that her middle name was Leilani - according to her, a fairly common name in Hawaii, a type of flower.

When Miko was three years old, in 1941, her family abruptly moved back to Japan, just months before he war. They traveled via a Luxury Liner called, Nihon Yusen Gaisha.

According to Shigeko, Miko attended a public primary school, while Shigeko and Noriko, who were significantly older attended Toyo Ewa, an International school, and put into a special class for people from oversees – Mostly from DC, NY, some from Hawaii, as they were behind in their Japanese after being in Honolulu.

Miko attended a staunch High school, according to Shigeko, known for mathematics. This was not her interest as much as it was her father Shozo's, whom, according to Shigeko, tried to guide his daughters into areas he himself wanted to go into...

Miko eventually attended the same college as Shigeko, Tokyo Joshi Daigaku, which was known to have strong English and Japanese language departments. (Shigeko says this is not to be confused with "Nihon" Joshi Daigaku, which was more a Home Economics type of education - bride prep school..." Tokyo Joshi Daigaku was also known as Tokyo Women’s Christian College. Their motto was SS: Sacrifice and Service, and their students were known as 'the book worms.'Miko majored in American History.

Though Miko's sisters moved to the states, Miko stayed in Japan with her parents as they were getting older. In the early 1960's, however, Miko got accepted to, and attended the University of Pennsylvania. She returned to Japan in 1962 when her mother fell ill. When she passed away, Miko came back to the states to finish up at Penn, and my grandfather Shozo, moved in with our family (Noriko & Fred) in Stamford, CT. She earned a M.S. in Cultural Anthropology and Museology in 1969.

After Penn, Miko attended Cornell University, where she earned an additional M. A. and then a PhD in Anthropology, graduating in 1986. Miko's professional interests included; Arts and Crafts, Ethno Aesthetics, Museology, Rice Culture, Ritual Analysis, History of American Anthropology, Ethnology, Ethnobotany, Minority Issues and cultural heritage in Southeast Asia, Oceania and North America.

For much of my life, Miko had a bedroom in our house. She was always reading, learning, studying, typing. She never married because her work took her all over the world traveling, and this was her passion. She didn't travel, for the sake of going to beautiful places, she traveled to study and learn about different cultures. I remember she lived with Pueblo Indians, studied rice throughout Southeast Asia, Ema; wooden wish plates from Shinto Shrines, Indigo fabric, Baskets, the list goes on, but the details here, get vague for me. Hopefully, others can fill in the gaps.

Updated information, 3/22/16:

Yoshiko’s major was American history.
In those days American history seminar was severest in history class.
She finished the graduation thesis at the first of us , so we envyed her, I remember.
We had to read many books written in English, but wrote the thesis in Japanese.

If you see the photo of 2014.05.24 they are the members of American history seminar.
And I’m next to Miko, with okappa style.

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    3/6/2016 at 10:28 AM
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