Glover Park, circa 1925: Hashime and Nao Murayama, Sutemi (standing), and Ken, a Western High School cadet.
Hashime Murayama was born in 1879, and graduated from the Kyoto Imperial Art Industry College in 1905; he came to the United States the following year. In 1910 his teacher’s daughter, Nao Makino, joined him, and they were married in New York City; their sons Ken and Sutemi were born in 1911 and 1919.
Employed as a technician at Cornell Medical College, preparing slides, doing microscope drawings, and making models for anatomical study, Murayama also worked on the exhibit of Japanese armor at the Metropolitan Museum. The National Geographic Society hired Murayama in 1921, and the 1926 Washington directory shows that “Hashime Murayama, artist” was the owner of a new house at 2436 37th Street, NW, in the brand-new neighborhood called Glover Park.
(Washington Star, February 26, 1939)
Black East India ducks and Pekin ducks, by Hashime Murayama (National Geographic Society/Corbis)
Murayama was at the National Geographic Society until 1941, when cancer researcher Georgios Papanikolaou persuaded him to return to Cornell, where they had worked together two decades earlier. Murayama’s family remained in Washington.
After Pearl Harbor, Hashime and Nao Murayama were enemy aliens. Murayama was arrested in 1942, and again in 1943. The Alien Enemy Hearing Board recommended internment, but was overruled by the Attorney General. Concerning his role at Cornell, making “microscopic sketches in colors of uterine cancer cells”, an investigator wrote that “it is said that he is the only person in the United States who can do that kind of work”.
Between 1941 and 1954, Hashime Murayama prepared all the illustrations for Dr. Papanikolaou’s revolutionary method for detecting uterine cancer, the Pap Smear.
The Murayama Family
The Murayama family came to Glover Park in 1925. Sutemi –– known as Sammy –– attended John Eaton Elementary, in Cleveland Park; Stoddert School was not yet in existence. Both brothers went to Western High School. Ken graduated from George Washington University in 1933, and went to Japan to be a newsman. Sutemi enrolled at George Washington in 1939.
In June 1941 their father Hashime went to New York to start a new job. Before leaving he took the remarkable step of signing the house at 2436 37th Street over to Sutemi, who had just turned twenty-one. This may have had something to do with the fact that Sutemi was an American citizen, and his father was not.
Six months later Japan and the United States were at war. It was no secret that Ken was in Japan; the Murayamas were kept under surveillance, and more than once their house was searched for evidence of espionage.
Sutemi, a student at George Washington University, graduated in 1943. In 1944 he and his mother Nao joined Hashime in New York, where Hashime was employed as a medical illustrator. In New York Sutemi met Sachi Yasukochi, a 1939 graduate of the University of California. They married and settled in New Jersey.
The house in Glover Park where the Murayamas had lived since 1925 was sold in 1948. It was razed around 1959, and replaced by a parking lot.
Hashime Murayama died in 1954. His widow made a trip to Japan, which she had last seen in 1910, and visited her older son Ken, who had gone to Japan before the war, and whom she had not seen in twenty years. When Nao came back she moved in with Sutemi and Sachi.
In 1966, at age seventy-seven, Nao Murayama became an American citizen.
The gang at Hall Place, circa 1928: In front, “Heavy” Robinson, Tommy Quinn, Billy Freeman, Johnny Ballinger, Clayton Snyder, Freddy Brault, Larry Duvall, Ken Murayama, Toddy Lyddane, and Buck Eby; in back, Eugene T. Lyddane and Louis Freeman.
Ken Murayama grew up in Glover Park, and attended Western High School. After graduating from George Washington University in 1933 he went to Japan, hoping to find employment as an American correspondent for the Japanese press. The 1938 announcement of his marriage, in Japan, to Nao Yamamoto, described his bride as having been “educated in the Seattle schools”, i.e., also Japanese-American (Washington Post, January 23, 1938). By this time he was a war correspondent for Domei, the official Japanese news agency, covering the Japanese invasion of China. Seven years later people in Washington again read of Ken Murayama, a “Japanese newsman recently captured in the Philippines” (Washington Post, July 29, 1945).
In 1949 Murayama submitted a deposition in the “Tokyo Rose” trial of Iva D’Aquino, showing that he had written scripts for Japanese propaganda broadcasts. This did not disqualify Murayama from employment by the victor: in 1952 he began working at the US Embassy in Tokyo.
As deputy director of the US Information Agency’s television and radio section Murayama returned to his native land in 1965, escorting a Japanese television team as it reported on Cape Kennedy, Harlem, and Disneyland. While here he received a Superior Honor Award from Vice-President Humphrey, for extraordinary service in strengthening the bonds of understanding between the United States and Japan through television.
Ken Murayama returned to Japan, retired in 1972, and died in 1978.
Notes and Sources
Pen name or pseudonym: Sohei, i.e. Warrior Monk
b. January 13, 1879, Yonezawa, Yamagata-Ken, Japan
d. February 7, 1954, New York City?
Tsuyoshi Usami (brother, or half-brother)
Tsuru Asama, of Shizuoka (sister)
Maj.Gen. Yoshio Asama (brother-in-law)
Graduated, Kyoto Imperial Art Industry College, Department of Design, 1905;
Appointed Assistant Professor, Kyoto Imperial Art Industry College, 1906
Employed by the Psychiatric Institute of New York, Ward’s Island, specializing in microscope drawings of the central nervous system.
“Dr. Elmer S. Newton, principal of Western High school, sold his former home at 2578 Thirty-seventh street to Hashime Murayama and purchased from Adrienne V. Wilbur an eight-room detached stucco residence at 3823 Woodley road northwest.” (“Boss & Phelps Reports $922,962 Sales of Realty”, Washington Post, September 13, 1925, p.33)
Daughter of Prof. Katsuji Makino, Kyoto Imperial Art Industry College
b. July 29, 1889
d. March 9, 1980, Bronx, NY
Born March 24, 1919, New York City,
Died November 3, 1973, New Brunswick, NJ
Born 1911, New York State
Died December 2, 1978, in Tokyo?
Newspapers and Periodicals
Ken Murayama, cast of play: “85 Western High Pupils Give Opera”, Washington Post, December 9, 1928, p.M17)
Sutemi Murayama, John Eaton School: “230 Pupils Given Awards of Ribbons for Nature Study”, Washington Post, March 11, 1928, p.M10)
Ken Murayama, class of 1929: “Chinese Minister Speaks At Finals At Western High”, Washington Post, June 20, 1929, p.24)
Ken Murayama receives junior college certificate: “George Washington University Convocation Pays Briton Eulogy as Literary Artist”, Washington Post, February 23, 1933, p.16
“G.W. Golf and Tennis Teams in Busy Week”, Washington Post, April 27, 1933, p.15. Synopsis: George Washington University “Colonial” Tennis team of six includes Ken Murayama.
“Little Olympics”, city-wide track meet: “Sutemi Murayama, a Filipino lad representing Stoddard Playground, wins 100-pound class 60-meter finals in the record time of 7 3/5 seconds in the city-wide playground meet at Central Stadium yesterday.” (“Two Records Fall; 2,500 Compete”, Washington Post, August 26, 1936, p.X17)
Former Capitalite Married in Tokio––Announcement has been received in Washington of the marriage of Ken Murayama and Miss Nao Yamamoto, in Tokio. December 15. Mr. and Mrs. Hashime Murayama, of 2436 Thirty-seventh street. He was graduated from George Washington University in 1933, and since then has lived in Tokio. He has been associated with Domei, the “Associated Press” of Japan, and spent three months as war correspondent in Shanghai.
“Mrs. Murayama is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Namie Yamamoto, of Tokuyama. She was educated in the Seattle schools.
(Washington Post, Jan. 23, 1938 p.S4)
“First of Mosquito Eggs Hatches for Portrait”, Washington Post, December 15, 1938, pp.3,12 (photo). Synopsis: Hashime Murayama, staff artist of National Geographic executes drawings of the life-cycle of mosquitoes.
Washington Star, February 26, 1939, p.C10 (photo), synopsis:
The eldest son of a samurai family who forsook the warrior inclinations of his distinguished forebears. Came to US with Count Aoki, Japanese Ambassador. At Ward’s Island worked under Dr. Adolph Meyer. At Cornell he made, stained and mounted slides for histology and embryology. His patent was for a method of preserving spinal nerve anatomy. In summer he studied art at Metropolitan Museum, sketching at the NY Aquarium. Selected to arrange the Japanese Armor Hall at Metropolitan. Illustrating a fish study for the Miami Beach Aquarium brought him to the attention of Dr. John Oliver Gorce, vice-president of the National Geographic Society, who suggested his appointment. He married the daughter of his Kyoto art professor. Ken is a news cameraman.
“Manila, July 28 (AP) –– A former Japanese war correspondent said today that iron discipline, backed by harsh decisions of court-martial, keeps restless, starving Japanese soldiers on the firing line in northern Luzon, where cases of cannibalism have been reported.
Information that the Japanese military police enforce rigid discipline among the isolated enemy troops came from Ken Murayama, an American-born Japanese who recently surrendered. He had reported the Philippine campaign for the Domei News Agency.
Murayama, who predicted yesterday that Japan would surrender within a few weeks, reported cases of murder, fights and thievery as starving Japanese fought for food.” (“Signs of Jap Cannibalism Found on Luzon”, Washington Post, July 29 1945 p.M5)
“Ken Murayama, a Japanese newsman recently captured in the Philippines, thought that Japan was ripe for surrender. He said that the man picked to arrange it was an almost forgotten political zombie, Admiral and former Premier Keisuke Okada.” (TIME, Aug. 6, 1945)
“Sirs: This letter is prompted by a paragraph in TIME [Aug. 6]: “Ken Murayama, a Japanese newsman, recently captured in the Philippines, wrote that Japan was ripe for surrender…”
As usual, TIME has filled in a little chink for me. I thought that TIME might be interested in a little background on Ken.
We went to high school together long before the incident at the Marco Polo Bridge. He was one of the brightest kids I ever knew, and so completely American that his almond-shaped eyes were almost forgotten. I say “almost” because I remember very well one particular incident that might have had some effect on Ken’s future.
…There was never any thought but that he was one of the crowd. Never, that is, until one day, a week or so before some high-school prom or other, he made the mistake of asking one of our girls whether he might escort her. The girl said yes, she would love to go with him but she must ask her mother. And I know that the girl wanted to go with Ken… Well, the girl asked her mother’s permission and her mother was horrified. The girl was forced to try to tell Ken why she couldn’t go with him. Suddenly, I think, some sort of portcullis dropped between him and the boys and girls whom he knew.
I don’t remember whether he was born in America or not. His father was some sort of resident trade commissioner in Washington. Anyway, after high school Ken went on to George Washington University, where he made a fine record. After that he went to Tokyo to teach English, and it always seemed to me that somehow Ken really didn’t want to go…
I wonder whether Ken might not have won a Silver Star on our side with that Japanese outfit in Italy, if, so long ago, a little girl’s mother hadn’t taken exception to his almond eyes.”
(Richard Hollander, c/o Postmaster, New York City: Letters: “One Small Exception”, TIME, Monday, Sep. 10, 1945)
“From The Frying Pan” by Bill Hosokawa, Denver, Colorado, in The Pacific Citizen, January 14, 1966. Synopsis: As a young man Ken turned to Japan having found job doors in US closed, had a harrowing escape in the Philippines, was an interpreter in war crimes trials in Manila, was returned to Tokyo, worked for the Occupation, was deputy director TV and radio section, US Information Agency, Tokyo.
“Shameful Page––Clarke Kawakami reads the war news with his wife after his denunciation here yesterday of Japan’s attack as “the blackest and most shameful page in Japanese history.” An American-born Japanese and United States citizen, Kawakami served as a correspondent for a Japanese news agency. He plans to enlist in the United States Army”. (“Domei Reporter Would Defend U.S.”, Washington Post, December 15, 1941, p.1)
It is possible that Ken Murayama secured his post-war employment with the U.S. government though his friend, Clarke H. Kawakami, who also grew up in Washington. Kawakami had gone to Japan in 1933 to work for the Domei News Service, and became its London correspondent in 1939.
At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kawakami was a Washington correspondent for Domei, the official Japanese news agency. His father, Kiyoshi Kawakami, who was also a Washington journalist––and a frequent apologist for Japanese expansionism––was taken into custody for questioning, and interned for several weeks as an enemy alien.
The younger Kawakami resigned from Domei and joined the Office of War Information, serving in the China-India-Burma theater; after the war he was attached to Gen. MacArthur’s staff in Tokyo. In 1950 Kawakami returned to Washington, and joined the USIA in 1955.
(“Domei Reporter Would Defend U.S.”, Washington Post, December 15, 1941, p.1; “K.K. Kawakami”, Washington Post, October 17, 1949, p.10; “Clarke H. Kawakami”, Washington Post, April 20, 1985, p.D4; Takemae Eiji, Robert Ricketts, Sebastian Swann, Inside GHQ: The Allied Occupation of Japan and Its Legacy, 2002, p.597)
“Clarke H. Kawakami, former Washington correspondent for the Japanese Domei news agency and an American citizen, will enlist in the United States Army because of Japan’s “shameful double-dealing”. Kawakami is the son of an American mother and Japanese father. He is pictured above with his wife.” December 16, 1941, Washington, DC. (Bettmann Collection)
Sutemi Murayama of East Brunswick, 54, of 97 Schoolhouse Lane, died yesterday at St. Peter’s General Hospital, New Brunswick.
He was the husband of the former Sachi Yasukochi.
Mr. Murayama was the sales manager for Metalwash Machine Co of Newark. He was a member of the First Reformed Church. He also belonged to the Nisei Investor Club and the Lawrence Brook Community Club.
Survivors, beside his wife, include a daughter Mari, at home; his mother, Mrs. Nao Murayama, and a brother Ken, of Japan.
(The [New Brunswick] Home News Tribune, November 4, 1973)
Department of Justice Records, National Archives
Hashime Murayama left for America accompanying Viscount Shuzo Aoki, landed in Vancouver, on the SS Empress of China, April 21-22, 1906
Arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota on the Canadian-Pacific RR, admitted to US as a student:
“I came to the United States to study art and decided to remain here to live.” (Murayama disapproved of Japanese militarism, and avoided the Japanese military draft.)
Hashime and Nao Murayama registered under the Alien Registration Act on August 30, 1940, at Ben Franklin Station PO.
Address listed: 2436 37th St. NW, Washington, DC,
Employer, National Geographic Society.
Registered in the “old man’s” draft registration for men born between 1877 and 1897. Mailing address was 2436 37th Street NW, Wash, DC, but residence “for rest of 1942” would be 330 E. 57th St, NYC dormitory of the Japanese Christian Institute. Wife Nao was at the DC address. He was then employed by (which may simply mean ‘working at’) Cornell Univ. Medical College, 1300 York Ave, NYC.
Arrested October 1, 1942. Interim paroled pending hearing: ”Not deportable”
Apprehended March 26, 1943 and detained at Ellis Island, NY. Paroled August 9-13, by Attorney General Francis Biddle, overruling internment (which had been recommended by Alien Enemy Hearing Board).
“…Cornell University Medical College where his work consisted of microscopic sketches in colors of uterine cancer cells, a newly discovered method of diagnosing cancer symptoms, and it is said it is said that he is the only person in the United States who can do that kind of work.”
Hashime Murayama file
National Archives, RG 60:
General Records of the Department of Justice
ARC Identifier: 1093283 (variant: 146-13-2-16-109)
War Relocation Authority Files, RG 210:
WRA-126 “Application for Leave Clearance
WRA-26 “Individual Record”
WRA-329 “Basic Family Sheet”
1930 Census, Washington DC, e.d. 184,
Hashime owns his home, is 51, married at age 32, to US in 1906;
Wife Nao is 43, married at age 24, to US in 1910;
both are English speakers.
1941, House at sq./lot 1300/408 is involved in transfer on 6/10/1941 from Hashime Murayama to George A. Glasgow, then to Hashime’s son Sutemi Murayama (signing over property to son, who is a citizen, and age 21. (Washington Board of Realtors file, Washingtoniana, MLK Library)
A 1942 photo of Sachi Yasukochi and family is at:
University of Southern California. Library. Dept. of Special Collections, Regional History Center:
“Typical of the loyal American-born Japanese is the Tsukamoto family of San Francisco, pictured here. Head of the family is World War I veteran Kaytaro Tsukamoto, owner of a laundry and at present commander of the San Francisco Japanese American Legion Post. Their typically American household includes an eleven-year-old son, Wilmer, who attends public school and Mrs. Tsukamoto’s sister, Miss Sachi Yasukochi, a 1939 honor graduate of the University of California. Tsukamoto’s brother, Joseph, is pastor of the Protestant Episcopal Christ Church in the city’s Japanese district. In this picture, which might be duplicated in any American home, the Tsukamotos gather around the piano to hear Miss Yasukochi play. Left to right are: Mrs. Joseph Tsukamoto and her husband, Mrs. Kaytaro Tsukamoto, her son Wilmer, and Kaytar Tsukamoto who is holding his three-year-old niece, Paula.”
“Probably the most important deposition relating to the case of the defense that the defendant was being charged with being a large number of women radio personalities was that of Ken Murayama. New York born in 1911 and a graduate of George Washington University, Murayama had gone to Japan in 1939 and become a Japanese national. In 1949 a translator of moving pictures in Tokyo, he had written scripts for radio during the war, mainly for a so-called ‘torch-singer’ named Myrtle Liston, a Philippines national, who broadcast from Manila and was known among American troops as ‘Manila Rose.’ Murayama admitted that he wrote material for her which specifically ‘sought to create homesickness among allied troops’ in the Pacific.73 But this barely introduced a far larger situation, the Pacific-wide spread of Japanese wartime radio and its multiplicity of English-speaking women announcers and newscasters.”
(James J. Martin, “The Framing of ‘Tokyo Rose’”,
Method of Making Transparent Models for Anatomical Study
Hashime Murayama, Patent no. 1104067
Filing date: Oct. 17, 1913 , Issue date: July 21, 1914
Patent no. 1141480
Filing date: Aug. 11, 1914 , Issue date: June, 1915
Following the 1928-30 Byrd Antarctic Expedition, Hashime Murayama translated a chapter of Lt. Nobu Shirase’s account of the 1910-12 Japanese Antarctic Expedition, published in Tokyo in 1913, thereby helping to get certain geographic names proposed by the Japanese accepted by the US Board on Geographic Names.
(Hilary Shibata, “The Japanese South Polar Expedition 1910-12: A Record of Antarctica”, Bluntisham Books and the Erskine Press, 2011)
“There were eight major workers in that endeavour: Papanicolaou, Hashime Murayama (artist), Drs. Herbert Traut and Andrew Marchetti, three paid women technicians (Charlotte Street, Alberta Kuder and Huldah Boerker), and one volunteer technical assistant (Mary G. Mavroyeni Papanicolaou [known as ‘Mrs. Pap’], who served in the laboratory for many years).”
Making the Pap Smear into the ‘Right Tool’ for the Job:
Cervical Cancer Screening in the USA, circa 1940-95
Monica J. Casper; Adele E. Clarke
Social Studies of Science, Vol. 28, No. 2. (Apr., 1998), pp. 255-290
George N. Papanicolaou and Herbert F. Traut, “The Diagnostic Value of Vaginal Smears in Carcinoma of the Uterus”, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 42 (August 1941)
George N. Papanicolaou, ‘A New Procedure for Staining Vaginal Smears’, Science, Vol. 95 (April 24, 1942), pp.438-39.
Papanicolaou and Traut, “Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear”, 1943
“The Epithelia of Woman’s Reproductive Organs”, 1948, (colored cytological illustrations).
G. N. Papanicolaou: Atlas of Exfoliative Cytology (1954) contains 24 plates of colored cytological illustrations by Hashime Murayama. In introduction it says Hashime Murayama also did drawings in 1943 and 1948. His method of working was to make camera lucida sketches while viewing slides.
“Apparatus for Degreasing Cable Reels”, Patent No. 3,144,032;
Filing date: Jan 17, 1963 ; Issue date: Aug 1964
Inventor: Sutemi Murayama, of East Brunswick, N.J.
(who assigned patent to his employer, Ramco Equipment Corp, Hillside, N.J.
I am indebted to Mari Murayama, and to the late Eugene “Toddy” Lyddane, for photographs, and to Hideharu Torii for information on Clarke H. Kawakami.
The citation and acknowledgement of my research is greatly appreciated.
All rights reserved.
Questions and corrections may be directed to
The support of the Advisory Neighborhood Council (3B) is gratefully acknowledged.