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A picture taken on the morning of Aug. 1, 1944, the day my father left for the war. (Photo courtesy of Yohji Yamamoto)
Yohji Yamamoto

Mother's dressmaking shop in the ruins of the war: Yohji Yamamoto (2)

Designer's earliest memories began in a seaside town immediately after the war

Yohji Yamamoto | Japan

On Oct. 3, 1943, as the Pacific War was becoming more intense each day, I was born to my father, Fumio Yamamoto and my mother, Fumi. My father owned a food wholesaler in Kabukicho, a district in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, that sold side dishes to department stores. My mother helped with the accounting and office work.

I was born in a hospital near Hanazono Shrine. A breech delivery and my large head made for a difficult birth. After the delivery, my mother ran a high fever and stayed in bed for about two weeks. My father named me Yohji. I do not know why. I recall later having difficulty writing the character for yoh in my penmanship class, as it is a complicated character with many strokes.

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