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.