Deceased November 9, 2009
Masa Yamaguchi died of cancer Nov. 9, 2009, after a few years of battling the illness, a seemingly successful operation and then a relapse last summer.
Masa came to Amherst for junior and senior year following studies at Tokyo/Sekei Univ. He majored in fine arts, earned an M.B.A. at NYU, returned to Japan to work in a family-run joint venture business dealing with precision instruments and eventually started his own firm, M Squared.
Friends from Amherst will remember his uninhibited smile, his upbeat manner and his fondness for sports (crew, rugby) and parties as an enthusiastic member of DU. I remember one Friday when uninvited guests visited DU, all of them over 6 ft. 5 in. and 250 lbs., looking for free beer. The question arose who should invite them to leave if they were not Amherst students. A few moments of hesitation ensued; then Masa volunteered. He was not 6 ft. 5 in. but was prepared to make his contribution.
One story he used to tell me about his time at NYU: He was living in a cheap apartment where the walls were so thin that he could tell exactly when his neighbor came home, as he could hear the refrigerator door open, the beer bottle open and an “Ahh” as he gulped one down.
Masa was an avid golfer and a member of Tokyo’s prestigious Hodogaya Country Club, along with other Amherst men including Eiro Yamashita ’61, Haruhiko Chizawa ’63 and Kazuo Asakai ’67. He would seldom break 100, but he was one of the most popular members. Following his operation, he was able to return to golfing until the relapse. Many Hodogaya colleagues attended his funeral on Nov. 12.
The Class and his other Amherst friends send their condolences to his widow, Masako. He is deeply missed.
Kazuo Asakai ’67