Koson Kuroda, radiologist, WWII internee

Posted: July 15, 2012

As a teenager during World War II, Koson Kuroda spent three years in U.S. internment camps for people of Japanese background.

His father, also confined, lost the general store in Long Beach, Calif., that he owned.

But Dr. Kuroda, who was born in Long Beach, "was never bitter" about the wartime experience, his son, Greg, said in an interview.

Dr. Kuroda, 82, of Cherry Hill, a former radiology chief at three hospitals in the Philadelphia region, died of respiratory failure Tuesday, July 3, at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Dr. Kuroda was chief of cardiovascular radiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital from 1968 to 1977.

He then was chief of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at both Cooper Medical Center in Camden, from 1977 to 1989, and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in West Piscataway, N.J., from 1980 to 1989.

In 1942, Dr. Kuroda, his parents, two sisters, and four brothers were taken to a holding camp at Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia, Calif., and, eventually, to the Jerome (Ark.) War Relocation Center.

"It was like a concentration camp," Greg Kuroda said, "without the torture."

The real hardship, for a close-knit family like his, was that parents and children were not allowed to live together, Greg Kuroda said.

Dr. Kuroda graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in zoology at the Berkeley campus of the University of California in January 1954, when he was 24. After serving in the Army in Hawaii, he graduated from the medical school at Northwestern University in 1960.

He was an intern and resident at Philadelphia General Hospital until 1964, earned a 1965 fellowship in cardiovascular radiology at Graduate Hospital, and worked as an assistant radiologist at Graduate and Jefferson University hospitals.

"He started the interventional radiology program at Jefferson," which uses minimally invasive techniques, his son said.

Among the physicians whom he mentored, one stood out.

When Sergio Santos Lima was named honorary president in 2003 of the Seventh Congress of the World Federation of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology," Greg Kuroda said, "he dedicated his incoming speech to my father as his mentor."

Dr. Kuroda's son noted that "in 2010, my dad received the Camden County Medical Society 50-year recognition award."

A longtime member of the Japanese American Citizens League, Dr. Kuroda was president of its Philadelphia chapter in 1976.

Besides his son, Dr. Kuroda is survived by his wife of 45 years, Karen; daughter Alexandra Valenti; two brothers; and three grandchildren.

No services are planned.

Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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