I'm Bob Kaku. I was born in Kyushu, southwest Japan. I live in the San
Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at
Berkeley. I work in information technology and specialize in data architecture
and business intelligence. I'm married to Gail.
Sports teams: Cal
Bears, San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers
Samurai Story - A little history about the name Kaku (pronounced Kah-koo).
Many Japanese folks like
to brag that they're descended from Samurai stock. The Samurai was the
warrior class in feudal, pre-modern Japan. They started out as fighting
men but evolved into a ruling or noble class, if you will. They were
the only group allowed to carry swords and other weapons. Many were
effete administrators and oppressive landowners. They did no real work
other than to wage war or serve as bodyguards and lived off the forced
tributes of peasants. Some of them were aristocrats, much like the lords
and ladies of feudal Europe. Others were mere foot soldiers, known as
The first character Ka, is the same first character of the ancient province of Kaga, which today is more or less Ishikawa prefecture in central Japan.
The second character ku is a shortened form of the verb kuru, which means "to come." So it might mean "to come from Kaga."
Perhaps the name goes back to 12th century Japan. My ancestors might have been in a civil war called the Gempei War between the Minamoto (Genji) and the Taira (Heike) clans. The Genji won that war. Unfortunately my ancestors were on the other side. The outlook wasn't good for defeated warriors, especially if they were higher ranked. If captured alive, they would probably have been tortured and killed. They could opt to commit harakiri (suicide) or "head for the hills."
For the next 700 plus years, my ancestry blended into the countryside and more than likely lived as peasants. To escape detection and capture, they disguised their identity with the obscure name, Kaku, that only hinted of their home province of Kaga.
A document kept by distant relatives in the town of Nago on the island of Kyushu, is said to be a record of my family's history. It is written in an ancient form of Japanese that only a classical scholar can understand.
A Japanese friend thought the story is plausible because of the unusualness of the Kanji characters in my last name.
Is this story true or a myth? Frankly I don't know.
©Bob Kaku 2018- All Rights Reserved