The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T. R. Reid:
Dr. Kono, like almost every doctor I’ve met in any country, likes to complain about the health care system and its failure to compensate him adequately. Still, he’s not going to give up his clinic for some other line of work. Medicine is in his blood. The first Kono Medical Clinic was established by his grandfather in Tokyo’s Tsugamo neighborhood before World War II. That clinic was destroyed in the firebombing of Tokyo in March of 1945. The family prudently fled Tokyo for a safer place to live; unfortunately, the safe haven they chose was the city of Hiroshima. When he was a child, Dr. Kono’s mother told him about the day she saw the red glow from the atomic explosion.
The Kono family began rebuilding, with the rest of Japan, after the war. Dr. Kono’s father built the new Kono Medical Clinic in, Koshigaya, then a farming section of Tokyo. The business prospered as Koshigaya became an urban neighborhood. At its height, the clinic had thirty-nine beds and was nearly full most nights. Following the familiar footsteps, Kono Hitoshi went to medical school. He married Keiko, his med-school sweetheart, and the two of them came home to Koshigaya and the clinic. For all his gripes about a doctor’s plight in contemporary Japan, he proudly notes that the couple’s oldest daughter, Kono Makiko, is now in medical school.