Dr. Masako Moriya Wiggans (1912-2006) was the daughter of Japanese immigrants, born and raised in San Francisco. She received her DDS degree in 1937 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, becoming the first Japanese American woman to graduate from the college and to receive a dental license from the Dental Board of California.
She established a private practice in San Francisco’s Japantown and served her community as a member of the Japanese American Citizens League. Her practice closed in 1942 by the forced relocation and internment of citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II. In spite of this, she continued to provide dental services at her War Relocation Camp in Gila River, Arizona, as well as in the U.S. Army after enlisting in the Women’s Army Corps once the ability to volunteer was restored to Japanese Americans. After World War II, she became a civilian dentist for the U.S. Army’s Letterman Hospital in San Francisco. She subsequently pursued a second career with the U.S. Department of Treasury and retired in 1982 with more 37 years of private practice, military and civilian federal service.