Asian American and Pacific Islander Month: Masao Kubo, DDS

Masao Kubo (1894-1978) operated a dental practice from 1917 to 1952, offering oral health care to the people of Hilo. Also active in the community, he served as leader of the Boy Scouts of America, Kilauea Council. In 1929, the local club provided activities for more than 500 boys. His wife Florence Kubo, served as territorial commissioner for the Girl Scouts of Hawaii.  

The Lyman Museum preserves correspondence, photographs, and other personal papers of the Kubos. The Archives is open for research by appointment. Find out about the Kubo Family Papers and other immigrant family collections at

Portrait of a young Masao Kubo dressed in suit, shirt, and tie, 1916.  The youngest of three siblings, Kubo was born on the island of Maui. His parents, Ukichi and Shimo Kubo, had emigrated to Hawaiʻi in 1885 and later moved their family of five to Hilo.
Masao Kubo and Florence Standring married on June 20, 1929, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her family, British immigrants to the U.S., stand with the newlyweds in front of the family home. L-R: sister Lily Jane Standring Howard, Masao Kubo, Florence Standring Kubo, Lily Standring, and Thomas Standring.
Dental tools and documents of Masao Kubo. He attended both Hilo Union School and McKinley High School in Honolulu. He chose to study dentistry at the State University of Iowa, graduating as a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1917. The Hawaii Territorial Board of Dental Examiners gave him his license (#50) that year. In 1929, he completed post-graduate orthodontia courses at Harvard Dental School.
Kubo’s dentist’s office occupied the second floor of the Hilo Drug Company building at the corner of Kamehameha and Waianuenue Avenues in Hilo. In the 1940s Masao shared office space with his nephews, dentists August Kubo and Raymond Kubo.
While some Japanese Issei (first generation) and Nisei (second generation) men were imprisoned by the U.S. government, Masao continued his profession. In 1942, he received special military approval from J.M. Bradley, Major Infantry Provost Marshal to hold a dental convention at the Volcano House. 
The Rotary Club of Hilo at the Naniloa Hotel for the Second Annual Conference of Rotary Clubs of District 100 (Hawaiʻi), April 27, 1940. Masao Kubo once served as president of the Hilo Rotary Club. Kubo also joined many community organizations: the American Citizens of Japanese Ancestry, Ancient Order of Foresters, Hawaii Territorial Dental Society, Hilo Chamber of Commerce, Native Sons of Hawaii, Masons, and the Order of Owls.