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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 81
afforded him. He was denied entry into the government public school because, he said, of his liberal propensities. Instead, he was sent by his family to one of the best private schools. In addition, he was taught by tutors to learn Chinese language and Chinese history. Of his siblings Susumu was the only one to leave Japan; all of his brothers and his sister lived their entire lives on the Japanese islands.
His love of animals, particularly of horses, proved to be one of the most pervasive influences in his life. His father was entitled to maintain both an automobile and a horse on his property, and he normally traveled to his office on horseback. That’s how Susumu began riding—while waiting for his father. His interest in genetics began, Ohno said, when he realized that “when a horse is no good, there is not much you can do.” His interest in horses also strongly influenced his career choice. He wanted to attend veterinary school. At first his father was opposed to this choice, suggesting a career in medicine instead. Nevertheless, veterinary school it was, and Ohno received a D.V.M. degree from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in 1949. It was also a common interest in horses that brought Susumu together with the charming Midori, who was to be his life’s mate for nearly 50 years. Indeed, it was owning and training horses that were to be a lifetime avocation for both Susumu and Midori.
Ohno selected the Hokkaido University Faculty of Sciences for his graduate studies, because a professor there, Sajiro Makino, was well known for his study of chromosomes, a topic that had begun to interest Ohno. His doctoral dissertation concerned the role of plasma cells in the production of antibody, and in 1953 Ohno was awarded his Ph.D. degree.
His graduate work in the area of immunology brought him in contact with Keiji Aoyama, and it was through this