Statement on the TAAF Grant Read

Remembering Gary Okihiro

The Association for Asian American Studies is deeply saddened at the passing of Professor Gary Okihiro on May 20, 2024. Professor Okihiro was a distinguished, pioneering, and much beloved senior scholar in the field of Asian American Studies. Gary was a teacher, mentor, activist, and friend to several generations of scholars. He was a vital presence and powerful influence in the building of the Association and of the field itself. He was part of the generation that not only established and expanded the field but also argued for Asian American Studies to be a critical part of the academy.

Professor Okihiro was a past president of AAAS in 1985-87. In the 1990s, he led the effort to establish the Journal of Asian American Studies, the Association’s flagship journal, and served as the journal’s founding co-editor.

At the time of his death, Professor Okihiro was visiting professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration at Yale University. Before Yale, he taught at Columbia University and Cornell University, where he helped to found the first program in Asian American Studies in the Ivy League. For many years, the program served as the AAAS secretariat. Professor Okihiro began his career on the West Coast, teaching at Humboldt State University and Santa Clara University.

Professor Okihiro authored and edited thirteen books that shaped the field of Asian American Studies, including Cane Fires (1991), Margins and Mainstreams (1994), American History Unbound (2015), and Third World Studies (2016). He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Studies Association and the Association for Asian American Studies and received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Ryūkyūs, Okinawa.