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Asia Institute

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In Memoriam: George Aratani (1918-2013)
Mr. Aratani speaking after receiving the UCLA Medal, university’s highest honor

In Memoriam: George Aratani (1918-2013)

A successful businessman and philanthropist, Aratani endowed the George and Sakaye Aratani Field Experience Scholarship Endowment Fund at the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies

We are saddened to share the passing of our longtime supporter and friend, George Aratani, a successful businessman and philanthropist who survived the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Mr. Aratani provided significant funding for Japanese studies and Japanese American studies at UCLA.  With his wife, he donated $1,000,000 to the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies to establish the George and Sakaye Aratani Field Experience Scholarship Endowment Fund. Since 1999, the endowment has provided funding for over 40 graduate students to conduct field research in Japan.

Mr. Aratani was an extraordinarily generous, sensitive, and committed human being, who reflected the values we cherish most at UCLA, and who shared with us the goals of educating a generation who understand the international world and its complexities.  In 2004, he was awarded with the UCLA medal, the highest honor for extraordinary accomplishment that may be bestowed upon an individual by UCLA.

We wish to extend our condolences to his wife Sakaye and his family during this difficult time.  Like many of his generation in the Japanese American community, he was particularly conscious of the need for tolerance and respect for those who are different and less fortunate.  His contributions and his life made a major difference for Japanese studies at UCLA and this is something we can all celebrate as we honor his memory.

Hitoshi Abe

Director, Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies at UCLA