Announcing the digitized Mits Aoki Collection

You are invited to attend the premier unveiling of the Mits Aoki digital collections!

March 23, 2021
PM to 1:00 PM

Reverend Dr. Mitsuo Aoki was a highly respected leader in Hawai‘i from the 1950’s until his death in 2010. He was best known for his pioneering work in the area of Death and Dying and as a religion professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He was a contemporary of Dr. Kubler-Ross and taught over 40,000 UH students in his religion classes which included a popular Death and Dying Class. He also taught thousands of individuals through his community volunteer lectures and talks. His counseling of individuals with terminal illness and their families was well known in Hawai‘i and was foundational to the creation of the Hospice programs in Hawai‘i.

Working behind the scenes with two outstanding archivists, Helen Wong Smith and Janel Quirante, from the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, Library, University Records Archive and The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni ‘Ulu‘ulu Moving Image Archive at University of Hawai‘i West Oahu (‘Ulu‘ulu), respectively.  They have made it possible to archive over 15 banker boxes of unpublished written work that Dr. Aoki kept of his own notes for his talks, sermons, class lecture notes, trainings and articles which were donated by the Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation. In addition they donated over 200 videos to ‘Ulu‘ulu of mostly unseen footage taken to produce the Living Your Dying documentary and miscellaneous other videos of Dr. Aoki.

The University of Hawaiʻi, with the leadership of Helen Wong Smith and Janel Quirante, applied for, and was awarded, a grant from the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, March 2021, and along with a matching funds contribution from the Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation, which has enabled them to archive the two Mitsuo Aoki Collections now digitally. This means his work will now be open to you, and for public viewing, on the internet.  We see this as an “awesome” remarkable accomplishment, a bright light, a “light house”, emerging from the darkness of the pandemic providing illumination for those who go to the archives to read and view his work.

For more information contact Helen Wong Smith at smith{at} or Alan Gamble at info{at}

For those unfamiliar with Dr. Aoki’s pioneering work in Hawaii with people with terminal illnesses, please watch the PBS Hawai`i documentary “Living Your Dying