Reverend Dr. Mitsuo Aoki was a highly respected leader in Hawaii from the 1950’s until his death at the age of 95 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 Manoa. 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 Hawaii and was foundational to the creation of the Hospice programs in Hawaii.
We have been working behind the scenes with two outstanding archivists, Helen Wong Smith and Janel Quirante, from the University of Hawai`i, Manoa, 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 They have made it possible to archive over 15 banker boxes of unpublished written work that Dr.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 our Foundation following his death. These are his personal notes used to give his oral presentations and were handwritten and typed on a manual type writer before computer spell check. Spelling was not important in these papers as they were his personal notes and were not originally created to publish or share with others. You will see that some are even written on the backs of scratch paper such as copies of his religion class tests in order to not waste paper.
Over 240 videos were donated 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, May 6, 2021. Along with a matching funds contribution from the Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation, and in kind contributions from UH, this enabled them to archive the two Mitsuo Aoki Collections now digitally.
This means his work is now open to you, and for public viewing, on the worldwide 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.
Here are the collections websites:
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Libraries
University Records Archive
Mitsuo "Mits" Aoki papers Collection
General information with links:
Specific information accessing the writings:
University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu
‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaii
Mitsuo Aoki Video Archive Collection
Please see the video below for more information.
This video entitled REVEALING THE WORKS OF THE “COSMIC DANCER”: ACCESS TO THE DIGITIZED MITSUO AOKI COLLECTIONS was recorded from a live presentation on March 23, 2022. The video describes how the University of Hawaii Mitsuo Aoki Collections were established, background about Dr. Aoki and how to access the collections at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, University Records Archive and at `Ulu`ulu: the Henry Ku`ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaii at the University of Hawai`i West Oahu.