April 04, 2024

Statement on the Passing of Sakaye Aratani

The passing of Sakaye Aratani coincides with an ever-dwindling number of adult Japanese Americans who endured the injustice of being forcibly removed from their homes and imprisoned in WWII internment camps. She and her late husband, George Aratani, made a remarkably successful post-war journey in business and became important philanthropic figures within the Japanese American community and beyond.

Many have noted Sakaya’s grace, humility, and elegance. I will additionally highlight that the Aratanis exemplified an inspiring resilience and social responsibility as they built their postwar success and paid forward that success with their philanthropy. She made a lasting impression on me during annual encounters at community gatherings for various Japanese American organizations she and her husband supported.

My heart goes out to the Aratani family, and I join with the rest of the Japanese American community in mourning her passing.