Community leaders, members and activists are mourning the passing of Alan Nishio, a pillar in the Los Angeles Japanese American community and mentor to many, at the age of 78.
Nishio died on Dec. 27, 2023, at his home in Gardena, California
, after a 17-year battle with a rare form of cancer
. A gathering celebrating his life will be held in his honor at Terasaki Budokan in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles
on Feb. 10, according to the Rafu Shimpo
Nishio was born in the Manzanar incarceration camp of World War II
on Aug. 9, 1945. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1966 and his master’s degree in public administration from the University of California in 1968. Some organizations he helped build up and worked with include the Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization, the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council, the Japanese American National Museum and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. He was also the first interim director
of the University of California, Los Angeles, Asian American Studies Center.
“Alan could listen to conflicting viewpoints during a Board discussion and somehow synthesize differing comments into a common-ground resolution that everyone on the Board could support,” said LTSC Founding Executive Director Bill Watanabe.
Bruce Embrey, co-chair of the Manzanar Committe, also released a statement
following the news. “Alan will be remembered as a tireless community activist, principled, kind, and selfless,” he said in part.