Ronald Takaki Took His Own Life

May 28, 2009

Distinguished Asian American historian Ronald Takaki took his own life Tuesday. He had struggled with multiple sclerosis for many years. "He couldn't deal with it anymore," his son Troy Takaki said in an obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

The Oakland Tribune also ran a nice obituary on Takaki.

A public memorial service is being planned. The family requests that any memorial donations be sent to the Asian Law Caucus, 55 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94111.


Harry Mok

Editor in chief

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department.



I am currently reading Takaki's "A Different Mirror" for my Ethnicity in American Communities class at UC Davis. I've enjoyed reading his book and am saddened by this news.
Thank you for the Tribune link. It's such a great loss. He's one of my formative intellectual heroes, especially for "A Different Mirror" and "Iron Cages."
There seems to be a judgement implied in Hyphen using "Committed Suicide" as the title of this blog post. There are many, perhaps more graceful ways this event could have been described. I just watched Jose Rivera's play, "Boleros for the Disenchanted," where the final scene is literally an ultimatum for the lead male to take his life to escape his barely-living condition or continue on in the care of his long-suffering wife. Had the dialogue in the scene included at all the words "committing suicide," it would have descended into melodrama and sensationalism and not been respectful of everything we'd come to admire about the character. If it could be acheived in fiction, surely the same grace can be afforded in memorializing an actual hero in real life like Ron Takaki.
Point taken. Obviously no disrespect was meant toward Takaki or his family.Headline has been adjusted so there is no misunderstanding.
Is this true? Did he really take his own life? As a former student currently connected with the campus and the department, I've heard no word of this.
Katie, according to the obituaries, it's true.
You are contesting the use of the term "committed suicide"?Are you serious?The absurdity of this is precisely why Berkeley liberals are seen as whiny and irrelevant.RIP Rob
@anthony - yep. This Berkeley alum understands the value of nuance in language, especially when speaking of someone who should be honored and whose death should not be some spectacle by which we measure his life.Liberal? You'd better believe it.Whiny? Fine, but I think you're calling the pot black here, Kettle.Irrelevant? Clearly the blogger felt otherwise.Serious? Yes. Are you?
I'm saddened by the news. I never had the chance to take any of his courses (I was in one of them for all of 1 day before I ended up dropping due to time conflicts), but it's something I wished I could've attended. My condolences go out to the friends and family.