Professor Don T. Nakanishi, a pioneer in the field of Asian American Studies, died on March 21. He was 66.
Nakanishi was the Director Emeritus of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, the largest and most renowned research and teaching institute in Asian American Studies in the nation.
Born in East Los Angeles to former incarcerees of Japanese American concentration camps, Nakanishi earned undergraduate and doctorate degrees in political science from Yale and Harvard, respectively.
He is recognized for developing the fields of Asian American political and educational research. Nakanishi was the first to demonstrate that Asian Americans, despite their high group levels of education and income that are usually associated with active political participation, had very low levels of voter registration and voting.
A prolific writer and highly influential teacher, Nakanishi wrote over 100 books, articles, and reports on the political participation of Asian Pacific Americans and other ethnic and racial groups in American politics.
With his passing, Nakanishi leaves behind his wife, Dr. Marsha Hirano-Nakanishi, and son, Thomas.