Lloyd Inui, professor emeritus at CSU Long Beach, where he helped establish the Asian American Studies program, died on September 28 at the age of 91. In retirement, he was an advisor to numerous campuses and community organizations. Here are the memories of some of his friends and colleagues.
Iku Kiriyama: Lloyd was a founding member of the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California, established in 1978. He served numerous terms as president on the rotating list of six presidents. When the JAHSSC was dissolved in 2015, Lloyd was the only one of the original members to stay with me on the board until the end.
I was grateful and appreciated for his continued friendship and support, despite his health issues. I could always count on him for sound advice and remained friends with him and Tazuko, enjoying their company and conversation. We both miss them terribly.
Kiriyama is a retired Los Angeles Unified School District community volunteer and educator.
Dan Kuramoto: I loved Lloyd, like all of us. In retrospect, Lloyd’s contribution is what he “didn’t.” He supported the early days of Asian American Studies and the Long Beach Student Center by giving us his unconditional support as we tried to create studies. He was always smiling and attentive but above all present.
He was always WITH us. His behavior guided us. His patience has taught us. He connected the campus and the community. Lloyd is Long Beach for me.
Kuramoto is the leader of the Hiroshima group and a former professor of Asian-American studies at CSULB.
Carrie Morita: I first met Lloyd Inui as a student at Long Beach State College (as it was called in the late 60s). It was at a time when sit-ins and protests against the Vietnam War were taking place. And the beach was no exception.
The university had provided the Black Student Union and the Chicano Students with a trailer to serve as a center and lounge. Some of us, mainly Sansei, felt that we needed a trailer as well. The administration ignored our request, saying we needed a faculty member as an advisor.
Starting from the top of the list of teachers, we came across Inui… Evelyn Yoshimura, Dan Kuramoto and I decided to approach Lloyd. I remember Ev and I climbing the stairs to the second floor of the Poli Sci building. Lloyd’s office was just up the stairs and his door was open. There he sat down. We walked in and presented our request.
If I remember correctly, in his affable manner, he replied, “Of course! No problem!!”
And the rest is history !!! It is this great memory that I keep of my first meeting with Lloyd. It was at one of the meetings… maybe a Thanksgiving potluck that Ev and I went back to and I remember a rap I wrote for Lloyd. I have to find all the rap. The only line I still have (regarding the fact that we go to administration and demand Asian-American studies) is… “When the administration said phooey, that’s when we we turned to Lloyd Inui! “
When he started working at the Japanese American National Museum, I was delighted to see him as I now spent a lot of time in Little Tokyo.
Morita, a retired teacher, is active with Nikkei Progressives and runs self-defense classes for the elderly at Terasaki Budokan.
Barbara kim: I first met Lloyd when he served on my hiring committee in 2000-2001 – almost 10 years after his retirement. Despite everything, Lloyd took the time to guide and advise me. He was the most enthusiastic supporter of the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies. He graciously took the time and always said yes to speaking with the next generation of students.
He has attended the department’s annual spring receptions, sometimes to meet award recipient Lloyd Inui (for his outstanding contributions to creating a campus environment that supports cultural, ethnic and racial diversity and fosters a sense of unit at CSULB).
One year, he and Alan Nishio led Asian American Studies Majors and Minors on a political tour of Little Tokyo, introducing a new generation of CSULB students to the history, struggles, and community-building of the place.
Ethnic studies departments invited him to speak on campus about the history, state and advancement of ethnic studies at CSULB and CSU, especially over the past decade in opposition to budget cuts and demand a graduation requirement in ethnic studies. It has always struck me how much in these symposia Lloyd always defended and centered the students in these discussions, never himself.
He was kind, bright, humble and fierce. For generations he has been the heart of Asian and Asian American Studies at CSULB, the person who nurtured and shaped the students who have helped serve and transform the campus and the community.
Beloved teacher, scholar, activist and extraordinary mentor, Lloyd will be dearly missed.
Kim is Professor, Chair, and Undergraduate and Graduate Advisor, Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, CSULB.
Franklin odo: Lloyd Inui’s presence was the main reason I chose to start teaching at California State University at Long Beach in the fall of 1972. For six years, Lloyd was a friend and strong mentor to me as a junior faculty member and, as I watched and learned, to other colleagues on campus and to the hundreds of undergraduates who have completed our program.
Many of them have gone on to build careers and lives of commitment to the concerns of Asian-American communities and all people in the nation and across the world; much of this transformation is due to observing the consistency of Lloyd Inui’s work and vision.
Unsung hero. We will miss him.
Odo has served as the U.S. Asia-Pacific Program Director at the Smithsonian Institution since the program’s inception in 1997.
Chris aihara: Lloyd Inui was my mentor and my dear friend. I worked for him as the secretary of the Asian American Studies / Asian Languages department for four years. It was like four years spent at Inui Seminary.
He projected a certain modesty and self-effacement that belied a very strategic and complex mind. He has succeeded in making the Asian-American Studies program at CSULB a stable and respected program. At the same time, he was very focused on the students and helping them see their life in a larger context.
The Academic Office was a place to drop by, get help, and strike up a conversation with Lloyd, which was often stimulating and stimulating. The personal impact he had on so many students would fill volumes, and we would all agree that he has helped make us better people.
Aihara is the former executive director of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.
Alan nishio: Lloyd was the Godfather of Asian American Studies at Cal State Long Beach and has served as a teacher, mentor, and friend to generations of students, faculty, and staff, including myself. During the 50 years that I have known Lloyd, I have discovered that he was a scholar who helped advance the field of Asian American Studies in its early days. He touched the lives of so many of us with his thoughtful and self-effacing demeanor, his unwavering support for the students, and the warmth he showed to all.
Nishio is the former Associate Vice President of the Division of Student Service at CSULB and a longtime leader in Japanese-American community organizations, including the National Coalition for Redress / Reparations (now Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress) and Little Tokyo Service Center.
Diana Keiko Ono: Lloyd always had a warm smile and greeted everyone who stopped by the office of the Asian American Students Association at CSULB. He made us all feel like family. He supported “Echoes from Gold Mountain” (an Asian American literary journal) and our annual Thanksgiving potlucks at the Harbor Japanese Community Center. He was our mentor, advisor and friend.
Even after his retirement, he volunteered at JANM, Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden and many other community organizations.
A life well lived will be remembered by all! We will miss you, Lloyd.
Ono graduated from CSULB in 1979 and is an active member of the Orange County Buddhist Church.
Sue Oda Omori: Lloyd was the “anchor” of American studies of Asian origin. Always a balanced and constant force that made you feel like everything was fine.
My best memory of Lloyd was on the softball field. We had an Asian American Studies team from Long Beach playing in the Unity Softball tournament in the early 80’s with teams from community organizations around LA like Visual Communications, Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Omai Fatasi, Chinatown Teen. Post, etc. Lloyd was our cleaning hitter because he had the biggest, smoothest swing!
He was kind of an anchor on and off the softball field!
Omori worked for many years in higher education and now designs and creates jewelry and pottery.