PRESS RELEASE: February 24, 2013 – Vol. VIII, No. 4

JAVA mourns loss of George Aratani

Vienna, Virginia. Mr. George Aratani, Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) life member, philanthropist, and head of the table ware firm, Mikasa Inc., and founder of the Kenwood electronics company, passed away on February 19, 2013, at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center of complications of pneumonia. He was 95.

In his letter to Mrs. Aaratani, JAVA president Gerald Yamada wrote, β€œOn behalf of the Japanese American Veterans Association, let me express our sadness in hearing that George passed away on Monday, February 19, 2013. George was a life member of JAVA. He will always be remembered for his generosity and his support of Japanese American community initiatives. Our prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.”

Prior to World War II, young Mr. Aratani and his family were prosperous farmers in Guadalupe, California, but were forced into an internment camp at Gila River, Arizona after Pearl Harbor and lost everything. After the war, he displayed a great sense of entrepreneurship by eventually building his two very successful businesses. In later years, he and his wife, Sakaye, who had been interned in the Poston, Arizona, camp became known for their generous contributions to many educational and non-profit organizations.

The Aratani Foundation supported many Japanese American organizations and also endowed the first academic chair to study the World War II internment of people of Japanese descent and their efforts to gain redress.


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