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April 26, 2011


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Keith Aoki will be terribly missed.

Eric Goldman

My Keith Aoki story is like so many I heard today. At an AALS annual meeting when I was a relatively new professor, Keith sidled up to me and we started talking as if we were longtime friends. It was a touching way to welcome a newcomer to the community. Seeing the discussion today indicates my interaction was not unique. Eric.

Bob Strassfeld

I met Keith Aoki at a LatCrit conference. I had never been to a LatCrit conference before and knew just about no one. He was welcoming and warm, and a delight to talk to. I remember him as someone who got excited about ideas whether his own or others. He was very thoughtful about my own work and generous with his time. I had looked forward to crossing paths with him again. What a sad loss.


Wow. That book cover would actually make me thing copyright law is fun.

Mark Levin

Thanks Al. "Mentioning his many academic accomplishments will not begin to do justice to him as a person" is just right.

As with the others writing here, I agree that Keith brought a special light into the world with his work and his manner. I hope readers will remember or know he has young daughters surviving him. If readers can and wish, please consider giving real support along with our feelings.

(While also looking to give support to Japan, we'll give here.)



Gil Asakawa

Like everyone else, I'm shocked and saddened by this news.

I'm Keith's cousin in Denver, and our lives intersected a few times, starting with when we were both kids in the late '60s.

He turned me on to comics and I ended up attending art school because of his influence, though I became a journalist instead of an artist. I remember visiting him when he was living in NY (I attended art school in NY), back when he was in a band, and being amazed at what a cool, well-rounded creative genius he was.

We hadn't seen each other or kept in touch in years, though he ket me know how happy he was to move from Oregon to UC Davis. Back when he was in Portland, he flew to Denver for a day and my wife and I got to hang out with him. He was in Denver to announce the establishment of the Min Yasui Chair at the U of Oregon law school.

Yasui was an Oregon grad who went on to challenge the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and was a civil rights activist and a leader in the City of Denver for decades. It was good to see Keith after many years and I regret we didn't stay closer in touch after that trip -- just a few emails here and there. He sent me a draft of one of his law school comics (what a brilliant way to teach!).

I know though that he loved being at UC Davis. Thank you for writing this remembrance.

Timothy B. McCormack

I was a student of Keith Aoki between 1995 and 1997. My life arc changed in that time. Among other things, I learned from Keith that building is better than destroying, even though it is harder. This has never left me. Keith was a builder of people. He did it well. I know that his legacy will always live on and be passed to many others.

Here is one story I recall. I had given Keith a knight’s gauntlet as a gift for the help and guidance he had given me. The gauntlet was gifted to me by a friend under similar circumstances. Well, Keith’s eyes widened when he saw the steel glove. He put it on slowly. He clenched his hand. He raised his arm in the air.

A moment passed. I saw gears turning in his head, but I did not know what would happen next. . .

As though he were a comic book hero, he ran out of his office, proclaiming, “I am the iron fist!”

This was a uniquely “Keith Aoki” reaction. The memory is precious to me. This eventually inspired me to create a super hero called, “Copyright Cow.” Keith, you never met Copyright Cow, but there is a big part of you in him.

Your spirit will live forever. Keith, you will not be forgotten!

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