Skip to Main Content

Mitsuo "Mits" Aoki Digital Collections

This guide provides context and access to two digital collections, papers at the University Archives and Manuscripts Collections at UH Mānoa and videos at ʻUluʻUlu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai‘i at UH West Oʻahu.

Rev. Dr. Mitsuo Aoki

Accessing the Collection

The print collection is available for research Tuesday to Friday, by appointment only, in the Moir Reading Room on the 5th floor Annex of Hamilton Library.  Copyright has been transferred from the Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation to the University of Hawaiʻi.


Subject Guide

Broadcast of "Living Your Dying" September 8, 2022 on PBS Hawaii, at 8:30pm.

Digitizing the Works of Rev. Dr. Mitsuo Aoki

The papers and videos of Rev. Dr. Mitsuo Aoki are held in two University of Hawaiʻi repositories, papers in the University of Hawaiʻi Archives and Manuscripts Collections on the Mānoa campus and ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi on the West Oʻahu campus. The works were held by the Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation who transferred the collections to each repository.

Production materials and raw footage of the  documentary film “Living your Dying” produced by Lotus Films in 2003 are available in the Mistuo Aoki collection within ʻUluʻulu. In 2020, the Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation donated his personal papers to the University Archives.  The collection is comprised of 6.25 linear feet arranged into three series: Courses, 1963-1995 which include the development of his highly popular Religion and the Meaning of Existence (which was moved to Varsity Theater to accommodate demand); Community Engagements, 1954 – 2009, containing preparation for the numerous trainings and speeches as well as correspondence; and Research and Publications, containing works both by and about Aoki.

The digitization of this collection provides preservation and significantly increases access to the personal and professional papers of a man whose contributions exceeded academia but touched the lives of thousands through his spiritual guidance through a process of melding Buddhism and Christianity.

A Preservation & Access Grant awarded by the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities in 2021 with matching funds from the Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation supported the digitization of Aokiʻs papers and videos for the purpose of increasing access and preservation of the resources.

This LibGuide is a portal to both digital collections, print and film, and provides additional resources on Aoki and his legacy.

Video Tutorial on Accessing Digitized Resources

For more Information

Helen Wong Smith, Archivist for University Records

Janel Quirante, Head Archivist, ʻUluʻulu

Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation

Funding Acknowledgement

This resource guide serves as a virtual brochure to the collection with links to related online collection access points within the Library's website.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Hawaii Council for the Humanities logo


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Web resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

National Endowment for the Humanities Logo



Who was "Mitsʻ Aoki?

Mitsuo Aoki (December 4, 1914 – August 19, 2010) was a theologian, minister, college professor and founder of the University of Hawaiʻi's Department of Religion. For over four decades the Rev. Dr. Aoki showed others how to experience death not merely as an end, but as a vital, inseparable part of life. Instrumental in establishing Hospice Hawaiʻi Aoki was named a Living Treasure of Hawaiʻi in 2004. Upon meeting the Dalai Lama, his Holiness invited Aoki to “Come, sit, you and I are the same.” Many years later when visiting Hawaiʻi the Dalai Lama bypassed others and greeted Aoki with “Good to see you again Cosmic Dancer.”

Aoki brought spirituality and forgiveness into caregiving for those going through the transition of death. His approach is one of 'conscious dying' that leads to fuller living. He has influenced profoundly the lives of thousands of clients, their families as well as his many students through his forty-four years of UH classes, public workshops, sermons, writings