Richard Okada, professor of East Asian studies, passed away on April 4, 2012
I only had the opportunity to take one course with Professor Okada, but I can honestly say that he was a Professor who truly cared about his students. My last encounter with him was a meeting by chance as we crossed paths. He was aware that I was studying Japanese, and proceeded to speak with me in Japanese. The sincerity behind his kind and encouraging words left with me a deep respect for him, and I feel lucky to have been one of his students.
Richard Okada: Kind, generous, brilliant, caring, funny, open-hearted, a beautiful mentor to his students, a wonderful colleague and friend. I am grateful that I knew him. He will be missed so much. And may Princeton honor his legacy by promoting diversity throughout its community.
Professor Okada was one of my favorite professors at Princeton. I’m very sad to hear of his passing. He was such a brilliant teacher and an amazingly warm person. He was so knowledgeable about Japanese literature and culture. It was impossible not to be captivated by his lectures. I will really miss him.
I deeply admired Professor Okada’s intelligence and kindness, and feel terribly sorry and surprised to have lost him so suddenly. I was honored to have him as my senior thesis advisor, and under his wise guidance, I was able to write something in the end that I was quite proud of. I always regretted not being able to take one of his courses but felt quite lucky to have been able to have him as my advisor. I also have very happy memories of meeting with him subsequently a year or two later, long after the pressures of senior year were gone, and enjoying his intellect, humor, and casual yet respectful demeanor. He was the type of professor I always wanted to make proud, and I’m so sorry he is gone.
Extremely sad news about a brilliant and friendly Cal classmate who I hadn’t seen but often thought of over the years. May he rest in peace, knowing that he will be remembered by everyone who had the privilege to know him.
A life cut short way too soon. Richard and I were childhood friends all the way through high school. After high school we kept in touch during our graduate years. He was an American Field Service scholar who spent time in Denmark. I still have his funny letters about his experiences. I am so pleased to see that he was well loved as a professor. He was my brother of the heart. We had many conversations contemplating the ways of American versus Japanese life.
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