Dr. Yosihiko Sinoto — a Pacific soul.
Dr. Yosihiko Sinoto — a Pacific soul.

Betty Lou Kam
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

When a distinguished scholar or mentor passes, we are reminded that expanding knowledge is grounded in the work and dedication of earlier generations of thinkers who asked critical questions, considered rare possibilities, proposed new theories and established proven fundamental truths based on their keen observation and careful analysis. This is what we are left remembering following the passing of Dr. Yosihiko Sinoto, Bishop Museum’s Kenneth P. Emory Distinguished Chair in Anthropology, who died Oct. 4 in Honolulu at the age of 93.

“Dr. Sinoto is recognized globally and will long be cherished for his tremendous achievements and contributions to the world’s understanding of Pacific peoples and their history,” stated Linda Lee Kuuleilani Farm, Bishop Museum’s interim president and chief executive officer in the museum’s press release announcing Sinoto’s passing.

The Tökyö-born Sinoto began his career at Bishop Museum in 1954 under the tutelage of the esteemed anthropologist, Dr. Kenneth Emory. Those who knew Dr. Sinoto will recall the often-told story of how he was encouraged to remain in Hawai‘i once Dr. Emory recognized his great potential. The 1950s were an exciting time in the field of Pacific anthropology and Emory and a few other noted anthropologists and archaeologists had made great strides in defining the areas of cultural study in the Pacific during the earlier three decades. In the young Sinoto, they recognized someone who would continue the work of exploring and understanding the Pacific’s various cultural groups and their relationships to the Hawaiian Islands.

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