Japanese American, Aoki, was a pivotal force in the Black Panthers

AOKI is a documentary film chronicling the life of Richard Aoki (1938-2009), a third-generation Japanese American who became one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party. Filmed over the last five years of Richard’s life, this documentary features extensive footage with Richard and exclusive interviews with his comrades, friends, and former students. Viewers will learn about Richard’s childhood in a WWII Japanese American concentration camp, growing up in West Oakland, and serving eight years in the U.S. military. The film explores previously unknown facts about the formation of the Black Panther Party such as how Richard became intimately involved in its founding and contributed the first two firearms to the Party.

Bobby Seale invited Richard Aoki as the 5th person invited to join the Black Panthers.

Was Richard Aoki, the only non-Black, Panther?

Nope, there were others. My mother went to school with a Japanese American Black Panther at Garfield High School in Seattle.

Did you know he was still out advocating in his senior years?

He was a social justice warrior many people of color.


AOKI: Full Length Richard Aoki Documentary (2009)

Richard Aoki – Black Panther