In memoriam: Hiroshi Daifuku

ICOMOS is saddened to announce the passing on July 12 of Hiroshi Daifuku, a signatory of the Venice Charter on behalf of UNESCO, Honorary member of ICOMOS, and Fellow and former Board member of US/ICOMOS.  

One of the key figures in the cultural heritage work of UNESCO from 1954 until his retirement in 1980. His last post at UNESCO was Chief of the Monuments And Sites Section.

During those decades, he was a major participant and often a driving force in many of the initiatives that shaped UNESCO into what it is today. He was also instrumental in the establishment of ICCROM and ICOMOS, as well as in the development of the UNESCO Conventions for the Prevention of Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property and for the Protection of the World's Natural and Cultural Heritage. His papers are now archived at the Special Collections of the Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland in College Park.

An American of Japanese ancestry, Hiroshi was born in Hawaii, where he studied in the University of Hawaii. Later, he obtained his master's and doctorate in archaeology and anthropology from Harvard University. After retiring from UNESCO, Hirsohi and his wife Allison made their home in Washington, DC. where he became an enthusiastic supporter of US/ICOMOS.

It was then that I was fortunate to have met him, and over the years, I was privileged to hear many episodes about his brilliant career.

In 2010, Russel V. Keune, also a US/ICOMOS Fellow, had the vision to interview Hiroshi about his life and career for the National Park Service CRM Journal. I highly recommend this reading. The full text of that interview may be accessed through





A memorial service will be held at the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, 3401 Nebraska Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016, on Saturday, July 28, 11 a.m. Contributions may be made to the MMUMC at the above address.

We join his wife Alison, his children and his grandchildren in mourning Hiroshi's passing, knowing that he was one of the giants who built the world of heritage conservation that we inhabit.

Gustavo Araoz

President of ICOMOS