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OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR – News Release – Former Gov. George Ariyoshi inducted into the Aloha Order of Merit

Posted on Apr 29, 2019 in Latest Department News, Office of the Governor Press Releases

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HONOLULU – Former Gov. George Ariyoshi received one of the state’s highest honors today when he was inducted into the Hawai‘i State Aloha Order of Merit.

Ariyoshi was Hawai‘i’s third governor, and the country’s first governor of Japanese ancestry. He began his political career serving in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before becoming lieutenant governor under Gov. John Burns from 1970 until 1973. Ariyoshi served as acting governor in 1973 when Burns became ill. He was officially elected governor in 1974 and served three terms until 1986.

“Throughout his career, Governor Ariyoshi has looked out for others, fighting for injustice and working to create equity. He learned the values that formed the foundation for his life of service from his parents,” said Gov. David Ige.

The son of Japanese immigrants, Gov. Ariyoshi graduated from McKinley High School in 1944 before he was drafted during World War II. He served with the Military Intelligence Service in Occupied Japan. He later continued his education at the University of Hawai‘i, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan, where he earned his law degree in 1952.

“When we consider the vision, integrity, character and honor it took to help lift our state to accomplish so much in such a short time, no one deserves more credit that Governor George Ariyoshi. The Senate is proud to join in honoring one of our own, who has left such an indelible impression on our home,” said Senate President Ronald Kouchi.

“Gov. Ariyoshi served our state with vision, reason and humility. These are traits that all Hawaiʻi elected officials should embody,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki.

The Aloha Order of Merit was established in 1993 by the Hawai‘i State Legislature to honor individuals who have distinguished themselves nationally and/or internationally in their field, who have contributed to the attainment of statehood, devoted themselves to the betterment of the state, and provided extraordinary service to the state.

The late Sen. Daniel Akaka was the first ever recipient of the Aloha Order of Merit in 2013. Gov. Ariyoshi is the second recipient.


Media Contacts:

Jodi Leong

Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0043

Mobile: 808-798-3929

[email protected]


Cindy McMillan

Communications Director

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0012

Mobile: 808-265-7974

[email protected]