Former Gov. Ariyoshi Inducted Into Aloha Order of Merit

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Former Gov. George Ariyoshi received one of the state’s highest honors on Monday, April 29, 2019, when he was inducted into the Hawai‘i State Aloha Order of Merit.

Former Gov. George Ariyoshi inducted into the Aloha Order of Merit on April 29, 2019. Courtesy photo.

Gov. 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,” said Gov. David Ige. “He learned the values that formed the foundation for his life of service from his parents.”

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.

Former Gov. George Ariyoshi inducted into the Aloha Order of Merit on April 29, 2019. Courtesy photo.


“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,” said Senate President Ronald Kouchi. “The Senate is proud to join in honoring one of our own, who has left such an indelible impression on our home.”

“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.

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