Honolulu, Hawai'i , United States
|| March 12, 1926
May 24, 2016 08:40pm
Japanese - U.S. Army - United Church of Christ -
|Info||As an American of Japanese Ancestry [AJA], George Ryoichi Ariyoshi is the first person of Asian descent to be elected Governor of any state. |
Born in Honolulu in 1926, he served as an interpreter with the United States Army Military Intelligence Service in Japan at the end of World War II.
He attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Michigan State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree [BA]. He then went on to study at the University of Michigan Law School receiving his Juris Doctorate [JD].
In 1954, Ariyoshi was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives. In 1958 he was elected to the Territorial Senate and later the Hawaii State Senate.
Part of a bold move by John Burns to create a government that best represented the people of Hawaii, he was recruited to join the Burns Democratic ticket for Governor in 1973. He served as the first Lt. Governor of Asian ancestry in the United States.
Governor Burns fell severely ill and on October 17, 1973 Lt. Governor Ariyoshi became the acting Governor. In 1974, he was elected in his own right and reelected in 1978 and 1982.
As Governor, Ariyoshi served as Chairman of the Western Governors' Conference in 1978 and as the first chairman of the newly established Western Governors' Association in 1984 and 1985. Concurrently, Ariyoshi was President of the Pacific Basin Development Council and a member of the Standing Committee of the Pacific Islands Conferance.
Before leading a life in elected service, Ariyoshi was an accomplished attorney. He was a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates , President of the Hawaii Bar Association and a member of the Hawaii Bar Foundation.
Upon retirement from public service, Ariyoshi entered corporate life. He served as Corporate Director of First Hawaiian Bank, Honolulu Gas Company, and Hawaiian Insurance and Guaranty Company. He also joined the law firm Ing & Kawashima, specializing in international, Hawaii and United States business consulting.
Most recently, Ariyoshi was honored with the Grand Cordon of the Sacred Treasure by Japan in 1985 for his work as Hawaii governor. Ariyoshi is currently the President of Prince Resorts Hawaii, which is part of an international hotel conglomerate headquartered in Japan. Furthermore, Ariyoshi also counsels various United States based organizations on business development in Japan.