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George Ryoichi Ariyoshi

Gov. George Ryoichi Ariyoshi

  • October 17, 1973 - December 1, 1986
  • Democrat
  • March 12, 1926
  • Hawaii
  • University of Hawaii, Michigan State University
  • Married Jean Ariyoshi; three children
  • Succeeded
  • Army


GEORGE RYOICHI ARIYOSHI is the first American of Japanese ancestry to be elected governor of a state. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1926. He served as an interpreter with the Military Intelligence Service, U.S. Army, in Japan at the end of World War II. He attended the University of Hawaii and transferred to Michigan State University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Art. In 1954, Ariyoshi was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives. Four years later, he was elected to the territorial Senate, and finally elected to the state senate. In 1970, he was elected lieutenant governor. In 1973 he succeeded Governor Burns and served the reminder of the term as acting governor. In 1974, he was elected as governor and reelected in 1978 and 1982. The governor served as chair of the Western Governors’ Conference in 1978 and served as first chair of the newly established Western Governors’ Association in 1984 and 1985. In addition, he was a member and president of the Pacific Basin Development Council and a member of the Standing Committee of the Pacific Islands Conference. He was the member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates in 1969, and served as president of the Hawaii Bar Association, the Hawaii Bar Foundation, and the Military Intelligence Service Veterans Club. As a businessman, Ariyoshi was the corporate director of the First Hawaiian Bank, Honolulu Gas Company, and Hawaiian Insurance and Guaranty Company. After leaving public office he joined the law firm Ing & Kawashima, specializing in international, Hawaii and U.S. business consulting.

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