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Museum honoring the late U.S. Congressman Daniel Inouye will open Thursday in his father’s hometown in western Japan


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yasumoto Matsuzaki looks at the objects on display at the Daniel Inouye Museum in Yame on Tuesday.

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YAME, Fukuoka – A museum dedicated to the late Daniel K. Inouye, the first Japanese-American member of the U.S. Congress who dedicated his career to promoting Japanese-American friendship, opened Thursday in Fukuoka Prefecture.

The Daniel Inouye Museum is located in the city of Yame’s Joyo district, the birthplace of Inouye’s father. This year marks the hundredth anniversary of his birth.

“I hope many people will take note of his achievements, especially his dedication to strengthening ties between Japan and the United States, and his roots in Yame,” said a municipal government official in charge of the museum.

Inouye (1924-2012) was born in Hawaii as a second-generation Japanese American. His father and paternal grandparents immigrated to Hawaii from the village of Yokoyama, now Joyo.

During World War II, Inouye volunteered for the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a Japanese-American unit. He lost his right arm in battle in Europe and was hailed as a hero for his bravery in action.


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Courtesy of Yame Municipal Government
Daniel K. Inouye

In 1959, Inouye became the first Japanese-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He later ran for Senate and was elected nine times in a row.

He received the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military award for valor, and other awards. When he died in December 2012 at the age of 88, US President Barack Obama issued a condolence statement saying: “Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye.”

Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii was renamed Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in 2017.

The new museum is housed in a renovated building owned by the city and also has a café to facilitate tourist exchanges.

About 20 items used by Inouye and donated by a Hawaiian organization in Inouye’s honor are on display, including an aloha shirt, a U.S. military jacket and a glass. The museum also displays sources that convey his wide range of political and cultural achievements in Japan and the United States.

A ceremony marking the museum’s completion was held in Yame on Tuesday. Among those present were Yasumoto Matsuzaki, 73, a relative of Inouye who lives in Joyo, and Chuka Asike, chief officer at the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka City.


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The Yomiuri Shimbun
Dignitaries cut a tape during a ceremony marking the museum’s completion.

Inouye made his first visit to Joyo in 1960, and Matsuzaki accompanied him to their ancestral grave. They met again in 1993. “I still remember him being a big man and speaking softly,” Matsuzaki said.

He added: “He is the pride of our family. I hope that children who visit the museum will develop the same spirit of dedication to helping people that Inouye did.”

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