Daniel Inouye

Daniel Inouye
Daniel Inouye
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
Assumed office
June 28, 2010
President Barack Obama
Leader Harry Reid
Preceded by Robert Byrd
United States Senator
from Hawaii
Assumed office
January 3, 1963
Serving with Daniel Akaka
Preceded by Oren Long
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Robert Byrd
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Ted Stevens
Succeeded by Jay Rockefeller
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Mark Andrews (1987)
Ben N. Campbell (2001)
Ben N. Campbell (2001)
Succeeded by John McCain (1995)
Ben N. Campbell (2001)
Ben N. Campbell (2003)
Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1979
Preceded by Committee created
Succeeded by Birch Bayh
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's At-large district
In office
August 21, 1959 – January 3, 1963
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Thomas Ponce Gill
Member of the Hawaii Territorial Senate
In office
Member of the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born September 7, 1924 (1924-09-07) (age 87)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Margaret Shinobu Awamura (1949–2006)
Irene Hirano (2008–present)
Alma mater University of Hawaii, Manoa
The George Washington University
Profession Attorney at law
Religion Methodism
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943–1947
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Cmoh army.jpg
Medal of Honor recipient Medal of Honor
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal

Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye (pronounced /ɨˈnoʊweɪ/,[1] Japanese: 井上 建, Inoue Ken; born September 7, 1924) is the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate[2] making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in American history.[3] Inouye is the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations.

A senator since 1963, Inouye is the most senior senator. He is also the second longest serving U.S. Senator in history after Robert Byrd. Inouye has continuously represented Hawaii in the U.S. Congress since it achieved statehood in 1959, serving as Hawaii's first U.S. Representative and later a senator. Inouye was the first Japanese-American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and later the first in the U.S. Senate. At age 87, Inouye is the second-oldest current senator, after 87 year old Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. He is also a recipient of the United States Medal of Honor, as well as other military awards.

If he serves until June 29, 2014, he will become the longest serving Senator in history. Inouye has already announced that he plans to run for a record tenth term in 2016, when he will be 92 years old. [4]


Early life

Inouye was born on September 7, 1924, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Kame (née Imanaga) and Hyotaro Inouye.[5] He is a Nisei Japanese-American (an American-born child of Japanese immigrants) and grew up in the Bingham Tract, a Chinese-American enclave within the predominantly Japanese-American community of Mo'ili'ili in Honolulu. He graduated from Honolulu's President William McKinley High School.

A Nisei soldier

Inouye was at the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 as a medical volunteer.[6]

In 1943, when the U.S. Army dropped its ban on Japanese-Americans, Inouye curtailed his premedical studies at the University of Hawaii and enlisted in the Army.[6] He was assigned to the Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became the most-highly decorated unit in the history of the US Army.[7]

Inouye was promoted to the rank of sergeant within his first year, and he was given the role of platoon leader. He served in Italy in 1944 during the Rome-Arno Campaign before his regiment was transferred to the Vosges Mountains region of France, where he spent two weeks in the battle to relieve the Lost Battalion, a battalion of the 141st Infantry Division that was surrounded by German forces. He was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant for his actions there. At one point while he was leading an attack, a shot struck him in the chest directly above his heart, but the bullet was stopped by the two silver dollars he happened to have stacked in his shirt pocket.[citation needed] He continued to carry the coins throughout the war in his shirt pocket as good luck charms.

Inouye as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army

On April 21, 1945, Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, Italy called Colle Musatello. The ridge served as a strongpoint along the strip of German fortifications known as the Gothic Line, which represented the last and most dogged line of German defensive works in Italy. As he led his platoon in a flanking maneuver, three German machine guns opened fire from covered positions just 40 yards away, pinning his men to the ground. Inouye stood up to attack and was shot in the stomach; ignoring his wound, he proceeded to attack and destroy the first machine gun nest with hand grenades and fire from his M1 Thompson submachine gun. After being informed of the severity of his wound by his platoon sergeant, he refused treatment and rallied his men for an attack on the second machine gun position, which he also successfully destroyed before collapsing from blood loss.

As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, eventually drawing within 10 yards. As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively "clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore".[8] Inouye's horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye managed to pry the live grenade from his useless right hand and transfer it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye managed at last to toss the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroy it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, "nobody had called off the war".[8]

The remainder of Inouye's mutilated right arm was later amputated at a field hospital without proper anesthesia, as he had been given too much morphine at an aid station and it was feared any more would lower his blood pressure enough to kill him.[9]

Inouye was initially awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery in this action, with the award later being upgraded to the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton (alongside 19 other Nisei servicemen who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were believed to have been denied proper recognition of their bravery due to their race).[10] His story, along with interviews with him about the war as a whole, were featured prominently in the 2007 Ken Burns documentary The War.[11]

Although Inouye had lost his right arm, he remained in the military until 1947 and was honorably discharged with the rank of captain. At the time of his leaving the Army, he was the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded by President Clinton in June 2000 to the Medal of Honor

While recovering from war wounds and the amputation of his right forearm from the grenade wound (mentioned above) at Percy Jones Army Hospital, Inouye met future Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, then a fellow patient. Dole mentioned to Inouye that after the war he planned to go to Congress; Inouye beat him there by a few years. The two have remained lifelong friends. In 2003, the hospital was renamed the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in honor of the two WWII veterans and another U.S. Senator and fellow WWII veteran who had stayed in the hospital, Philip Hart.

Congressional career

Due to the loss of his arm, Inouye abandoned his plans to become a surgeon,[6] and returned to college to study political science under the GI Bill. He graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He earned his law degree from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. in 1953 and was elected into the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. Soon afterward he was elected to the Hawaii Territorial Legislature, of which he was a member until shortly before Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959. He won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as Hawaii's first full member, and took office on August 21, 1959, the same date Hawaii became a state; he was re-elected in 1960.

In 1962 Inouye was elected to the U.S. Senate, succeeding fellow Democrat Oren E. Long. He is currently serving his ninth consecutive six-year term, having most recently run against Republican candidate Campbell Cavasso in 2010. He delivered the keynote address at the turbulent 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago,[6] and gained national attention for his service on the Senate Watergate Committee. He was chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence from 1975 until 1979, and chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs from 1987 until 1995 and from 2001 until 2003. Inouye was also involved in the Iran-Contra investigations of the 1980s, chairing a special committee from 1987 until 1989. During the hearings Inouye made a statement about the existence of a 'secret government' within the United States that had been involved in the Iran-Contra affair. He summarized the coverup by the US Shadowy Government involvement by saying:

"[There exists] a shadowy Government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself." [12]

Inouye made many controversial comments during the investigation such as comparing it to the Nuremberg trials. He was challenged in a heated rebuttal by Oliver North's attorney Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr. These, among many other attacks, led to Mr. North's popularity.

In 2009, Inouye assumed leadership of the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations after longtime chairman Robert Byrd stepped down.

In 2010, Inouye announced his decision to run for a ninth term.[13]

Following Senator Byrd's death on June 28, 2010, Inouye became the longest-serving current senator and President pro tempore of the United States Senate, making him third in the presidential line of succession after the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

He is also seen as a pro-Taiwan senator. He helped in forming the Taiwan Relations Act.

Gang of 14

On May 23, 2005, Inouye was a member of a bipartisan group of fourteen moderate senators, known as the Gang of 14, to forge a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster, thus blocking the Republican leadership's attempt to implement the "nuclear option", a means of forcibly ending a filibuster. Under the agreement, the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and the three most conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William H. Pryor, Jr.) would receive a vote by the full U.S. Senate.

Committee assignments

Party leadership


Electoral history


His wife of 57 years, Maggie, died on March 13, 2006. On May 24, 2008, he married Irene Hirano in a private ceremony in Beverly Hills, California. Ms. Hirano is president and chief executive officer of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, she is 24 years younger than Inouye. On May 27, 2010, Ms. Hirano was elected by the board to chair the nation's 2nd largest non-profit, The Ford Foundation.[14] Inouye's son Kenny was the guitarist for influential D.C. hardcore punk band Marginal Man.[15]

Honors and decorations

In 2000, Inouye was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan, in recognition of his long and distinguished career in public service.[16] In 2007, Inouye was personally inducted as a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by President of France Nicolas Sarkozy.

In February 2009, a bill was filed in the Philippine House of Representatives by Rep. Antonio Diaz seeking to confer honorary Filipino citizenship on Inouye, Senators Ted Stevens and Daniel Akaka and Representative Bob Filner, for their role in securing the passage of benefits for Filipino World War II veterans.[17]

In June 2011, Inouye was appointed a Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, the highest Japanese honor which may be conferred upon a foreigner who is not a head of state. Only the seventh American to be so honored, he is also the first American of Japanese descent to receive it. The conferment of the order was "to recognize his continued significant and unprecedented contributions to the enhancement of goodwill and understanding between Japan and the United States."[18]

Medal of Honor citation

President Clinton presenting the Medal of Honor to Senator Inouye


Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

See also


  1. ^ "''Voice of America'' pronunciation guide". Names.voa.gov. http://names.voa.gov/. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  2. ^ Hulse, Carl (June 28, 2010). "Inouye Sworn In as President Pro Tem". The New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/inouye-sworn-in-as-president-pro-tem/. Retrieved June 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ Raju, Manu (2010-06-28). "Daniel Inouye now in line of presidential succession". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/39100.html. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  4. ^ Manu Raju and John Bresnahan (April 12, 2011). "Sen. Daniel Inouye goes silent on big Hawaiian race". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53021_Page2.html. 
  5. ^ "Inouye". http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~battle/senators/inouye.htm. Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d Associated Press (Chicago), "Keynoter Knows Sting of Bias, Poverty", St. Petersburg Times, August 27, 1968.
  7. ^ Global Security.org "100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry". GlobalSecurity.org. 23 May 2005. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/100-442in.htm Global Security.org. Retrieved 27 September 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Sterner, C. Douglas. "Final Victory – the 442d RCT returns to Italy". http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/a-medal-of-honor. Retrieved 1 November 2009. 
  9. ^ "The War". Public Broadcasting System. http://www.pbs.org/thewar/detail_5165.htm. Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/wwII-g-l.html. Retrieved January 6, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Daniel Inouye". Public Broadcasting system. http://www.pbs.org/thewar/search_results.php?search_type=people&people_id=23&keyword=Daniel+Inouye. Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ |url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbFphX5zb8w
  13. ^ Sample, Herbert A. (2010-02-20). "Inouye to seek another Senate term". Seattletimes.nwsource.com. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011137740_aphisenateinouye1stldwritethru.html?syndication=rss. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  14. ^ "Irene Hirano Inouye to Chair Ford Foundation – Rafu Shimpo". Rafu.com. 2010-06-03. http://rafu.com/news/2010/06/hirano-inouye-ford-foundation/. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  15. ^ "Inouye". http://www.goldsea.com/Personalities/Inspiring/inouye3.html. Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  16. ^ Awards "Daniel Inouye, Senate:". http://inouye.senate.gov/Who_is_Dan/Awards.cfm Awards. Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  17. ^ Leila Salaverria (February 24, 2009). "4 US solons as honorary Filipinos". Philippine Daily Inquirer. http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20090224-190786/4-US-solons-as-honorary-Filipinos. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  18. ^ [1]

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Burns
as Delegate from the Territory of Hawaii
Member of the House of Representatives
from Hawaii's At-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas Gill
Party political offices
New office Democratic nominee for Senator from Hawaii
(Class 3)

1962, 1968, 1974, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, 2010
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Most recent
Preceded by
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Secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference
Succeeded by
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United States Senate
Preceded by
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United States Senator (Class 3) from Hawaii
Served alongside: Hiram Fong, Spark Matsunaga, Daniel Akaka
Preceded by
Frank Church
as Chairman of the Church Committee
Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee
Succeeded by
Birch Bayh
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Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
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