On May 19, 2020 (Japan Time), the Government of Japan announced the conferment of the Imperial Decoration upon Irene Hirano Inouye, who passed away in April.
The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon will be conferred in recognition of her contributions to promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S.
A native of Los Angeles and a graduate of USC, Hirano Inouye served as president and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum from 1988 to 2008 and as president of the U.S.-Japan Council from 2009 until earlier this year.
She exercised superb leadership within the Japanese American community, broadly shared the history of Japanese Americans with people in both Japan and the U.S., and actively promoted various people-to-people exchange programs such as the Japanese American Leadership Delegation and the Kakehashi Project.
Hirano Inouye made significant progress in the relations between Japan and Japanese Americans, and greatly contributed to promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding as a bridge between the two nations.
Following the passing of her husband, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, in 2012, she was involved in several projects to honor his legacy.