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Daniel K. Inouye – An American Story (film)

DVD cover. Courtesy of Juniroa Productions, Inc.
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

Documentary film that covers the life and career of Daniel K. Inouye , Nisei war hero from Hawai'i and nine term U.S. Senator.

Filmmaker Heather H. Giugni relies largely on interviews with Inouye, political figures who worked with him in both Honolulu and Washington, D.C., and scholars and journalists who have studied him to tell his story, augmented by archival footage and stills and occasional reenactments of key episodes in his life. Two-thirds of the running time is devoted to his political career, covering his early forays into electoral politics in Honolulu in the 1960s, his election to Congress, and key aspects of his long Senate career including the impact of the Vietnam War, his role in the commissions investigating Watergate and the Iran Contra affair, and his interest in Native American and Native Hawaiian issues.

Giugni, the daughter of Henry Giugni, a longtime aide to Inouye, began work on the film in 1998. Funding for the film came largely from Hawai'i foundations, including the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, A & B Foundation, Unity House, and Chinn Ho Foundation.

The film premiered on April 5, 2003, at a fundraiser for the USS Missouri Memorial Association. The DVD package includes three hours of additional footage, interview sound bites, a timeline, speeches and articles. [1]

Relative to the later Japanese-produced documentary, Journey to Washington: On the Trail of Senator Daniel Inouye Japanese-American Pioneer (2013), An American Story focuses much more on Inouye's political career; in contrast, Journey to Washington devotes well over half of its running time to Inouye's early life and World War II exploits.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Journey to Washington: On the Trail of Senator Daniel Inouye Japanese American Pioneer (2013); Most Honorable Son (2007); Citizen Tanouye (2005)


  1. Brandon Jiro Hayashi, "Journey from Soldier to Senator," Hawaii Herald , Apr. 18, 2003, A-8.
Media Details
Release Date 2003
Runtime 57 minutes
Director Heather H. Guigni
Writer Dan Boylan
Narrator Paul "Doc" Berry
Starring Daniel K. Inouye, Franklin Odo (interviewee), Glen Grant (interviewee), Ted Stevens (interviewee), Bob Dole (interviewee), Sakae Takahashi (interviewee), Laurence Fuchs (interviewee), <a href="/wiki/George_Ariyoshi" title="George Ariyoshi">George R. Ariyoshi</a> (interviewee), <a href="/wiki/Patsy_Mink" title="Patsy Mink">Patsy Mink</a> (interviewee), Henry K. Giugni (interviewee), Jack Valenti (interviewee), Neil Abercrombie (interviewee), Howard Baker (interviewee), Daniel K. Inouye, Jr. (interviewee), Warren Rudman (interviewee), Cokie Roberts (interviewee), Bill Welch (interviewee), Ted Kennedy (interviewee), Walter Dods (interviewee), Robert Byrd (interviewee), Nainoa Thompson (interviewee), Patricia Zell (interviewee), Minette Lew (adult actor), Brent Anbe (adult actor), Eric Ako (adult actor), Troy Wong (child actor)
Cinematography Shawn Hiatt
Studio Juniroa Productions, Inc.
For More Information

For More Information

Tsai, Michael. " Inouye's Life a Film ." Honolulu Advertiser , March 18, 2003.