I was so shocked and saddened to read the April 9 article “Irene Hirano, head of U.S.-Japan Council and widow of Sen. Inouye, dies.

When she was serving as president of the Japanese American National Museum in the Little Tokyo neighborhood in Los Angeles from 1988 to 2008, our family had a chance to visit the museum.

We shall never forget her warm welcome, and her firm belief that we are expected to know about the Japanese American experience and accept the mission of telling that history to our friends today and tomorrow in order to make a better world.

After looking at the various exhibitions, we were led to ponder each individual’s story of the difficult experiences of the Japanese Americans, lessons from history, equality, democracy in diversity, the American dream and many other issues, all of which still compel me to seek out further studies and answers.

The airport in Honolulu has been named after her husband (“a Japanese American Democrat from Hawaii and a World War II veteran”) and is now called Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

We know that both Irene Hirano and her husband dedicated their lives to the “Tomodachi” relationship between Japan and the United States, including “support for Japan’s recovery from the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami disaster.” We miss both so greatly.

Praying for the repose of two of our best tomodachi, we pledge to continue making every possible effort to ensure that Japan and the U.S. maintain everlasting friendship.

Hiroshi Noro

Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture

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