George Ryoichi Ariyoshi

In Office 1974 to 1986


Governor Ariyoshi

George Ryoichi Ariyoshi became Governor in 1974 and served until 1986. The first Governor of Japanese-American ancestry, Ariyoshi is remembered for guiding the State through its first economic recession after the post-economic boom of statehood. As Lieutenant Governor for Governor Burns (1970-1974), he became acting Governor when Governor Burns fell ill in October 1973. Governor Ariyoshi holds the record as the longest-serving state governor in Hawaiʻi.

First Lady

Jean Hayashi married George Ariyoshi in 1955, raised a family of three children, and was First Lady of the State of Hawaiʻi from 1974 to 1986. In 1974, inspired by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s restoration of the White House, Mrs. Ariyoshi embarked on a restoration of Washington Place. Under her direction, some of Queen Liliʻuokalani’s artifacts and furnishings were returned and the art and historic treasures cataloged. She also initiated a docent program for house and garden tours.

On Being First Lady…

I started with my interests. I always believe that first you have to look at yourself and figure out what your interests are. And once you know your interests, you have to figure out what your assets and liabilities are. There are some things you can’t do and some things you can.

Washington Place

I was interested in history and art. I was interested in the home. I felt we were stewards. And we were given this opportunity to serve. So I started with the home. Each object has a history, has a story. Documenting these stories became a multiple year project and included a collaboration with University of Hawaiʻi. This led to the publication of Decorative Arts of Washington Place, 1847-1987.

Washington Place Memory

It was a universal moment when I met a fellow tourist in Edinburgh, Scotland and we had both gotten off the tour bus to explore the antique shops. A conversation later led to the return of a Victorian chair, once belonging to Queen Liliʻuokalani. William Allaman was from Florida like his aunt and uncle whom had purchased the chair in the early 1920s for $3.50 from the Queen’s estate. Originally donated to Hui Hanai, the chair is on permanent loan to Washington Place and now sits in the “blue room.”


View curated photos from each governor and their families during their residences at Washington Place. Hit the right and left arrows to view more.

George Ryoichi Ariyoshi

In office 1973 to 1974 (acting) 1974 to 1986 (elected)

Photographer unknown, Washington Place Collection.

First ‘Official Photo’ of the Ariyoshi Family at Washington Place

From left to right: Governor George R. Ariyoshi, Mrs. Jean H. Ariyoshi, Lynn, Ryozo and Donn, 1974.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure

Governor Ariyoshi with First Lady receiving the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, First Class from the Emperor of Japan, Japan’s highest order, 1985.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

The Progressive Neighborhood Program

First Lady’s firsts guests to Washington Place were twenty-five children selected through the Progressive Neighborhood Program from among families in greatest need, December 1974.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

Meeting the Emperor and Empress of Japan

From left to right: Empress Nagako, Emperor Hirohito of Japan, First Lady, and Governor Ariyoshi on the steps of Washington Place, 1975.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

Meeting the Prime Minister of Thailand

Governor Ariyoshi, Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda of Thailand, First Lady, Wendell Silva, and members of Halau Hula Olana, September 24, 1985.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

‘First Official Dinner at Washington Place’

Governor George Ariyoshi, First Lady, and family hosting the ‘First Official Dinner at Washington Place’ for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, April 1975.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

Cary Grant

Cary Grant, first Hollywood star to visit Mrs. Ariyoshi, and Phyllis Spaulding Bowen, who helped Mrs. Ariyoshi redecorate and renovate Washington Place, 1975.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

President Ronald W. Reagan

Governor George R. Ariyoshi, Mrs. Ronald W. Reagan, President Ronald W. Reagan, and Mrs. Jean H. Ariyoshi, 1986.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

King Hussein of Jordan

From left to right: Donn, Ryozo, First Lady, King Hussein of Jordan, Governor Ariyoshi, Prince Abdullah (currently King of Jordan), and Lynn, 1982.

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

Ariyoshi Family on Inauguration Day, 1978

Photographer unknown, Courtesy of Jean Ariyoshi.

Newspaper Article

Interview with First Lady Jean Ariyoshi discussing life at Washington Place, from her daughter Lynn’s wedding to her hosting first “official dinner at Washington Place” honoring Queen Elizabeth II of England.  First Lady used the Noritake china selected by former First Lady Beatrice Burns for the dinner.  When hosting Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako of Japan, Mrs. Ariyoshi decided upon a luau on the outdoor lanāi.  The interview ends with First Lady contemplating what she will miss most when Governor Ariyoshi’s term ends.

Citation: Taylor, Lois. “Hawaii’s First Lady.” United: The Magazine of the Friendly Skies. Aug  1984, vol 29: no 8: 60-66.

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Hawaii State Governors

William F. Quinn

In Office 1957 to 1962

John A. Burns

In Office 1962 to 1974

John D. Waiheʻe III

In Office 1986 to 1994

Ben Cayetano

In Office 1994 to 2002

Linda Lingle

In Office 2002 to 2010

Neil Abercrombie

In Office 2010 to 2014


Washington Place

320 South Beretania St

Honolulu, HI 96813