Mazie Keiko Hirono is an American politician serving since 2013 as the junior United States Senator from Hawaii. She is the first elected female senator from Hawaii, the first Asian-American woman elected to the Senate, and the first U.S. senator born in Japan. She considers herself a non-practicing Buddhist and is often cited as the first Buddhist to serve in the United States Congress.
About Mazie Hirono in brief
Mazie Keiko Hirono is an American politician serving since 2013 as the junior United States Senator from Hawaii. She is the first elected female senator from Hawaii, the first Asian-American woman elected to the Senate, and the first U.S. senator born in Japan. She considers herself a non-practicing Buddhist and is often cited with Hank Johnson as the first Buddhist to serve in the United States Congress. She was the only person of Asian ancestry serving in the U. S. Senate from 2013 until 2017, when senators Tammy Duckworth and Kamala Harris were sworn in, representing Illinois and California, respectively. Mazie’s maternal grandfather, Hiroshi Satō, immigrated to Hawaii to work on a sugar plantation at the age of 16; her grandmother, Tari Shinoki, immigrated to Hawaii as a picture bride in 1928. Her mother, Laura Chie, felt out of place in Japan as one of the many Nisei Japanese Americans who emigrated with their returning Issei parents before World War II and during the Great Depression. Laura left the house she was living in with her in-laws in 1951, never to return. Her father, a compulsive gambler and alcoholic who pawned even his wife’s possessions for gambling money, was abusive to Mazie’s mother, who finally left the abusive marriage in 1951. Laura moved with her husband to southern Fukushima, and had three children, Roy, Mazie, and Wayne.
After two years of hard work, she brought her parents and youngest son to Hawaii in 1957, but she had to get away with her youngest son, Wayne, staying behind with his grandparents and staying with Laura and her husband. Laura said, “I guess it all boils down to love. I guess I guess the Satō-Hirono family decided to return down to Hawaii, but under the Japanese quota system, as Japanese Americans without citizenship or professional status, could not go with Laura, with three-year-old Wayne. Thus the family was separated… I had to go away with my son.’’ Mazie was born on November 3, 1947, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Her brother returned to Hawaii after the war, and she remained in Japan and married a veterinarian, Hironi Matabe, in 1946. In 1939, she moved back to Hawaii with the teenaged Laura and Akira; Hiroshi remained in Hawaii to run the bathhouse for two more years before joining his family in 1941. The couple opened a bathhouse on River Street in Honolulu in 1924, and a son, Akira, in 1924. The couple had a daughter,Laura Chie,. and a boy, Akira. In 1939,. Tari returned to Japan with her teenaged daughter, Mazie and Akira, and In 1939, Hironi moved back around the time of the Second World War, and they moved to Hawaii.