WASHINGTON — Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono’s mother, Laura, has died, according to an obituary in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Laura Hirono, 96, played a prominent role in her daughter’s political identity.

The cover of Mazie Hirono’s memoir, which goes on sale this week. 

Senator Hirono often discussed how her mother brought her to Hawaii from Japan when she was only 8 years old to escape an alcoholic, abusive husband.

Hirono, who was the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate and only immigrant currently serving in the chamber, said that experience taught her that Japanese women need not be docile nor submissive.

“My mother really stood up for herself, but not in a noisy way,” Hirono said in a 2018 interview with Civil Beat. “She was very firm.”

The elder Hirono’s death comes as her daughter’s own book, “Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story,” comes out this week.

In the book, Hirono discusses her mother’s struggles to adapt to life in America as a single parent as well as her own rise through Hawaii politics and the halls of Congress, where from 2016-2020 she was a reliable voice of opposition to President Donald Trump.

Quality journalism takes time.

A story that takes fives minutes to read often takes days to report.
Quality journalism takes time and resources to produce, but with support from readers like you, Civil Beat can investigate issues and publish stories that are otherwise difficult to fund.
Become a donor and help support Civil Beat’s next investigation.

About the Author