Bridging Foundation Mourns the Loss of Irene Hirano Inouye

April 9, 2020 

The U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation mourns the loss of Irene Hirano Inouye, who passed away recently after a long illness.  Irene’s distinguished career and tireless efforts building and leading organizations supporting the arts, human rights and U.S.-Japan relations are extraordinary. Within the U.S.-Japan community, Irene was not only an influential advocate for people-to-people exchange between Japan and the United States, but also a valuable partner.  Through her leadership of the United States-Japan Council and the TOMODACHI Initiative, doors of opportunity have been opened to a next generation of leaders, including the TOMODACHI-Bridging Scholars.  The Bridging Foundation is among the countless organizations and individuals who have benefitted from Irene’s warm hospitality, generosity and tenacity.  Thierry Porte, Chairman of the Bridging Foundation Board of Directors reflects, “Irene was one of the outstanding leaders in U.S.-Japan relations and a wonderful friend of the Bridging Foundation. Her entrepreneurial spirit and optimistic attitude were a constant source of encouragement to all those committed to bringing Japanese and Americans closer together.”  She leaves a legacy of excellence and collaboration, and a stronger U.S.-Japan partnership. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Irene’s family, colleagues and friends.