Journey to Washington (book)

Title Journey to Washington
Author Daniel K. Inouye and Lawrence Elliott
Original Publisher Prentice-Hall
Original Publication Date 1967
Pages 297
WorldCat Link

Ghostwritten autobiography by Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawai'i, authored with Lawrence Elliott and published in 1967. One of the first autobiographies by a Nisei, Journey to Washington was published as Inouye was finishing his first term as a U.S. Senator from Hawai'i and preparing to run for reelection. The book covers his life up to that time, beginning with his grandfather leaving Japan to come to America to pay off a debt and ending with his father visiting the White House to visit President John. F. Kennedy. A success story that established a template for many Nisei memoirs to come, the book reinforced the "model minority" narrative then current. Reader's Digest also excerpted the book in its February 1968 issue. The book includes three forewords, by President Lyndon Johnson, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield.

Reviews and the forewords all echo "model minority" themes, emphasizing Inouye's patriotism, optimism, and self-made success. President Johnson wrote, "I believe that this story will become part of the heritage of our nation, inspiring others to find within themselves the strength to say: 'There isn't a thing in the world I couldn't do—if I want to do it badly enough.'" Vice-President Humphrey added, "Dan Inouye has written as stirring and significant a story as I have read in a long time. It is his story. It is a story that reveals the spirit and heart of America." Mansfield added that "his triumph is, in the end, the triumph of America."[1] In Library Journal, Robert W. Henderson wrote "Senator Inouye's fierce Americanism is based on a consummate faith in democracy regardless of race or religion."[2] Publisher's Weekly called Inouye and his family "deeply loyal Americans," while Booklist noted that "While he discusses his own encounters with racial discrimination quite frankly, his positive, idealistic philosophy precludes over-emphasis on the subject. A warm, enthusiastic, refreshingly optimistic book."[3]

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Huang, Guiyou. The Columbia Guide to Asian American Literature Since 1945. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. 67–68.

Inouye, Daniel K, with Lawrence Elliott. Journey to Washington. Englewood Cliffs, NY: Prentice-Hall, 1967.

Wu, Ellen. The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014.


Booklist, Nov. 1, 1967, 312.

Choice (Nov. 1968): 1222.

Henderson, Robert W. Library Journal, May 1, 1967, 1826.

Publisher's Weekly, May 22, 1967, 63.

Han, John Jae-Nam. "Daniel K. Inouye." In Asian American Autobiographers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Ed. Guiyou Huang. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001. 141–47.


  1. Daniel K. Inouye, with Lawrence Elliott, Journey to Washington (Englewood Cliffs, NY: Prentice Hall, 1967), vi, ix, and xiv.
  2. Robert W. Henderson, Review of Journey to Washington, Library Journal, May 1, 1967, p. 1826.
  3. Review of Journey to Washington, Publisher's Weekly, May 22, 1967, p. 63; Review of Journey to Washington, Booklist, Nov. 1, 1967, p. 312.