The ceremony Thursday marked the 65th anniversary of Japan's signing of surrender documents on the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri in 1945.
Honolulu's KHON-TV said the ceremony was held on the USS Missouri, now a memorial docked in Pearl Harbor, where the war in the Pacific began. Retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, now U.S. secretary of veterans affairs, joined Inouye in the commemoration.
Inouye lost his right arm in a battle with Japanese troops and was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Clinton in 2000.
"Let us honor the thousands of brave men and women who gave their lives to ensure our liberty and the strength of our nation's democracy," Inouye said at the ceremony.
Shinseki is also a Hawaiian.
"The significance of this stately memorial lies not just in the strength of steel but in the soul of a generation of ordinary Americans who came forward to serve their country in extraordinary ways," Shinseki said.