Learn about Japanese Americans in Hawaii

Retired East Asian Professor Min Yanagihashi has written a paper entitled “Japanese Americans in Hawaii: Acculturation & Assimilation”  about the toils and triumphs of the hard working Issei (1st generation immigrants), Nisei (2nd generation born in Hawaii), and us Sansei (3rd generation), Yonsei (4th generation), etc.  Find out more by attending an informative upcoming panel discussion on Nov. 3rd, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Himmel Park Library, 1035 N. Treat Ave.

I grew up in Hawaii, after my grandparents emigrated from Japan in 1892 and 1910 to become indentured sugar plantation workers. My parents were born there in the Trust Territory of Hawaii, as U.S. Citizens. Yet my father Francis Sueo Sugiyama was discriminated against following the attack on Pearl Harbor, because of his race –expelled as a dental student by the University of Southern California. He fled to Chicago and avoided the mass internment, but got admitted to the University of Md. Dental School and finished his degree, years later.  He then returned to Hawaii and practiced dentistry & orthodontics on the Big Island of Hawaii for 30 years.

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I’m on the panel, as are Min’s wife retired teacher Evelyn Kodama Yanagihashi, educator Dr. Naomi Okumura Story, and PAG Transportation modeler James Tokishi.  Sponsored by Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition, of which I am the website Editor.  Poster designed by Crystal Akazawa.

We will be responding to Min’s article and answering these questions:

“1) In your family, how were traditional culture and values and behavioral norms handled?  (2) In regards to Japanese heritage, looking outside the family, comment on some events, activities, institutions, or organizations that impacted your life in Hawaii.”

Hawaii became the 50th State of the U.S. on August 21, 1959.

More info: www.southernazjapan.org. Min’s paper is hyperlinked on our website, so feel free to read it prior to the panel discussion. Free and open to the public.

One response to “Learn about Japanese Americans in Hawaii

  1. About 30 people in attendance to listen and learn about the Japanese immigrant experience to Hawaii, about the hardworking Nisei, who emphasized education and not “to bring shame on the family”. Outside influences were business groups, religious groups (Buddhist churches), martial arts discipline, U.S. Senator Dan Inouye in my case, who married my first cousin Maggie Awamura before I was even born. Questions from the audience included about how many Pearl Harbor survivors, 442nd veterans were still alive, whether being a woman played a role in Japanese culture (patriarchal), whether the panel were familiar with a book entitled “Midnight in Broad Daylight”, Okinawan culture (James’ family), etc.