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Cane Fires

The Anti-Japanese Movement in Hawaii, 1865-1945

Gary Okihiro

Publication Year: 2010

Outstanding Book in History and Social Science Award, Association for Asian American Studies, 1992 "Okihiro's account is an important corrective to our understanding of the Japanese American Experience in World War II." --The Hawaiian Journal of History Challenging the prevailing view of Hawaii as a mythical "racial paradise," Gary Okihiro presents this history of a systematic anti-Japanese movement in the islands from the time migrant workers were brought to the sugar cane fields until the end of World War II. He demonstrates that the racial discrimination against Japanese Americans that occurred on the West Coast during the second World War closely paralleled the less familiar oppression of Hawaii's Japanese, which evolved from the production needs of the sugar planters to the military's concern over the "menace of alien domination." Okihiro convincingly argues that those concerns motivated the consolidation of the plantation owners, the Territorial government, and the U.S. military-Hawaii's elite-into a single force that propelled the anti-Japanese movement, while the military devised secret plans for martial law and the removal and detention of Japanese Americans in Hawaii two decades before World War II. Excerpt Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf). Reviews "Scholars of American race relations will want to read this book. So will anyone interested in Hawaii's history or in the experiences of Japanese or Asian Americans. It will go far in putting to rest any residual notion that the WWII experiences of the Japanese Americans represented 'aberration' or 'hysterical' reaction to wartime exigencies." --Franklin S. Odo, University of Hawaii at Manoa "A well-researched and well-written treatment of the subject." --Library Journal Contents Illustrations Preface Part I: Years of Migrant Labor, 1986-1909 1. So Much Charity, So Little Democracy 2. Hole Hole Bushi 3. With the Force of Wildfire Part II: Years of Dependency, 1910-1940 4. Cane Fires 5. In the National Defense 6. Race War 7. Extinguishing the Dawn 8. Dark Designs Part III: World War II, 1941-1945 9. Into the Cold Night Rain 10. Bivouac Song 11. In Morning Sunlight Notes Index About the Author(s) Gary Y. Okihiro is Associate Professor of History at Cornell University.

Published by: Temple University Press


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Illustrations following page 160

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pp. Galley 1-Galley 6

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pp. ix-xviii

The idea for this book originated in the summer of 1984; as I reread J. Garner Anthony's Hawaii under Army Rule, what immediately struck me was that Hawaii's Japanese and the West Coast Japanese were subjected to much the same treatment at the hands of the u.s. military during World War II. That recognition startled me because I had ...

Part I: Years of Migrant Labor, 1865–1909

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1. So Much Charity, So Little Democracy

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pp. 3-18

Sugarcane was introduced to Hawaii by the original caretakers of the land and, like taro and sweet potatoes, was cultivated in family gardens primarily for the benefit of the producers. The family or kin group ('ohana) was physically and psychically identified with the land ('aina), as shown in the etymologies of both words. 'Ghana, derived from ...

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2. Hole Hole Bushi

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pp. 19-30

West to Japan they went, these merchants of labor, seeking the strong and supple for Hawaii's sugar plantations. "We are in much need of them," implored Robert Crichton Wyllie, Hawaiian foreign minister and master of Princeville plantation on the island of Kauai. "I myself could take 500 for my own estates." Wyllie's letter, dated March 10, 1865, ...

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3. With the Force of Wildfire

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pp. 41-61

Japanese resistance to oppression on Hawaii's plantations was recurrent, took a variety of forms, and sought the betterment both of individuals and the group. Women who ran away from abusive husbands were examples of individual acts of resistance. Protests at the point of production-breaking or losing tools, feigning illness, working at a slow pace, and running away-were acts of resistance in...

Part II: Years of Dependency, 1910–1940

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4. Cane Fires

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pp. 65-81

World War I and America's entry in the war led to rapidly rising sugar prices and soaring costs of goods and labor. Bonuses paid to plantation workers, instituted as a result of the 1909 strike, were pegged to the price of sugar. As an indication of the rapid rate of inflation, in 1914, bonuses paid to workers amounted to 5 percent of their earnings; a year later, bonuses rose to 20 percent. In 1917, as the price of...

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5. In the National Defense

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pp. 82-101

Racism gained a national hearing in the U.S. Congress, in the executive branch, and among the American public through an orchestrated campaign by Hawaii's planters and the territorial government. They merged race with national security for the purpose of displacing Japanese plantation...

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6. Race War

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pp. 102-128

Situated in the Pacific Basin, Hawaii was a conduit for America's Pacific trade and a military outpost designed to protect and advance U.S. interests. The territory's position determined the roles of the navy and army in the islands: the navy kept open the Pacific sea lanes, while the army defended Hawaiian soil-especially the island of Oahu and its naval base at Pearl Harbor-against both foreign and ...

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7. Extinguishing the Dawn

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pp. 129-1862

Some called it the "spectre of alien domination"; others, "peaceful penetration"; still others, the "second generation problem." Whatever the designation, the problem in Hawaii during the 1920S and 1930S was the durable Japanese presence and determination to share in the promise of ...

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8. Dark Designs

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pp. 163-191

During the 1930s, military and civilian intelligence and the army's War Plans Division intensified activities to counter the "Japanese menace." Much of the work involved refining plans laid in the 1920S, especially regarding martial law and what was to be done during the period immediately preceding a formal declaration of hostilities. Hawaii became more closely integrated into a global defensive scheme that began ...

Part III: World War II, 1941–1945

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9. Into the Cold Night Rain

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pp. 195-224

Years before bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii geared for war. The "Gibraltar of the Pacific" had to be made impregnable against enemies both within and without. The Army Service Command, established in 1935, tied "civil control forces" to the military in a close partnership to prevent sabotage and local uprisings, arguing the need for a total effort because of Hawaii's isolated location in mid Pacific but also ...

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10. Bivouac Song

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pp. 225-252

The Office of Military Governor ruled from Iolani Palace, the last seat of an independent Hawaiian monarchy, where former Judge Advocate Green acted as executive officer for Short, the military governor. Martial law enabled strict "control of the civilian population" through sweeping general orders emanating from the palace that were interpreted by military tribunals and imposed by the military police and..

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11. In Morning Sunlight

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pp. 253-276

Two ships left Honolulu harbor during the early months of the war: the Ulysses Grant, departing on February 20, 1942, with 172 Japanese issei and nisei "troublemakers"; and the Maui, setting sail on June 5, 1942, with 1A32 nisei men of the Provisional Battalion. Although both ships headed for America, the Ulysses Grant discharged its hold at Angel Island on the north side of San Francisco Bay. (During ...


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pp. 277-321


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pp. 323-330

E-ISBN-13: 9781439907047
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877227991

Publication Year: 2010