Newly Released Book Celebrates the Families and Landmarks of Käne‘ohe
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
Memories of the earliest Japanese families who settled in Käne‘ohe in Windward O‘ahu have been preserved for succeeding generations in the newly released second edition of “Partial History of the Japanese in Kaneohe, 1898 to 1959.”
The new edition contains 39 new family histories. The first edition was published in 2007. The 256-page second edition is organized in alphabetical order by surname and, for the most part, was written by a member of each featured family in their style of choice — some as full narratives, others as bullet points. The volume also includes historical notes on Käne‘ohe and some of its long-gone institutions and landmarks, black and white historical photographs, and maps of the layout of Käne‘ohe town in 1945 . . . and in 2015. The changes are impressive. There’s also a bonus: All of the histories that were in the first edition are also included in the second edition, bringing the total number of family histories to approximately 65.
The book was produced as a labor of love to the community by four long-time Käne‘ohe residents: retired teachers Florence “Flo” (Iida) Fanning and her husband Harold (“Harry”), retired neurologist and former Hawai‘i Herald sports columnist Dr. Michael Okihiro and contractor (and Flo’s brother) Henry Iida. Flo Fanning contacted most of the families, many of whom she knew personally, and asked them to write their memoirs. She copy-edited the stories with the goal of retaining the flavor and style of each storyteller. Harry compiled a general history of Käne‘ohe and gathered photographs. Mike compiled a Käne‘ohe timeline that dates all the way back to the 1700s. Among the highlights in Mike’s timeline are the opening of Heeia Japanese School in 1908; widening and paving of Old Pali Road in 1921, thus enabling trucks to transport produce to Honolulu; opening of Luluku Japanese School in 1922; building of the original Kaneohe Higashi Hongwanji in 1924; introduction of Samoan crabs to Käne‘ohe Bay in 1926; building of the Territorial Hospital for the Mentally Ill (today’s Hawai‘i State Hospital); start of construction of the two Pali Highway tunnels in 1956 and their completion the next year; and the completion of the Likelike Highway and Wilson Tunnel.
Masaru “Mike” Okihiro was a major contributor to the book, writing not only his own family’s stories, but recording the oral histories of others and writing articles about Japanese internees from Käne‘ohe, the Käne‘ohe World War II Monument and the Windward O‘ahu Japanese Baseball League. He had previously collected oral histories for the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.
The fourth member of the team — Flo’s brother, Henry “Hank” Iida — underwrote the publication of both editions. He died in February, just two months after the arrival of the 3,000 books from the printer.
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