Program Three - Segment One: Hard Labor

First they used Hawaiian labor on the plantations.  But it was Hawaiian tradition to work only to meet immediate needs.  So there was no year-round workforce.  By 1850, the sugar industry exploded.  Plantations needed cheap labor.  Fast.  The first workers came from China.  Then Japan, Korea, the Philippines…  The laborers had hopes of making money quickly and returning home. Raising Cane was backbreaking work and the pay was meager.  Men who came to Hawaii had big dreams.   They thought they would strike it rich.   But the reality of plantation life was so different from what they were told by recruiters.


Gaylord Kubota, Domingo Los Banos, Espy Garcia, Ah Quon McElrath, Barbara Kawakami, Alma Ogata, Fuzzy Alboro, George Fujiwara, May Fujiwara, Jon Arisumi. Moses Pataki, and Richard Nagame.  Scholars Ronald Takaki, Franklin Odo, Bill Puette, William Boylan, Lee Tonouchi, Kent Sakoda and Jeffrey Siegel. Actors Dann Seki, Chisao Hata, Denise Aoki Chinen, and Keith Kashiwada. Hole Hole Bushi songs were sung by Shigeko Miyashiro.

Produced by Robynn Takayama and Dmae Roberts


Hawaii Life Slideshow - See photos of the Plantation Village, the Alexander & Baldwin sugar museum, and historical plantation photos.


Ledward Kaapana, Master Slack Key Guitarist records on the "Rhythm & Roots" Record Label. To purchase his CDs email kahokuproductions@yahoo.com. For more information on the Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festivals (Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai), please visit hawaiianslackkeyguitarfestivals.com or email kahokuproductions@yahoo.com or phone (808) 226-2697. ledkaapana.com

Further Internet Resources:


Chan, Sucheng Asian Americans: An Interpretive History. Twayne Publishers, 1991.

Fuchs, Lawrence H.  Hawaii Pono: A Social History – The 50th State, its People and Politics, from Annexation to Statehood. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1961.

Hing, Bill Ong. "Hawaii and API History," Asian Week, March, 2001.

Ichioka, Yuji The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants,
. New Press, 1988.

Kimura, Yukiko Issei: Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. University of Hawaii Press, 1988.

Nordyke, Eleanor C. and Matsumoto, Y. Scott “The Japanese in Hawaii: a historical and demographic perspective” The Hawaiian Journal of History Volume 11, 1977.

Okihiro, Gary Y. Cane Fires: The Anti-Japanese Movement in Hawaii, 1865-1945. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.

Takaki, Ronald Pau Hana: Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii. University of Hawaii Press, 1983.

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