Program Three - Segment Three: Resistance

In the 20th century, workers began to demand higher wages. Though vulnerable to exploitation, workers slowly gained strength through both individual and collective action.  Organized protests began along ethnic lines in the early 1900s.  Plantation owners exploited racial differences. They pitted workers against each other. Workers needed higher wages to support their families and a new strategy to beat the plantation system. In 1946, they organized the first multi-ethnic strike led by the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union. The “Great Sugar Strike,” transformed Hawaii’s plantation society. With a union victory, Hawaii’s sugar workers became the highest paid agricultural workers in the world. But the building blocks of this movement began many years earlier.


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


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:


Cheng, Luci and Edna Bonacich, Labor Immigration Under Capitalism, Ch. 5, Asian Labor in Hawaii, 1850 – 1900.  University of California Press, 1984.

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.

Puette, William J. C.L.E.A.R. Guide to Hawaii Labor History. University of Hawaii, 2003.

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

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