Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1860s – Queen’s Hospital formed, Hansen’s Disease patients to Kalaupapa and first Japanese contract laborers. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
The government-supported Yokohama Specie Bank, founded in Japan in 1880, was international in origin. It developed an extensive network of branches. The bank was named after the ‘specie’ (Latin for “in kind,”) a silver coin (as distinguished from bullion or paper money) used as an international currency for settling payments among traders. Japanese banking came to Hawaiʻi on August 8, 1892, with the opening of the Honolulu branch of the Yokohama Shokin Giriko, the Yokohama Specie Bank, Ltd.
Although the Yokohama Specie Bank conducted a merchant bank business in Hawaiʻi, its principal function remained that of transacting foreign exchange business. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941,) the building was confiscated by the Alien Custodian Agency. During the war, the first floor was used for storing confiscated possessions, while the basement was converted into a 250-man drunk tank.
Japanese laborers quickly comprised the majority of Hawaiian sugar plantation workers in Hawai‘i in 1885. The men cut the cane; the women’s work was to strip the leaves from sugar cane stalks so that it produces more juice while providing fertilizer for the growing plant.
These women sang songs about work and the dilemma of plantation life. The songs, called Hole Hole Bushi (a hybrid term that combines the Japanese word for tune (bushi) with a Hawaiian term describing the stripping the leaves off of sugar cane (hole,)) used old Japanese folk tunes, and mixed Hawaiian and Japanese words for dramatic lyrics.
There were several types of columns used by the military infantry: marching columns for transiting long distances and columns used on the battlefield. They were not intended as assault formations, except under special circumstances. Reference to a ‘Fifth Column’ dates to the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and refers to a group or faction of subversive agents (or spys.)
The term ‘Fifth Column’ survived that war and has ever since been used to designate secret armies or groups of armed subversives. With Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, fear of the ‘Fifth Column” hit home. A report commissioned by Congress contended that the vast majority of Japanese Americans were loyal but it did nothing to stop the mounting public hysteria and government and military reactionism.
A pair of enemy planes apparently collided on the morning of December 7, 1941 – reports from the scene at the time suggest they also crashed at the same spot on the ʻEwa Plain.
A ‘Dauntless’ manned by Ensign John HL Vogt (pilot) and Third Class Sidney Pierce (radioman-gunner) became separated from his section leader during the Pearl-bound flight in from the carrier; a Japanese ‘Val’ was manned by Petty Officer 2nd Class Koreyoshi Toyama (Sotoyama) (pilot) and Flier 1st Class Hajime Murao. Neither of these planes made it back to their respective ships.