DISPATCHES FROM CURT — ‘No Public Land To Spare For The Living, And Presumably None For The Dead’; The Railroad Wharf; Pahoa’s Sawmill; Persecution Complex/Projection; ‘Loud & Tuneless Whistling’; And Magnanimous Wayne Kamitaki

(Curtis Narimatsu is a lifelong resident of Hilo who writes about the forgotten past such as the old plantation days & untold heroes.)

“No Public Land To Spare For The Living, And Presumably None For The Dead”

Alae Cemetery

Alae Cemetery

Alae cemetery started in 1918 because of our Bd. of Supervisors resolution in the quote above. — Curt

The Railroad Wharf

HRR [railroad co.] built Isles landing for its rr cargo in 1903, connected via 1903 rr bridge at foot of Wailoa river [dismantled 1920/not horse-buggy Mamane St. bridge 1902-1952].  The RR wharf replaced the old Gov’t wharf [60 ft. o

Liliuokalani Park

Liliuokalani Park

utcrop] in front of today’s Lili’uokalani Park [now a scenic spot jutting out to the sea] 1902-1903.   When Pete Okumoto’s mother took photos of Lili’uokalani Park 1917, the old RR pier 800 ft. long still was there parallel to the park jutting out toward Coconut [Mokuola] Island.  The RR pier was dismantled by 1919 in that Kuhio harbor [today’s Hilo Harbor] was built 1912.   — Curt

Pahoa’s Sawmill 

Pahoa’s 1908 lumber mill [went broke in 1916 because its ohia was too brittle for Stateside dry land railroad ties] was the world’s largest railroad tie mill, essentially sprouting Pahoa town.  Its huge expanse lay behind today’s Akebono theater.  — Curt

Persecution Complex/Projection

Kathy Jinbo Yamada, born 1952, just found out about her dad’s MIS interpreter job w/Japan War Crimes Tribunal WWII.  He was a great man of quiet wisdom.  On the other hand, Hilo’s MIS Chuck Zumi was Tojo’s interpreter & regales about Tojo’s humble countenance/gentle nature.  Yes, Chuck, Tojo was on the chopping block.  Tojo was Hirohito’s choicest warlock, notwithstanding Chuck’s identification



 w/Tojo’s subdued personality.  Persecution complex/projection got to Chuck, namely, that Chuck felt sorry for Tojo & then even empathized w/Tojo at least in terms of asking for leniency.  Hirohito had a clear choice in pursuing foreign policy — cooperation or imperialism vs. others.  Hirohito chose imperialism.  Myth has it that Hirohito was forced to succumb to Tojo/warlocks.  NO, Tojo endeared Tojo himself to Hirohito to gain Hirohito’s favor/preference.   Reprise the significance of our native son Bill Castle Jr. 1878-1963 of C & C genesis [grandpa Sam was founder of C & C].  Bill was Hoover’s chief for Far Eastern Affairs, & continued to work w/Japan diplomatic corps/doves, who eventually were shorn of power by Tojo’s boys. At this point, Bill Castle became irrelevant to FDR/Harry Hopkins. Bottom line is that Tojo amped up imperialism/military conquests vs. Castle’s peers in Japan.  Yes, this is the Tojo that I told Chuck about. Hell, Chuck,  Tojo lorded over military imperialism/massacres.  Tojo says that Tojo takes the hit for Hirohito.  Such empathy for Tojo reminds me a little of Patty Hearst/SLA.  —  Love, Curt

“Loud & Tuneless Whistling”

The old Gaiety theater 1909-1925 [Doc Hill’s Realty Investment bldg. replaced the Gaiety bldg. in 1929,

which is today’s Caravan Town bldg. owned by atty Roy Nakamoto] had its share of hooligans, who were

arrested  for “loud & tuneless whistling” disorderly conduct. — Curt

Magnanimous Wayne Kamitaki 

issei — immigrant papers

Hora kasu/braggart Kiyo Okubo’s contemporary collection of Issei  periodicals/keepsakes [post-1929] are the mantra for our Hilo Japanese Center/immigrant-Issei museum.  By far, the greatest person in Okubo’s org progeny is Ace Hardware/ Ben Franklin Store owner Wayne Kamitaki, originally from Maui, not Kamigaki store in Kona, 1970 ‘Iolani grad, sweet as sugar, even amid his companies’ mega-backdrop.  Wayne, born 1952, evoked to me that when his BF outfit teetered on the brink of Big B [going broke], he self-actualized & from then on enjoyed every day’s rising sun as if it were his last day on earth.  And Wayne then soaked up/stoked out on every little thing that came his way – a soothing cool glass of sweet fruit juice, a riceball w/umei, a smile on a worker’s face — the little [but biggest] things sustained Wayne!  Wayne Kamitaki is today’s jesus who will save the fate of our immigrant center.  Wayne works miracles like you neva` see before.  Of course, Kiyo’s docents [terrific altruists Kay Okuyama–Carl’s Mom — Hazel Furutani Fujimoto– dad was Kiyo’s supporter — Tomoe Nagahisa Nishi–Waiakea store owner family — Shinobu Sato–ubiquitous radio dj] were exceptional/loving like Wayne Kamitaki.  — Curt

1 reply
  1. Curtis Narimatsu
    Curtis Narimatsu says:

    Wow, great photo accompaniments by indefatigable & tireless editor Tiffany Edwards Hunt!! Thank you, Tiff! In case you’re wondering, Alae cemetery is not marked off by ethnic/racial sections, but by religious affiliations from its inception in 1918, when various lots were sold by auction to different religious groups. On the old railroad wharf bridge 1903-1920 that spanned the entrance to today’s Suisan boat harbor/Wailoa harbor, you can see the rock/mortar abutment on the Suisan market side at the Wailoa river entrance, shaved down to about 2 feet above the water’s edge. The “wagon wheel” old Mamane St. bridge 1902-1952 has its huge wall abutment on the Suisan market side further in toward the boat harbor, that causes liability concerns over kids jumping off the top of the rampart to the shallow water below. On Ohia wood, Iwasaki Camp/Kurtistown forests were cleared to make charcoal ohia wood, just as Pahoa forests were cleared for sugar planting. When kerosene/liquid fuels became available/affordable, charcoal ohia wood became obsolete. The genesis of Japan jujitsu/judo in Western Society, Kichimatsu Tanaka 1875-1954, first cut ohia trees & slow-burned the wood for charcoal for Iwasaki in Kea’au/Kurtistown. On the old Gaiety theater, its seating went all the way back & took up today’s rear parking lot in the back of the old Kress Store bldg., which is why the Gaiety could seat over 1,000 people. Today’s Caravan Town store on the Keaukaha side of the old Kress Store bldg. is Doc Hill’s Realty Investment Bldg. 1929 that is only a fraction of the length of Adam Baker’s original Gaiety theater bldg. Thanks again, editor Tiffany, for allowing me to publish my notes above. Mahalo, –Curt

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *