Dispatches From Curt — Inimitable And Auspicious Heroes, Enemy Aliens Even Though U.S. Citizens, And Random Post Scripts

A Full Honor Wreath Ceremony for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Medal of Honor recipients took place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday June 21, 2000, in Arlington, Va. From left are: Yeiki Kobashigawa, US Army, retired; Rudolph Davila, US Army, retired George T. Sakato, US Army, retired.  President Clinton presented the medals at a White House ceremony in June 2000. (AP Photo/Heesoon Yim)

A Full Honor Wreath Ceremony for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Medal of Honor recipients took place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday June 21, 2000, in Arlington, Va. From left are: Yeiki Kobashigawa, US Army, retired; Rudolph Davila, US Army, retired George T. Sakato, US Army, retired. President Clinton laer presented the medals at a White House ceremony. (AP Photo/Heesoon Yim)

By Curtis Narimatsu

Inimitable And Auspicious Heroes

1.   WIA 442 F Co.’s Hoxie Nagami lived a long life, albeit disabled (1921-2000). Wataru Kohashi saved Hoxie after Hoxie got shot.  Unarmed Wataru got 4 German POWs to carry Hoxie on a stretcher out of Wataru/Hoxie’s foxhole back to the base camp.  Wataru was gentle to the POWs & they respected/ trusted him.  Wataru was told by the base camp M.D. that Hoxie was going to die from extensive wounds.  But incredibly, Hoxie survived.  Wataru born 1922 & Hoxie were boyhood pals.  Hoxie’s brother was KIA [Takayama brothers died almost same time w/separate outfits/companies — Bobby Command wrote a great Veteran’s Day tribute to them  a decade ago]. After Hoxie suffered series of strokes, he fell into a coma at Hilo Hospital. At 3 a.m. the floor nurses heard Hoxie scream “Wataru, come get me!” about 5 times.  They were shocked that comatose Hoxie “came alive.” Alas, Hoxie died unconscious within minutes of his “outburst.”  Wataru is deeply affected to this day because when Wataru embraced Hoxie in their foxhole 55 yrs. before Hoxie’s death in yr. 2000, Wataru kept repeating to semi-conscious Hoxie “I goin’ come get you, I goin’ come get” before Wataru left to summon his German POWs to get Hoxie to the medics/base camp.   Fact truly is stranger than fiction.  As you know, Hoxie died before Yuki’s upgrade to MoH.  Yes, band of brothers code of honorable silence – platoon leader Jack Wakamatsu of LA asked Wataru to give up Wataru’s DSC to KIA.Humility/devotion like you cannot ever imagine!   Metaphysical, really.  Wataru says that the boys’ devotion to each other is surpassed only by a mother’s love/sons’ love for okasan/mama.  Amazing.  Is this a cliche` war story?   Not if you were there in the foxhole.

2.   Yes, addressee mailer for KIA Kiyo Muranaga from 65 yrs. ago — notification of son’s death to/via internment camp administrator. Rhetorically/shikata ga nai [what can you do…?], so deeply sad that something’s not right here … (sigh), so sad, so sad.

3.   Stanley Hara respectfully told Gov. Sam Wilder King in 1953,  “You haven’t seen the last of me, Mr. Governor,” when King rejected farm produce outfit headed by Stanley to ship island produce to Mainland during winter months.  King was for Big 5, not grassroot joes like Stan. Which is when Kazuhisa Abe had 30 yr. old Stan run for House [Dem Revolution 1954].   Abe/Stan got big boost from Jack Hall’s ILWU – until hothead Eddie De Mello [Hilo dock clerk] wrongfully told members that Stan cozied up w/Big 5 via watered-down work comp law 1956. As Stan intones, politics are the art of compromise, & Gov. King vetoed record # of Dem Bills, unequalled to date — so Stan/solons had to get half a loaf instead of none.  Faladoo/noisebox Eddie De Mello was incapable of comprehending politics.  When George Martin came along, the ILWU was in much better hands.   Everyone respected George Martin.  Stan credits Masato Doi/Vince Esposito for polishing up Stan on legislative procedure, topped by Stan’s alter ego Abe.

4.  Stan says that Abe galvanized Territory-wide [primary upgrade to Manoa] enrichment of university role/function, while Tommy Sakakihara compelled expansion of UH-Hilo.  Abe unrelentingly told Manoa’s boss Holmes to updraft UH’s calibre/fiscal needs. Gerald De Mello should’ve enshrined Stan into UH-Hilo’s hall of honor/ fame at the outset [I exhorted Gerald to do so, which Gerald did long after Gerald’s cronies were installed.  Why not create an “inspiration/molder” category to enshrine non-UH Hilo alumni like Scrub Tanaka/Tommy Sakakihara? Stan Hara’s dream  has come true — what Stan reached for was a 5,000 Arts/Sciences enrollment w/various advanced degree programs, on 500 acres of land. Stan got the South Pacific/Micronesian influx in the 1970s. Tremendous vision/pragmatism.   Stan says that Jack Burns pushed for a UH satellite Waimea campus focused on astronomy/marine biotech.  I know personally that Scrub Tanaka supported Burns in such outreach/branch, w/core function at UH-Hilo in Hilo.  Scrub catalyzed land expansion for UH-Hilo to provide affordable housing for non-resident locals from Kona/Ka`u/Kohala/Hamakua/Puna.

5.   Stan born 1923 tried to buy Naniloa Hotel lease w/2 others but financing fell thru, which is when Kazuhisa Abe told Stan to buy commercial property [such as Stan’s current Keawe St. block across the old Food Fair Supermarket b/n Mamo/Ponahawai Sts.]. Stan even visualized redeveloping Keawe St. downtown from Ponahawai St. up to Haili St., where a pedestrian mall would connect up w/developer Tai On Chock’s projects from Waianuenue Ave. down to Haili St.   Grand designs/creative plans stymied by recession/high interest rates/counter- culture protest [old town atmosphere].  Stan disputes Scrub Tanaka’s disapproval of Stan’s real estate investments.  Stan says that Stan was ever afraid to accept a complimentary cup of coffee from a patron/voter/business owner, which would make Stan owe an obligation to such donor.  It wasn’t until Kaz Abe told Stan to loosen up & be more sociable that Stan accepted next-to-nothing in money value gratuity. Stan applauds Scrub for Scrub’s purity/devotion to clean government, but Stan says that Stan tried to make a living to support his family, & should not be condemned for that, or for Orchidland [affordable land ownership].    Thanks, Curtis

Enemy Aliens Even Though U.S. Citizens

Even patriot Futoshi Frank Arakawa (1891-1977), born here/Nisei, was classified as enemy alien WWII.  Frank did stirring President’s Day tribute pre-WWI, was WWI doughboy/officer, yet was interned WWII.  Frank was Stanford U grad/civil engineer, designed TR Saiki’s Keaukaha home [TR also interned, though TR was alien].   About Hung Wai Ching 1905-2002, Hung Wai gets the U.S. Customs plum job for former FBI chief Bob Shivers, then exclaims to acolyte Ted Tsukiyama born 1920, “You know, I wanted that Customs job myself!  As Collector of Customs [comes up close to Ted & jabs Ted w/Hung Wai’s elbow] I could control the opium trade & become a millionaire!!”   Hung Wai actually did become a millionaire [real estate developments], only to give away his treasures to uplift the common folk.  A tight-fist he was not!!  Amazingly, Hung Wai never used his immense influence w/the War Dept./FDR & Eleanor/high-placed contacts w/military-industrial complex to gain any benefit or profit for himself.  Unlike today’s Wall St. moguls, Hung Wai never looted/pillaged others.  He did the opposite — paid his own money to get boys/girls higher education — which is why he was called the gentle Chinaman. Even his acolyte, radical Koji Ariyoshi 1914-1976, kissed the ground where Hung Wai walked.

Love, Curt

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

205 replies
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  1. Curtis Narimatsu
    Curtis Narimatsu says:

    Our great 442nd RCT archivist, Shari Tamashiro [our MESSIAH of the 21st century]]‏

    Hi Curt,

    I was born in 1972 – I’m a rat.

    I got my BA in History (Native American, Frontier focus), Communications (Rhetorical Criticism) and a core in Japan Studies at Macalester College in MN. Got my MLIS in Library & Information Science from UHM.

    :) st

  2. Curtis Narimatsu
    Curtis Narimatsu says:

    Our 442nd battle-specific archivist Alvin Yoshitomi

    Hi Curt,

    My limited field of military knowledge is in the European Theater (1942 to 1946).

    My main focus is in the Italian Campaign and the Campaigns and Battles in France and Germany 1944 to 1945.

    Sorry I can’t give you any insight about the Pacific Theater or the Pre-war and wartime leadership of Japan (1930s to 1945).


  3. Curtis Narimatsu
    Curtis Narimatsu says:

    Wai A’ama [swift strong water] stream denotes the boundary between Pepe’ekeo Plantation and Onomea Plantation, per C. Brewer lands pundit John C. Cross [C. Brewer owned both plantations]. Amazingly, on the loft of deep chasm/gulch Wai A’ama, rests an old Japanese family grave plot with a pair of train track rails embedded in the grave closest to the huge gulch. So JC tells me, “Curt, you crazy or what, I ain’t gonna check out the grave embedded with rails!!” :-)

  4. Curtis Narimatsu
    Curtis Narimatsu says:

    “Across the Universe” has to be among vocalist John Lennon’s greatest songs, and May Pang among Lennon’s greatest loves. Pang reconciled Lennon w/McCartney & united Lennon with son Julian [from Cynthia]. Yoko Ono is not inspiring like May Pang. –Curt

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