By Curtis Narimatsu
Inimitable And Auspicious Heroes
1.Â Â WIA 442 F Co.’s Hoxie Nagami lived a long life, albeit disabled (1921-2000).Â Wataru Kohashi saved Hoxie after Hoxie got shot.Â Unarmed Wataru got 4Â German POWs to carry Hoxie on a stretcher out of Wataru/Hoxie’s foxholeÂ back to the base camp.Â Wataru was gentle to the POWs & they respected/Â trusted him.Â Wataru was told by the base camp M.D. that Hoxie was goingÂ to die from extensive wounds.Â But incredibly, Hoxie survived.Â Wataru bornÂ 1922 & Hoxie were boyhood pals.Â Hoxie’s brother was KIA [TakayamaÂ brothers died almost same time w/separate outfits/companies -- BobbyÂ Command wrote a greatÂ Veteran's Day tribute to themÂ a decade ago].Â 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!”Â about 5 times.Â They were shocked that comatose Hoxie “came alive.”Â Alas, Hoxie died unconscious within minutes of his “outburst.”Â WataruÂ is deeply affected to this day because when Wataru embraced HoxieÂ in their foxhole 55 yrs. before Hoxie’s death in yr. 2000, Wataru keptÂ repeating to semi-conscious Hoxie “I goin’ come get you, I goin’ comeÂ get”Â before Wataru left to summon his German POWs to get HoxieÂ to the medics/base camp.Â Â Fact truly is stranger than fiction.Â As youÂ know,Â Hoxie died before Yuki’sÂ upgrade to MoH.Â Yes, band of brothers code of honorable silence –Â platoon leader Jack Wakamatsu of LA asked Wataru to give up Wataru’sÂ DSC to KIA.Humility/devotion like youÂ cannot ever imagine!Â Â Metaphysical, really.Â Wataru says thatÂ the boys’ devotion to each other is surpassed only by a mother’sÂ love/sons’ love for okasan/mama.Â Amazing.Â Is this a cliche` warÂ story?Â Â Not if you were there in the foxhole.
2.Â Â Â Yes, addressee mailerÂ for KIA Kiyo Muranaga from 65 yrs.Â ago — notification of son’s death to/via internment camp administrator.Â Rhetorically/shikata ga nai [what can you do...?], so deeply sad thatÂ something’s not right here … (sigh), so sad, so sad.
3.Â Â Stanley Hara respectfully told Gov. Sam Wilder King in 1953,Â “YouÂ haven’t seen the last of me, Mr. Governor,” when King rejected farmÂ produce outfit headed by Stanley to ship island produce to MainlandÂ during winter months.Â King was for Big 5, not grassroot joes like Stan.Â Which is when Kazuhisa Abe had 30 yr. old Stan run for House [DemÂ Revolution 1954].Â Â Abe/Stan got big boost from Jack Hall’s ILWU –Â until hothead Eddie De Mello [Hilo dock clerk] wrongfully told membersÂ that Stan cozied up w/Big 5 via watered-down work comp law 1956.Â As Stan intones, politicsÂ are the art of compromise, & Gov. King vetoedÂ record # of Dem Bills, unequalled to date — so Stan/solons had toÂ get half a loaf instead of none.Â Faladoo/noisebox Eddie De MelloÂ was incapable of comprehending politics.Â When George Martin cameÂ along, the ILWU was in much better hands.Â Â Everyone respectedÂ George Martin.Â Stan credits Masato Doi/Vince Esposito for polishingÂ up Stan on legislative procedure, topped by Stan’s alter ego Abe.
4. Â Stan says that Abe galvanized Territory-wide [primary upgrade toÂ Manoa] enrichment of university role/function, while TommyÂ Sakakihara compelled expansion of UH-Hilo.Â Abe unrelentinglyÂ told Manoa’s boss Holmes to updraft UH’s calibre/fiscal needs.Â Gerald De Mello should’ve enshrined Stan into UH-Hilo’s hall of honor/Â fame at the outset [I exhorted Gerald to do so, which Gerald did long after Gerald’sÂ cronies were installed.Â Why not create an “inspiration/molder” categoryÂ to enshrine non-UH Hilo alumni like Scrub Tanaka/Tommy Sakakihara?Â Stan Hara’s dreamÂ has come true — what Stan reached for was aÂ 5,000 Arts/Sciences enrollment w/various advanced degree programs,Â on 500 acres of land.Â Stan got the South Pacific/Micronesian influx in the 1970s.Â Tremendous vision/pragmatism.Â Â Stan says that Jack Burns pushedÂ for a UH satellite Waimea campus focused on astronomy/marineÂ biotech.Â I know personally that Scrub Tanaka supported Burns inÂ such outreach/branch, w/core function at UH-Hilo in Hilo.Â ScrubÂ catalyzed land expansion for UH-Hilo to provide affordable housingÂ for non-resident locals from Kona/Ka`u/Kohala/Hamakua/Puna.
5.Â Â Stan born 1923 tried to buy Naniloa Hotel lease w/2 others butÂ financing fell thru, which is when Kazuhisa Abe told Stan to buyÂ commercial property [such as Stan's current Keawe St. blockÂ across the old Food Fair Supermarket b/n Mamo/Ponahawai Sts.].Â Stan even visualized redeveloping Keawe St. downtown fromÂ Ponahawai St. up to Haili St., where a pedestrian mall wouldÂ connect up w/developer Tai On Chock’s projects fromÂ Waianuenue Ave. down to Haili St.Â Â Grand designs/creativeÂ plans stymied by recession/high interest rates/counter-Â culture protest [old town atmosphere].Â Stan disputes ScrubÂ Tanaka’s disapproval of Stan’s real estate investments.Â StanÂ says that Stan was ever afraid to accept a complimentary cupÂ of coffee from a patron/voter/business owner, which wouldÂ make Stan owe an obligation to such donor.Â It wasn’t untilÂ Kaz Abe told Stan to loosen up & be more sociable thatÂ Stan accepted next-to-nothing in money value gratuity.Â Stan applauds Scrub for Scrub’s purity/devotion to cleanÂ government, but Stan says that Stan tried to make a livingÂ to support his family, & should not be condemned for that,Â or for Orchidland [affordable land ownership].Â Â Â Thanks, Curtis
Enemy Aliens Even Though U.S. Citizens
Even patriot Futoshi Frank Arakawa (1891-1977), born here/Nisei, was classified asÂ enemy alien WWII.Â Frank did stirring President’s Day tribute pre-WWI, was WWIÂ doughboy/officer, yet was interned WWII.Â Frank was Stanford U grad/civil engineer, designed TR Saiki’s Keaukaha home [TR also interned, though TR wasÂ alien].Â Â About Hung Wai Ching 1905-2002, Hung Wai gets the U.S. Customs plumÂ job for former FBI chief Bob Shivers, then exclaims to acolyte Ted Tsukiyama bornÂ 1920, “You know, I wanted that Customs job myself!Â As Collector of Customs [comesÂ up close to Ted & jabs Ted w/Hung Wai's elbow] I could control the opium trade &Â become a millionaire!!”Â Â Hung Wai actually did become a millionaire [real estateÂ developments], only to give away his treasures to uplift the common folk.Â AÂ tight-fist he was not!!Â Amazingly, Hung Wai never used his immense influenceÂ w/the War Dept./FDR & Eleanor/high-placed contacts w/military-industrial complexÂ to gain any benefit or profit for himself.Â Unlike today’s Wall St. moguls, Hung WaiÂ never looted/pillaged others.Â He did the opposite — paid his own money to getÂ boys/girls higher education — which is why he was called the gentle Chinaman.Â Even his acolyte, radical Koji Ariyoshi 1914-1976, kissed the ground where HungÂ Wai walked.
(Curtis Narimatsu isÂ a lifelong resident of Hilo who writes about the forgotten past such as the oldÂ plantation days & untold heroes.)