Pearl Harbor Voices

Credit Wikipedia Commons

75 years ago this week, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor and other targets on O‘ahu, leading the United States into World War Two and changing life in the islands forever. All this week, Hawai‘i Public Radio is airing remembrances of some of our neighbors who were on O‘ahu that day as well as others who have ties to the islands. You can hear these pieces on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and after they air you will be able to find them on our website.

noe tanigawa
noe tanigawa

“Go for Broke” was the motto of the 442 Regimental Combat Team.  It was a spirit that changed the minds of Americans as they watched ethnic Japanese fight and die for the United States, even while their relatives were stripped of possessions and thrown into camps.  Over forty years later, President Reagan signed legislation that admitted "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" caused the internment.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports on the legacy we all share from this experience.

Gallery - Kamehameha Schools
Gallery - Kamehameha Schools

Today we are wrapping up our coverage commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

All week you’ve heard stories about how that day and the war years that followed it changed life in Hawai‘i….and you’ve heard those stories from the people who lived through those experiences.

Some of those changes had to do with how people of different racial backgrounds interacted with each other.  In 1941, Pearl Johnson lived in O‘ahu’s Pauoa Valley…and she still lives there today.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

This week we’ve been marking the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack with a series of recollections from people who lived through it.  The days following the violence of December 7th brought further challenges.

For the nearly 40% of the population that was of Japanese descent, there was another concern that added to the uncertainty—worries about being taken away by authorities.  It was a topic our Morning Edition host Derrick Mālama talked about with his mother, Annie Shirabe Mālama.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

75 years ago today, Hawai‘i was still reeling from Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.  Life had already changed for local residents and it was going to change more—whether people lived in the city of Honolulu, on the plantations, or anywhere else in the territory.

Ray Sekiya was born in Kunia Camp, near Schofield Barracks.  He wrote down some of his memories about the immediate days after Pearl Harbor and the weeks that followed and he recently shared them with HPR.

NPS Archive
NPS Archive

This week we’ve been marking the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, in part by hearing the voices of many who lived through that day and the weeks and years that followed.

For residents of Hawai‘i, the attack marked a turning point.  Life changed in many ways—including the way people went about their daily activities.  Our Morning Edition host Derrick Mālama heard some details about that from his mother, Annie Shirabe Mālama.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

On December 8, 1941, fires still burned in the wreckage of the battleships that lay in the mud of Pearl Harbor while crews in small boats continued the gruesome work of recovering the dead. Hidden amid the smoke, many of the seeds of the eventual American victory. More from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The events of December 7th, 1941 were such a massive shock that some parts of the story are sometimes forgotten.  It’s often described as the bombing of Pearl Harbor—and that’s where the bulk of the casualties took place.

But before the ships came the planes.  The Japanese wanted to hit the capacity of US Forces to strike back by air.  And so half a dozen air bases around O‘ahu were strafed and bombed.

AP / US Navy
AP / US Navy

75 years ago, Japan attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The strike killed more than 2,300 people and propelled the United States into World War II. The anniversary brings back memories not just for those in the military but those who lived in Hawaii. Molly Solomon from Hawaii Public Radio brings us some of those voices.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

75 years ago, word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor spread unevenly across O‘ahu.  After Pearl Johnson heard the news, normal life ground to a halt.

And her family spent the rest of the day together at their home in Pauoa Valley.

We’ll have continuing coverage of today’s ceremonies and other voices of Pearl Harbor marking the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today changed life in the islands—and across the United States.  When Japanese planes were sighted in the skies over Pearl Harbor 75 years ago today, many people thought at first they were simply engaged in military exercises.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka

For Pearl Harbor survivors, the attack of December 7th 1941 was a shared experience, but each story is an individual one. For 94-year old Earl Smith, the day before the world would change featured baseball—as teams from different battleships played in a tournament he still remembers in vivid detail.

Face of the Enemy

Dec 6, 2016
United States War Department (United States National Archives) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
United States War Department (United States National Archives) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor seventy five years ago, thirty seven percent of Hawai‘i’s population was ethnically Japanese.  Honolulu hummed with Japanese run restaurants, sundry stores, hardware and grocery stores, everyone went to Japanese movies, and Japanese maids and gardeners worked in many wealthy homes.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports on how Japanese and others felt during the period.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

As we approach tomorrow’s 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, we are listening to memories and recollections of those who experienced that day in Hawaii.

Honolulu resident Louise Lanzilotti recently read from the recollections of her father, Judge Samuel King. On December 7th, 1941 he was a relatively new attorney, who learned of the attack from neighbors in Mānoa—who told him to turn on the radio.

We’ll have more “Pearl Harbor Voices” all this week on Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

John Henry Felix / Twitter
John Henry Felix / Twitter

As you’ve been hearing, this week marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

All week we’re going to be hearing some remembrances of neighbors who were on O‘ahu that day. As well as others who have ties to the islands.

We begin today with the memories of John Henry Felix…whose family lived in the Punchbowl area of Honolulu.

Later this week we’ll hear from people with memories not only of December 7th, 1941, but also the days and weeks and months that followed that changed Hawai‘i.

Wayne Yoshioka

The December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago resulted in 54 civilian casualties on O’ahu mostly caused by friendly fire.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.  

U.S. National Archives
U.S. National Archives

The bombing of Pearl Harbor was a turning point for Hawai‘i, but it was also the culmination of decades of militarization on O‘ahu.  At the same time, ethnic Japanese constituted forty percent of Hawai‘i’s population, a fact not lost on Washington, as Japanese armies spread across China and the Pacific.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Next Wednesday marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Memorial events are taking place all week, involving a number of organizations. We get more on that part of the story from Pacific Business News Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier.