Letter for Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Eight generations later, things are different

A recent article in The Garden Island commemorated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese immigrants. What has happened in the eight generations since their landing?

I belong to a collection of “seasoned” curmudgeons that meets weekly to engage in spirited dialogue about everything and nothing. For several years running, this “Thirsty Thursday” crew has undertaken the mindless task of counting Japanese surnames of graduating high school seniors on Kauai, as published. Each such surname counts as one, with hyphenated ones counting as one-half.

Disregarded are whether the senior looks Japanese, or our collective knowledge of their lineage. Only surnames. We started doing this because our fading memories of our own high school days indicated the Japanese had ethnic plurality, and we wanted to see what has changed in the three generations since we were in high school.

One of our members graduated from Waimea in 1963. His class graduated 170 seniors. He reports that 80 of them were “pure Japanese” and five more had Japanese surnames. A full 50 percent of his class. Compare that to this year’s findings. Kapaa: 15.5 out of 242; Kauai: 25 out of 239; Waimea: 9 out of 120; Island: 1 out of 34. Total 50.5 out of 639, or 7.9 percent.

Like other topics we discuss, we observe that things are different now. Neither better, nor worse, just different. So we drink another beer.

Nolan Ahn, Lihue

  1. Wally Roberts June 13, 2018 2:32 am Reply

    I trust the “Thirsty Thursday” group drinks Japanese beer.

  2. No_They_Didn't June 13, 2018 3:00 pm Reply

    Well, does this gala fall in this range? $200, $2,000, & $25,000 dollars. June 16, 2018. Hilton Hawaiian village. Honolulu. Waikiki. Fundraiser. Adult. Yokohama, 1868.

  3. No_They_Didn't June 13, 2018 3:34 pm Reply

    I’m not an expert on psychology, just you, insightful mind. If high school shapes a person minds to a base extent for which he or she can stand on its principles, then I hope my analysis of high school counts. There are three categories I feel students go through in high school that shapes his or her thoughts and ideas, well into adult life. These are,

    1. Sociable: they strive to be this guy.
    2. Athletics: they strive to be accepted. Prom king and queen.
    3. Intellectual: they strive to be smart, rich, or be Donald Trump.

    I think I made it clear why study demographics, people.

  4. No_They_Didn't June 13, 2018 4:08 pm Reply

    Because Danny Akaka, Hawaiian was unique. I thought he was a donut. Military? What are you?

  5. Charlie Chimknee June 14, 2018 7:22 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    While that is a dramatic change in Kaua’i demographics in the last 55 years, it is apparent that at least one culture on Kaua’i seriously respects its Right to Vote.

    We are curious to see when the vote will turn out an electoral change in the cultural demographics on Kaua’i, and then, when it will impact elections statewide.

    Kaua’i for sure sees every year an influx of Mainlanders and immigrating Filipinos who are becoming citizens and residents of Kaua’i.

    On the one hand one group, some of them, affording to become instant home owners, while many of the others becoming hard workers of multiple jobs, the ticket to home ownership by hui or singular effort.

    The American Dream by 2 opposite sides of the same coins.

    Will they then become involved at least at the local level in our elections…?



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