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Kauai School Teacher Yone Kagawa Miyake

Kauai school teacher Yone Kagawa Miyake (1903-1981) was born at Makaweli, the daughter of Japanese immigrants Saichi and Yoshi Kagawa, who’d arrived in Hawaii in 1895, with Saichi under contract to work at Pa‘auhau Sugar Plantation on the Big Island for three years.

Four years later, in 1899, the Kagawas left Pa‘auahu for Makaweli Valley, where Saichi took up vegetable-farming for a time before moving his family to Waimea Valley.

At Waimea, he continued farming, and supplemented his income by selling fish he’d net in the Waimea River at a time when the river had not yet been diverted upstream and was deeper than it is today.

Yone, her siblings and their mother also helped out financially by picking kiawe beans they’d sell to the Faye’s Waimea Dairy for use as cattle feed, filling about 15 large bags a morning at eight cents a bag.

One special night in May of 1910, when Yone was 6 years old, her father took her outside with all of his children to see Halley’s Comet lighting the darkened heavens above them, and they continued to watch it together every evening for a few days until it vanished from sight.

To get to Waimea School, Yone needed to walk across the Waimea River, and when school was pau, she would attend the nearby Japanese-language school before returning home in the late afternoon, crossing the river once again.

There came a day when the river had become too deep to cross on foot, but her brother, Sukeyoshi, saved her from missing school by having her climb aboard a raft he’d built from banana trunks tied together with hau strips, while he swam alongside, guiding it to the opposite riverbank.

Following her graduation from Waimea School in 1918, Yone attended the Territorial Normal and Training School in Honolulu, from which graduates earned teaching certificates as elementary school teachers, graduating in 1922.

She then taught school for 40 years in Kekaha and Waimea, retiring in 1966.

Yone Kagawa Miyake and her husband, Kauai businessman and legislator Noboru Miyake, had three children: Roy, Vee and Will Miyake.

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Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: https://bit.ly/2IfbxL9 and here https://bit.ly/2STw9gi Hank can be reached at hssgms@gmail.com

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