Professor Takaki, professor, UC-Berkeley, Questions about Hawaii Plantation Society

Professor Takaki, Questions about Hawaii Plantation Society
Interview by Robynn Takayama
1 Disc, 41 Tracks – 63:36

TRACK 1 – 0:04

TRACK 2 – 0:12

ROBYNN: How does plantation society in Hawaii differ from others?

TRACK 3 – 0:16

TAKAKI: In Hawaii you had a diversity of workers from all over the world. Not just Asia, particularly China, then Japan, the Philippines, Korea.

TRACK 4 – 0:36

On other plantations, say in the West Indies, you don’t have that kind of diversity. So that makes Hawaii unique in terms of plantation societies. And that was the basis for Hawaii becoming such a multicultural society.

ROBYNN: Other ways?

TRACK 5 – 1:50

TAKAKI: I think in Hawaii because of the crisscrossing of paths of workers from all around the world, you find them living together, you also find the sharing of cultures. They shared their holidays, like Risal day, the obon festival, Chinese New Year, they even had a Christmas tree there with the German immigrants working in Hawaii. and I think that made Hawaii a unique multicultural society. What else about Hawaii that would be unique? I think in Hawaii you had strikes that crossed ethnic lines. I’m thinking about the 1920 strike when Filipino and Japanese workers went out on strikes together. They began on separate unions, Japanese laborers association, the Filipino laborers association, but then they came together in unity, in strike. And in the action of the strike they gave themselves a new name for their union: the Hawaii Laborer’s Association. So they had reinvented themselves. They were no longer just Japanese or Filipinos, they were now Hawaiian workers.

TRACK 6 – 4:23

TAKAKI: It’s warm…

ROBYNN: Ethnicities of camps

TAKAKI: The plantation setup was like a pyramid. You had the plantation master’s home on the top of the mountain and then you had the Portuguese lunas and their cabins, and then you had the Japanese workers and below the Japanese workers you had the Filipino camps. And that pyramid emblematized the hierarchical structure of the plantation. Hawaii’s diversity didn’t just happen. It was diversity by design. The planters wanted to bring in workers from all over the world in order to pit them against each other, especially workers from Asia. and so the camps represented this coming of different workers from different countries and so first you had the Chinese camp and then the Japanese camp and then the Filipino camp, but the separation of the camps also reinforced this separation of workers from different nations. And the pitting of the workers against each other – I’ve done research in the archives of the Hawaii planters’ association and I’ve come across memos where planters stated explicitly that they wanted to bring in so many Japanese and so many Filipinos in order to pit them against each other and drive the wages downward. The Japanese initially, well, not the Japanese initially, first really the Hawaiians and then the Chinese, but after the Chinese Exclusion Act Hawaii turned, when Hawaii became part of the US Hawaii turned to Japan for its labor supply and by 1905 Japanese workers represented 70% of the entire plantation workforce, and in 1909 they went out on strike. And it was an all-Japanese strike and this strike was fueled by Japanese nationalism. They saw themselves as Japanese and at that time we had what was called blood unionism. In order to belong to the union, you had to be Japanese, you had to have Japanese blood. The planters broke that strike and then they looked elsewhere for another source of labor and they turned to the Philippines. Asian labor had been restricted because of when the Chinese Exclusion Act and then the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907, but the Philippines had become a territory of the US, so there was access to Filipino labor. And so after the 1909 strike, planters brought in waves of Filipino workers of that by 1920, Filipinos constituted 20% of the workforce and Japanese 40%. And so the planters had an ideal workforce from their point of view, where they could pit workers of different nationalities, in this case Filipinos and Japanese, against each other.

TRACK 7 – 4:07

ROBYNN: Given that after 1909 the Filipinos were brought in, the Japanese must have recognized the issue, what was the response?

TAKAKI: The initial response was competition with the Filipino workers, but I think something else had happened within the Japanese plantation community. many of them were having children by 1920 and many of them were thinking about staying in Hawaii because they had children born in Hawaii and Hawaii had become their home. So they had to re-think their relationship to the land, and also then to their competition, the Filipinos. And I think this opened the way for them to unite with the Filipinos in their common struggle. Not only were they having children in Hawaii, they also were becoming American. I saw a photograph of plantation workers on Strike and they were having a mass demonstration in Ala Park in downtown Honolulu. It was a huge, mass demonstration, just a sea of faces. But with this crowd you also saw the American flag. You saw many American flags. They saw themselves as Americans now. And you saw children who were American citizens by birth even though their parents could not become citizens, because citizenship was reserved for whites only. But what stood out for me was also a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. They knew about Lincoln as the Great Emancipator, and Lincoln who had given the famous Gettysburg Address. Maybe they themselves hadn’t heard the Gettysburg Address but their children had in school, and they realized that this country was founded, dedicated to use Lincoln’s language, to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” So when they went out on strike in 1920, joining with the Filipinos, they were saying we’re Americans too and we should have decent wages because this is now our home.

ROBYNN: Don’t make noise. When did different ethnicities work together?

TAKAKI: They were separated but they were also integrated. They worked in integrated gangs – not only Filipinos but Koreans and Chinese and some Hawaiians and this is why you have the emergence of a common language, Pidgin English, so that the managers could bark out commands in English to a multi-lingual work force and the work force would be able to understand them. So not all of the gangs were segregated. Many of them were integrated gangs.

TRACK 8 – 2:57

ROBYNN: How did holidays work w/ integration?

TAKAKI: Even though the camps were separated, they came together for the Obon festivals, for example. It wasn’t just Japanese at these festivals. And with Risal Day, the Japanese workers knew about Risal Day too. So festivals and holidays were an important movement of sharing different cultures and different ethnicities. And so in the camps these workers were reinventing themselves. Ethnicity is not something that is just static. You’re not just Japanese or Filipino. In the interaction with other Asian Americans you become Asian Americans. And that’s what was happening to Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and Chinese workers on the plantations of Hawaii.

ROBYNN: More about inventing themselves.

TAKAKI: maybe I said re-inventing themselves. Well, at first the Japanese thought of themselves as Japanese. And then when they had children here they were saying wait a minute, I’m not just Japanese now, I’m developing roots in Hawaii and Hawaii is part of the US, I’m an American. And then through the sharing of their holidays and the development of a common language, they said oh, I’m also a worker, that’s important. I’m not just a Japanese worker, I’m a worker. In Hawaii. and so you have this re-invention process going on in the thinking of Japanese immigrants and also Filipino immigrants too. With Filipino immigrants to Hawaii, they brought with them a consciousness that they were already Americans, because they came from a territory of the US. But in Hawaii, they also began to realize that as Americans they were still discriminated against. They were distinctive because of the color of their skin, and they were also workers, exploited workers. So Filipinos began to develop a class-consciousness sin Hawaii which they did not have in the Philippines.

TRACK 9 – 0:02
TRACK 10 – 0:58

ROBYNN: Camps into communities.

TAKAKI: At first the camps were clusters of shabby buildings, shabby cabins, but then they began to give their homes a feeling of the old country. The Japanese for example would build furos and they would pub bonsais aground their cabins. And they began to see Hawaii as their home, a permanent settlement. And also they began to set up stores in the plantations and these were Japanese-owned stores and they began to supply food to themselves. And Hawaii became like little Japan towns on the plantations.

TRACK 11 – 0:49

ROBYNN: Describe living conditions.

TAKAKI: First I said they were dilapidated and they were slum-like. But then the planters felt pressures from the workers to improve the living conditions in the camps, because of the strikes for example. And so the planters were making concessions, but they thought that it would help to control that workforce to improve the camp and living conditions so that workers would not be as dissatisfied.

TRACK 12 – 5:37

ROBYNN: Bad/good.

TAKAKI: The camps became better, especially after the 1909 strike and the 1920 strike. In the beginning, they didn’t even have running water, for example. I think by the 1920s the camps had running water. Also, better cabins were built in the 1920s so I would say that by the 1920s you had pretty good camps, but then even there it varies from plantation to plantation. It depends on who was the plantation manager.

ROBYNN: Different kinds of control over the workers’ home lives.

TAKAKI: For the workday, the planters used the clock as a way to discipline and punish and control the work force. At five AM there was the plantation siren that blasted the workers and woke them up. And this was a way of using the clock as a way to get your workforce to work. And then at four o’clock there would be another siren, and that was the message that workers were finished working, that was pau hana time. Finished working. So the clock was one method. Another method of disciplining and punishing the workforce was to pit members of different nationalities against each other and to say who can outperform who. Who can cut more cane? A third method was to assign workers a certain portion of the field and then to contract with these workers, saying you have to cultivate and harvest this field within three months, so the workers had to do it within that period of time, or else get docked on their pay. Another method was to promote the migration of women, especially from Japan. I came across memos from plantation managers saying we need more Japanese women. Because these Japanese were contract laborers, they were assigned to a specific plantation for a number of years. And you had contract workers running away, breaking the contract, and so the planters thought, well one way to reduce this impulse to run away is to tie the workers down with wives and children. So you have now the planters systematically bringing more women over. And after the Gentleman’s Agreement they promoted the picture bride system so that was another way to control the workforce, to make them workers with families.

ROBYNN: What about in off-work hours?

TAKAKI: In the off-work hours, especially after the strikes of 1909 and 1920, the planters set up recreational facilities like baseball fields, and again that was designed to control this workforce. To make them a happier workforce, so that they would be playing baseball rather than organizing strikes. But I think the plantations exercised what would be called ‘Paternalism,’ that was their method of controlling workers, by having a paternalistic overview and control over their workers.

ROBYNN: Expand?

TAKAKI: Paternalism means you’re parental, so these are the parents who are like taking care of their children. So what this does is it tries to keep the workforce adolescent.

ROBYNN: what does that reflect about the planters’ view?

TAKAKI: It represents a business view of their workers. Paternalism is good business. But also it represents a racial hierarchy. White over Asian workers. And so it’s part of a worldview of America as white and then workers of color as children.

ROBYNN: You mentioned other forms of control before paternalism.

TRACK 13 – 0:10

TAKAKI: You had whippings, but I don’t think that they were that widespread.

TRACK 14 – 0:43

ROBYNN: I’m thinking not allowing gambling or making them go to church.

TAKAKI: I don’t know if they made them go to church. Church was important to the Koreans for example, and with the Japanese they had their Buddhist temples. But the planters did set up, make land available for temples and for churches, but again that was part of paternalism. To feel that this represents paternal responsibility for children.

TRACK 15 – 0:09
TRACK 16 – 0:03
TRACK 17 – 0:27

ROBYNN: Was there racial or ethnic tension between established immigrants and new arrivals?

TAKAKI: Oh yes, there must have been. Especially as new arrivals came from different nations. There were tensions between the Japanese and Koreans, for example. They brought old world hatreds to the new world here.

TRACK 18 – 0:18

ROBYNN: How did that resolve?

TAKAKI: The Korean workforce was not very large because Korean workers began coming around 1903, but then

TRACK 19 – 2:16

immigration from Korea was stopped by 1907 because Korea was part of Japan and so Koreans coming over here had to come over here, meaning Hawaii, with Japanese passports. And Japan simply stopped issuing passports to Koreans to go to Hawaii because the Japanese government wanted to protect its Japanese workers in Hawaii. but then after the Gentleman’s Agreement the US cut off immigration from Japan and that was in 1908.

ROBYNN: why did workers desert?

TAKAKI: They felt that they were being exploited and paid low wages and they thought they could do better in Honolulu where they could set up stores and better in California, so they had a five-year contract but they broke the contract and ran away.

ROBYNN: Other forms of resistance.

TAKAKI: There was what can be called day-to-day resistance. Like the five am whistle would blast, but there were workers that didn’t get up. They just stayed in bed. And there were workers who said I’m sick today, I can’t go to work today. They would fake illnesses. Workers would have slowdowns in the fields. They just wouldn’t cut as much cane as the planters and their managers wanted them to do. day-to-day resistance.

TRACK 20 – 0:21

ROBYNN: What were the repercussions?

TRACK 21 – 0:42

There are some funny stories about Japanese women- they were also in the cane-cutting fields too. They would hide in the fields and smoke, so the manager would know where the women were. So that happens today too in the workforce where workers just take breaks without the foreman seeing them or they’ll sit in front of their computer as if they’re working, but they’re playing computer games.

TRACK 22 – 0:03
TRACK 23 – 0:58

ROBYNN: Sports. Talk about camp competition.

TAKAKI: I think it was mainly different camps. I don’t think they were moving from plantation to plantation to play. I might be wrong. But baseball became big on the plantations, especially for Japanese workers. And when you think about it, that was part of their Americanization – they were playing an American sport and they loved it. And this reinforced I think an identity of themselves as Americans – they were reinventing themselves. But that reinvention made them more discontent. Well, if we’re Americans, we should be paid American wages.

TRACK 24 – 2:37

ROBYNN: Can we move to Japan and talk about push factors during Meji Restoration? Re: picture brides.

TAKAKI: Well, the Meji Restoration was a very significant event in Japanese history. Japan was watching what was happening in China, which was being carved out by the European colonial powers, and Japan was afraid that that would happen to itself, and so with the Meji restoration Japan embarked on a path of militarization and modernization. And how did Japan pay for this response? It taxed the farmers, especially. And so that created factors of push. Many of those who went to Hawaii to work as plantation workers were farmers in Japan. The Meji Restoration also emphasized the importance of education, and this education included English. Japanese students were learning English and included history of the world, including America. And so Japanese female students were learning English and learning about the world and they became very curious about what it must be like in the US. So that inspired them to think about migrating and one way to get to Hawaii was to become a picture bride. So there were Japanese women who became picture brides not because they wanted to get married, but because they wanted to get to Hawaii and then to California. So I think many of them were disappointed in their marriage. But nevertheless, they got to a promised land.

ROBYNN: what were people’s impressions of Hawaii or America in Japan at that time?

TRACK 25 – 0:19

TAKAKI: hard to say. But I think they got the propaganda that Hawaii’s a paradise, it’s a great place, and America is a land of great dreams. And economic opportunities.

TRACK 26 – 0:40

For the women, Hawaii represented an opportunity for employment.

ROBYNN: So the women in Meji Japan were workers.

TAKAKI: They were workers. The Meji economy, as it industrialized, had a workforce that was about 60% women. They were in the mines, they were in the factories.

TRACK 27 – 2:01

ROBYNN: Talk about pyramid structure in labor force. Socially. Role of the luna.

TAKAKI: The lunas were Portuguese. And then the Japanese were the workers and Filipinos were the workers and the managers were all white. So you have a hierarchy where you have the Anglo-American managers and the Portuguese supervisors and then the Japanese workers. After the 1909 strike you find Japanese workers becoming lunas too but the structure still was one of white over non-white. Or Asian. In Milton Moriama in his book, novel, “All I’m Asking for Is My Body,” has an illustration of this hierarchy. He said on the top of the hill you have the manager’s home. Below the manager’s home you have the nicer-looking homes of the Portuguese lunas. And then you have the homes of the Japanese workers and then far in the bottom you have the shabby homes of the Filipinos. He said you have a sewage system that runs from the manager’s home all the way down to the Filipino camp and below, and he said so you have this shit system showing this hierarchy from white to Filipino.

TRACK 28 – 4:00

ROBYNN: That’s very…

TAKAKI: Graphic.

ROBYNN: You brought up the 1909 strike many times. Talk about significance.

TAKAKI: I think by 1909 these Japanese immigrant workers began to understand that they were in Hawaii to stay. They were having families at this point. So they demanded higher wages, since they had families to support. But since they represented 70% of the workforce they organized their unions around a Japanese identity. So at their strike demonstrations they would say “Banzai, banzai, banzai,” and they would salute themselves as people of Japan. But I think 1909 was also a turning point because it followed the Gentleman’s Agreement. There would be no further immigration from Japan. So these workers knew they weren’t going back to Japan temporarily because then they couldn’t go back to Hawaii. so I think this 1909 strike reflected this new consciousness that we are people of Hawaii now. But then the planters brought in the Filipinos so they had to think about well, what does it mean to be members of a class? It means to unite with Filipinos, with people who are not Japanese.

ROBYNN: Anything else about plantation life?

TAKAKI: We need to talk about the 1946 strike. Because the 1920 strike was not successful. The planters were able to break that strike. But after they broke the strike they introduced reforms. They did increase wages, they did improve housing conditions. In 1946, after WWII, the planters faced a different formidable opposition. This was anew union, the ILWU, that was organized by union leaders from California who went to Hawaii to organize the plantation workers. And what is amazing about the ILWU is how they made sure it was an integrated leadership on the plantations. They practiced what would be called Affirmative Action. Because the Japanese were still in leadership of the unions on Hawaii but the ILWU said no, you can have only so many Japanese leaders. You also have to have Filipino leaders. And I can remember seeing elections on plantations where the election results would come in for the union officers and the ILWU would say no, too many Japanese here, you have to put in some Filipino names. But it was that kind of affirmative action that created that kind of united front that made possible the victory of the ILWU in the 1946 strike. That strike gave workers a tremendous increase in wages and gave them more respect, but it also led the

TRACK 29 – 0:59

plantation corporations, because they were corporations, like Castle & Cook, Alexander & Baldwin, to retreat from cane production and to invest in, to diversify their investments, so they became international corporations, with investments in Honduras, in Guatemala, in Thailand. So that 1946 strike led to a tremendous economic change in Hawaii where sugar industry would decline and the tourist industry would rise. And the tourist industry was funded by the corporations that had their beginnings in sugar production.

TRACK 30 – 3:13

ROBYNN: Talk about Pearl Harbor. Unique Japanese experience in Hawaii.

TAKAKI: The Japanese on the west coast. The Japanese-Americans on the west coast were interned and 120 of them were placed in concentration camps. And two thirds of them were citizens by birth. In Hawaii, where you had a Japanese population that exceeded the Japanese population on the mainland, the Japanese were not interned. And why is it that Japanese in Hawaii were not interned? Well, there are many reasons. One is that they had a responsible news media. The media didn’t respond the way the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times behaved, where these newspapers caricatured, pictured Japanese immigrants as spies and as threats to security. In Hawaii, the newspapers there said don’t spread a rumor, unless you know it’s a fact. But the main reason why the Japanese Americans in Hawaii were not interned is that we had a military governor, General Delos Emans. And Emans made a public statement right after Pearl Harbor – he said we will not intern Japanese Americans, immigrants and American-born, in Hawaii because that’s no the American way. We have a constitution to respect and the constitution guarantees all of us equal protection of the law. So Emans behaved very differently from the general of the west coast, General John DeWitt, who said a Jap is a Jap is a Jap. In other words, these Japanese inherit loyalty to the emperor. There was a third reason why the Japanese in Hawaii were not interned. They constituted a formidable portion of the workforce. They were one-third of all factory workers. Not factory workers, but cane workers. So the plantations didn’t want these Japanese, or couldn’t afford to have these Japanese interned or taken away from them. But also Pearl Harbor had a sizeable Japanese workforce and in order to rebuild Pearl Harbor General Delos Emans knew that he had to keep the Japanese workers there in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor.

ROBYNN: Comparing Pearl Harbor and 9/11. what do you think government action responses say about America’s acceptance of non-white immigrants.

TAKAKI: With Pearl Harbor and 9/11,

TRACK 31 – 1:54

the victims, the Japanese who were interned and the Muslim immigrants who are detained, have been denied their right to due process of law. In the case of Pearl Harbor the Japanese Americans were identified as the enemy because of their race. German-Americans and Italian-Americans were not interned on a mass basis. Some of them, many of them were detained, but you don’t have the total evacuation of the German and Italian populations. Of course that would be logistically very difficult. But nevertheless it happened to Japanese-Americans because of their race. In the case of the detention of Muslims, they are being detained because of their nationality, but still their nationality means that they all still have a different complexion too, so it’s difficult to make a distinction between nationality and race. In the case of Muslims however there’s no consideration by the government to detain all Muslims, because you’re talking about six million of them, but nevertheless you do have thousands of Muslims who have been detained and are still in prison and have not been charged with a crime.

TRACK 32 – 0:47

You also have, or had, after Pearl Harbor, hate crimes. Japanese Americans were attacked, they were beaten up, their homes were burned. And after 9/11 you also have the explosion of hate crimes. In Arizona, a Sikh who was wearing a turban and who was the owner of a gasoline station was shot to death by an American who said I’m a patriot all the way. So there are parallels between Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

TRACK 33 – 1:03

I wish we would remember what happened in Hawaii where we had a military governor who remembered that this is America and America has a constitution to respect and enforce the way we treat our citizens and non-citizens in the United States of America.

ROBYNN: That’s a unique perspective under wartime conditions.

TAKAKI: But that’s the perspective we need. Because why are we going to war? To protect this nation and what this nation stands for. And what does this nation stand for? The Declaration of Independence, which acknowledges that equality is a self-evident truth. And it stands for the constitution.

TRACK 34 – 0:05
TRACK 35 – 2:14

ROBYNN: You talked about the ideal of America being white. What do you think race-based actions reflect?

TAKAKI: Oh, they reflect what can be called the “master Narrative” of American history. It’s the powerful, pervasive, but mistaken story that this country was settled by European immigrants and that Americans are white or European in ancestry. Where does this master narrative come from? It comes from our history books. But it also comes from our media. Just recently PBS aired a program on the makers of America and almost all of the makers of America were white men. Charles Crocker was featured in this miniseries but not the Chinese workers who built that transcontinental railroad and were exploited by Charles Crocker. So there is this master narrative being presented by our textbooks and by the media but also by our political leaders. Take for example President Bush. He said that this war against terrorism is a crusade. Well, right there, crusade, what does that mean? It means white and European Christian. And of course Bush did backtrack and did apologize to the Muslim community. but the word was already out there. But it gets hidden also in other languages. Of the Bush Administration. When he says hunt them down, smoke them out, wanted dead or alive, this is the language of the frontier. And what was the frontier? The frontier was conquest over the native peoples of this continent.

TRACK 36 – 0:22

ROBYNN: Other observations about comparisons post 9/11 and Pearl Harbor?

TRACK 37 – 0:06

What does it say bout how we view immigrants?

TRACK 38 – 0:13

TAKAKI: I can give a complicated answer. When you think about Pearl Harbor, you think that the United States was attacked by Japan.

TRACK 39 – 1:49

But the fact is this: before Pearl harbor, Japan and the US were trying to avoid war with each other. Japan did not want to enter a war against a super economy and a super military. The US did not want to enter into a war with Japan because it was focused on the Nazi threat in Europe. So Roosevelt said look, we don’t want a war with Japan. In fact his military said we can’t fight a two-ocean war, war in the Atlantic and war in the Pacific. So Roosevelt was trying to avoid a war with Japan militarily. Japan also wanted to avoid a war with the United States because it was importing 80% of its oil from the US. It needed American oil to fuel its war machinery in China. But Roosevelt sent Japan warnings to stay out of French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies. He was protecting the Dutch empire and the French empire in Asia. And also the British empire in Singapore and Malaysia. And so in order to put some pressure on Japan he issued an embargo of oil against Japan. That embargo, however, had loopholes in it. American companies could re-apply for licenses to ship oil to Japan so long as it did not ship aviation oil.

TRACK 40 – 0:04

The commerce administration

TRACK 41 – 12:48

misread the embargo and thought it was a total embargo, it did not see that loophole, and so it imposed an embargo of oil, all oil against Japan. And so Japan, the Japanese military, thought well, we need another source of oil. So they decided to strike south into the Dutch east Indies, where there were oil fields. So that led them into conflicts with the US, because the US had, was a power in Asia. the Philippines was an Asian colony. And that forced Japan to attack Pearl Harbor. So what you have in Pearl Harbor is a site for the clashing of empires, the Dutch, British, French and US empires in Asia. now, with 9/11, you also have the clashing of empires too. What’s 9/11 all about? It’s about oil and the American empire in the oil producing regions of the world. and where are these oil producing regions located? They’re located mostly in Muslim nations. So when you think of 9/11 you can think about the empire of oil you can think about the empire of oil, and when you think about December 7th you can think about the empires colliding in the Pacific. But how many historians, or how many newspapers or how many editors or how many newscasters would point this out? None of them as far as I could see. Makes you think about empires. Hawaii was part of the empire too. Cane production, when did it start? It started in 1832 when an American, a white American, named William Hooper went to Hawaii and he was there working for a company and the company assigned him to go to Kauai for sugar production. So he cultivated 25 acres of cane and began to export cane sugar where? To the US. Hawaii at that time was an independent nation. And Hooper described his first plantation as the entering wedge of America. That this first plantation would open then the way to the development of agriculture. US-dominated agriculture in Hawaii. and indeed that’s what happened. Because that led to the great Mahele in 1846, where the Hawaiian sovereignties were persuaded to privatize lands in Hawaii and those lands were purchased and granted to those missionary families. And these missionary families then used these lands to develop sugar production. so Hawaii became part of an American economic empire. You talk about globalization today. Well, already Hawaii was part of the American global economy. Investments were made by Americans in Hawaii and sugar was produced in Hawaii and then shipped to California. C&H, where do you get C&H? it’s California and Hawaii. the raw sugar was transported to the refineries right here in California and then crystallized into sugar. So when you think about Hawaii you think about empire.

ROBYNN: US interest in Pearl Harbor.

TAKAKI: You’re talking about the military base itself? That came with annexation. The US navy would be guaranteed ownership of this harbor, this natural harbor, and that became a primary naval base for the US. The US needed Hawaii as a naval base. Why? Because it also needed Manila as a naval base. And the roots of this go back to the 19th century where sailing vessels were converted from sail-driven energy to steam-driven energy, so you have the introduction of steamboats in the 19th century. And where does steam get its power? It gets its power from coal. So these ships, the new navy of the late 19th century, needed coaling stations. In order to have power in Asia. and this led then the US to have a war against Spain. 1898, the Spanish-American war. And this war against Spain had to have an agenda. It was to conquer the Philippines, which was a Spanish colony, so that we could have a harbor, a coaling station in the Philippines. Hawaii also became important strategically as a coaling station and that’s why Pearl Harbor had to become part of US navy.

ROBYNN: I’m good.

TAKAKI: Oh one hour.