More on the Old Days

There are three topics in this post: (1) the great-grandparents that emigrated from Japan, (2) the house with a hoshidana roof, and (3) the donkey.

My Issei great-grandfather emigrated from Fukushima prefecture in Japan to Hawaii around 1900. In 1898 the United States annexed Hawaii as a territory. Prior to then and a little afterward, indentures were widely used to transport Japanese contract workers to Hawaii for plantation work. Uncle Harold (UH) thinks that my great-grandfather might have come to Pahoa as an indentured worker. At that time indentured workers in Pahoa were employed in the lumber mill or in the sugar cane fields. Hawaii was the last place in the US to abolish indentured servitude, which came with the Organic Act of 1900. Probably some time later, Great-Grandfather and the family moved from Pahoa to Kona.

I think these excerpts from give a good societal context:

At first, landowners and tenant farmers maintained a sharecropping relationship, with portions of the coffee crop owed to the landowner at the end of the year. Gradually, leasehold agreements were negotiated, creating independently operated farms and the paying of lease rents and taxes. The remote Kona district became a haven for Japanese immigrants disenchanted with life on the large sugar plantations. Kona offered the opportunity, with little capital required, to achieve financial and personal independence unattainable in Japan or on large plantations.

By 1910, nearly all the coffee land in Kona was being farmed by Issei (first generation Japanese immigrants) under tenant lease arrangements. Within thirty years of their immigration, Japanese pioneers and their Hawaii-born children were the predominant population in the Kona district. Second generation (Nisei) Japanese-Americans born on coffee farms continued to farm lands cleared and planted by their parents.

This house used to be on the parcel from which Bea’s Knees Farm was carved. This photo is from the 1990’s. The structure has since been demolished. The roof of the living area was a hoshidana, a drying platform. The metal roof above the hoshidana was on tracks and could be slid to the left, leaving the hoshidana with drying parchment exposed to the sun. Parchment was also stored in this house/building. The taller structure to the right was a kuriba (mill). There were two other hoshidanas near the other family kuriba that were just above-ground drying platforms, not part of a house. Aluminum panels that had to be hand-lifted covered those hoshidanas. A hoshidana cover on wheels requires more space/width if the cover isn’t on.

In my last post on the old days I mentioned that my uncle Harold had to take the family donkey to different grazing areas. These are some interesting articles about the Kona nightingale:

1) Coffee Times, “Burros and Beans”

2) Ke Ola magazine, “Saving the Nightingale: Four-Legged Coffee Farm Workers Now Unemployed and Endangered”

3) A baby donkey arrived at the Kona Historical Society in October 2018

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