Source: Faces of America: "From Hawaii to Japan"
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To Hawaii from Japan Transcript (Document)
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: This is the photo of your grandfather that your relatives have kept in their home for almost a century. Look at that picture.
Kristi Yamaguchi: Wow, priceless. So this is my grandfather.
Gates: This is your grandfather… He mailed it to his mother from America.
Yamaguchi: She would have been proud, I think.
Gates: Handsome, he’s a handsome guy. And very proud.
Narration: Tatsuichi was the fourth oldest son, so he would never inherit the family farm. Still, it took great courage to leave Ureshino as one of that town’s very first emigrants. he had just turned twenty-one.
Yamaguchi: Tatsuichi Yamaguchi, farmer, permit issued November 11th, 1899.
Gates: Did you know that your grandfather had gone to Hawaii from Japan?
Yamaguchi: I did not. No, I didn’t. We always felt a connection to Hawaii so maybe that’s it.
Narration: Tatsuichi ended up at the Onomea sugar plantation on Hawaii’s big island. he earned fifteen dollars a month for working 12 hours a day, six days a week, planting, cutting and processing sugar cane. Tatsuichi and his fellow Japanese laborers worked under the lash of a white boss, or a “luna.”
Gates: One of the old work songs that the Japanese laborers used to sing pretty much says it all.
Yamaguchi: “Hawaii to, Kite mirya…”(laughs) My Japanese…!
Gates: We have the English down here.
Yamaguchi: You’re going to teach me some Japanese here.
Gates: I am. What that says is…
Yamaguchi: This translation, “Wonderful Hawaii, or so I heard. One look and it seems like Hell. The manager's the Devil and his luna are demons.”
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