Talk by local author Myra Sachiko Ikeda on her book, A Harvest of Hawai‘i Plantation Pidgin: The Japanese Way, May 12

Ikeda’s research for the book came from a project she worked on in college in the mid-1970s about Japanese language used when she was growing up in Hilo.

EVENT: Talk on Japanese pidgin in Hawai‘i
SPEAKER: Myra Sachiko Ikeda
DATE: Thursday, May 12, 2016.
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
PLACE: North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center, 45-539 Plumeria St. in Honoka‘a. The center is an outreach facility of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.


Cover of the book with the words "A Harvest of Hawaii Plantation Pidgin THe Japanese Way, Myra Sachiko Ikeda, Illustrations by Jeffery Kalehuakea DeCosta." The illustration is of sugar worker with bundle of cane up on his shoulder.The talk by author Myra Sachiko Ikeda is about her recently published book, A Harvest of Hawai‘i Plantation Pidgin: The Japanese Way. Born and raised in Hilo, Ikeda said pidgin was used in her interpersonal communication on a daily basis. Her initial research for this book came from a project she worked on in college in the mid-1970s about Japanese language used when she was growing up, and in particular, looking at the change in the language within the sugar plantation communities.

A Harvest of Hawaii Plantation Pidgin: The Japanese Way examines, from the perspective of language, the plantation experience of the issei and subsequent generations who came to Hawaii (Tengoku) to work in the sugar fields. Hilo-born Myra Sachiko Ikeda, shows how the Japanese language spoken by the first workers became influenced by the need to communicate with other workers, and how pidgin, the common plantation language that had developed earlier among the Chinese, Portuguese, and Hawaiians to understand each other, quickly integrated Japanese words.

Ikeda, sharing her personal story and motivation in tackling this project, includes important descriptions of plantation life along with discussion of camp names, children s games like Jan Ken Po, and Hanabata Days. She also shows that for workers living close together, socializing and sharing food at lunchtime, plantation camps came to have a great or even greater impact on identity than ethnic background and the important role that Hawaii Pidgin English played in the dynamics of local identity.

Ikeda’s work is particularly timely as living cultural reminders of the plantation era become fewer with sugar towns disappearing or transforming. A Harvest of Hawaii Plantation Pidgin is an important contribution to our understanding of plantation life and the Japanese experience in Hawaii.


For more information, contact Momi Naughton.

For disability accommodation, call 775-8890 (V) or 932-7002 (TTY) by May 5.