Resource Center (Library)
The Resource Center seeks to serve the community by providing public access to a repository of resources about the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai’i. This helps to fulfill the mission of the Cultural Center “to be a vibrant resource, strengthening our diverse community by educating present and future generations in the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai’i”.
The reference collection consists of about 5,000 books in English and Japanese as well as thousands of photos, archival collections of manuscripts, oral history transcripts, The Hawai‘i Herald newspaper, pamphlets, and audiovisual materials. Use of the collection is limited to the Resource Center.
The rare materials collection consists of fragile valuable books, diaries and journals, and videotaped interviews with issei (first generation Japanese.) These materials are stored in a closed collection and usage will be supervised. Historically valuable items in the collection include the books and diaries of early Japanese immigrants, such as Dr. Igamori, and a fairly comprehensive collection of papers belonging to the Hawai‘i internee Otokichi Okazaki and his family during World War II.
Reference Assistance: The Resource Center is staffed by volunteers who assist users in locating information and provide telephone reference service. An online catalog can also be searched for needed material. Researchers must complete this Researcher Registration Form once every year.
Non-Commercial Translation Service: This service is provided for items such as personal correspondence, family registries (koseki tōhon), and immigrant cards. Note that we do not translate any documents related to commercial or legal matters.
Click here to download a Translation Service Agreement.
Click here to download a Translation Fees Chart.
The Resource Center has developed Cultural Connection kits for New Year’s, Girl’s and Boy’s Day. These kits contain activities for children and excellent bibliographies to help parents and teachers celebrate these occasions with their children and students. These kits are available for purchase in the Gift Shop.
How Can We Help You
Curious about the life and experiences of Japanese in Hawai‘i?
Browse through our extensive reference collection of books in English and Japanese; archival collections of manuscripts; periodicals (in particular, The Hawai‘i Herald); pamphlets and audio-visual materials.
Interested in personal accounts of the life and experiences of the Japanese immigrants in Hawai‘i?
Review our rare materials collection of diaries and journals; oral history transcripts and videotaped interviews of the Issei (first generation Japanese).
Prefer to look at photos documenting the Japanese in Hawai‘i experience?
View our extensive photo collection that includes, among others, photos of the first Japanese American businesses in Hawai‘i, plantation life, Japanese language schools, Hawai‘i’s World War II internees, special celebrations, and sports.
Have questions about Japanese and Japanese American traditions, such as festivals, birthdays and weddings?
Our volunteer staff will help answer any questions and provide assistance in identifying appropriate reference materials.
Seeking Japanese-to-English or English-to-Japanese translation services?
Bring your non-commercial items – personal correspondence, family registries (koseki tōhon) – to us. Our bilingual volunteers can, for a nominal fee, provide translation services.
Teachers: Interested in furthering your students’ knowledge of Hawai‘i’s Japanese and/or of the Japanese and Japanese American culture?
Meet with our experienced volunteers who can assist you by providing resources such as teacher’s guides, lesson plans and Cultural Connection kits.
Students: Writing a paper and/or working on a project?
Utilize our materials (which include primary sources) for your research.
Don’t know what to do with “stuff” that Grandpa, Grandma, Dad, Mom, Uncle, Aunty or others left with you?
Due to space limitations, please call and make an appointment about donating books, written documents, photos, audiotapes and other materials that document and/or relate to the Japanese American experience in Hawai‘i.
Looking for something to do – other than “work” or “play?”
Join us, as a volunteer, in operating the Resource Center. Utilize your knowledge and skills to perform a wide range of fulfilling assignments, such as data entry, collecting/cataloguing materials, customer assistance, translating, minor research, while learning about the Japanese American experience in Hawai‘i.