Oct 192019

Raced to Death in the 1920's

Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30am
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

Join JCCH for a Book talk about "Raced to Death in the 1920s Hawaii: Injustice and Revenge in the Fukunaga Case" by author Jonathan Y. Okamura.

On September 18, 1928, Myles Yutaka Fukunaga kidnapped and brutally murdered ten-year-old George Gill Jamieson in Waikiki. Fukunaga, a nineteen-year-old nisei, or second-generation Japanese American, confessed to the crime. Within three weeks, authorities had convicted him and sentenced him to hang, despite questions about Fukunaga's sanity and a deeply flawed defense by his court-appointed attorneys.

Jonathan Y. Okamura argues that officials "raced" Fukunaga to death--first viewing the accused only as Japanese despite the law supposedly being colorblind, and then hurrying to satisfy the Haole (white) community's demand for revenge. Okamura sets the case against an analysis of the racial hierarchy that undergirded Hawai'ian society, which was dominated by Haoles who saw themselves most threatened by the islands' sizable Japanese American community.

The Fukunaga case and others like it in the 1920s reinforced Haole supremacy and maintained the racial boundary that separated Haoles from non-Haoles, particularly through racial injustice. As Okamura challenges the representation of Hawai`i as a racial paradise, he reveals the ways Haoles usurped the criminal justice system and reevaluates the tense history of anti-Japanese racism in Hawaii.

This lecture is free. Registration required on EVENTBRITE.