For the Hawaiian culture lover, a list of must-have collectibles books for their shelves that will be guaranteed shelf pleasers.
Guardian of the Sea: Jizo in Hawaii
By John R. K. Clark
Perhaps one reason books by former Deputy Fire Chief and one-time Sandy Beach lifeguard John Clark are so admired is, paradoxically, because he keeps himself out of them. Instead of interpreting history for us, Clark focuses on unearthing root source material to channel the story through those who actually experienced events. For his latest book, Clark interviewed over 300 people and fossicked through countless microfilm reels of Hawai`i’s English- and Japanese-language publications, to recount how the Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo came to guard Japanese fishermen and all islanders.
Life Behind Barbed Wire: The World War II Internment Memoirs of a Hawai’i Issei
By Yasutaro Soga
Throughout his nearly four-year internment, then editor of the Nippu Jiji Yasutaro Soga kept a daily record of what he saw, which after his release he used to write a captivating memoir. The first English translation of his story is unusual, for though one third of Japanese interned during World War II were issei, ineligible for citizenship, most accounts focus on Nisei, who were American citizens. In his typically fair and truthful way, Soga’s account provides a more complete portrait of this past period of American injustice.
Na Kua ‘Aina: Living Hawaiian Culture
By Davianna Pomaika`i McGregor
Unabashedly personal but also firmly academic, Davianna McGregor’s treatise on sustaining Native Hawaiian culture contends that its continuation depends upon a subsistence lifestyle that protects land and resources. Propelled by her profound realization upon a 1980’s trip to Kaho`olawe that she “was the typical single-minded urban Hawaiian academic, bent on getting where I wanted to go, but completely out of balance with the natural forces around me,” she has aimed this text and her general academic work towards perpetuation of the worldview and lifestyle of the kua`aina, whom she defines as “the keepers of Hawai`i’s sacred lands who are living Hawaiian culture.”
Loyal to the Land: The Legendary Parker Ranch, 1950-1970: Volume 2, The Senior Stewards
By Dr. Billy Bergin
The second volume of Bergin’s now classic documentation of Parker Ranch picks up where it left off, but limits its scope to twenty years of recent history instead of Volume One’s sweeping 1200 years. Focused on 1950-1970, Bergin illuminates the reigns of three senior stewards who shaped the ranch’s modern existence: Hartwell Carter, the son of A. W. Carter, credited with bringing the ranch into modernity and increasing its herd by 50 percent; Carter’s assistant, Dick Penhallow and his ambitious improvement goals; and Rally Greenwell’s growth initiatives infused with traditional values gleaned from his own family’s Kona ranching history.
Vaka Moana, Voyages of the Ancestors: The Discovery and Settlement of the Pacific
Edited by K. R. Howe
Much the same way crew members work together to sail a voyaging canoe, fourteen authors worked with Massey University professor and editor K. R. Howe to form this five-pound tome, a compilation of scholarly but accessible essays on the epic history of Pacific settlement. Swollen with 400 color and black and white illustrations, including beautiful photographs, artifacts, maps, and charts, each storyteller’s personalized prose conveys the most current knowledge about voyaging past and present.
Waikiki: A History of Forgetting & Remembering
Written by Andrea Feeser; Art and Design by Gaye Chan
Be prepared to have your expectations and assumptions challenged from the moment you pick up Chan and Feeser’s genre-defying book. The coffee table format and artful design masques its contentious underbelly, just as they argue Hawai`i’s tourism machine has done in the creation of a fictional Waikiki. Though the book’s composition is often beautiful, its meat is a dense academic dissertation that doggedly critiques the destruction of Waikiki by forces of capitalism and colonialism.
Aloha Niihau/ Oral Histories
Oral histories by Emalia Licayan, Virginia Nizo & Elama Kanahele
Rendered in the Ni`ihau dialect and in English, this compilation of oral histories by three Ni`ihau women from Niihau provide a window into ancient times and the Hawaiian perspective, while also preserving this relatively unchanged dialect.