The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: A Young Family’s Attitudes About Growing Up Half-Japanese After World War II
HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor “Paradise of the Pacific,” which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes this the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at February 1961.
Paradise continues its series on racial attitudes in the Islands with a profile of two Irish Japanese American brothers, ages 5 and 10. The younger brother, Sean Matsuo Casey, doesn’t want to be half Japanese because of the association with Pearl Harbor and being on the “losing team,” yet he and brother Leo Brian Casey “can be heard making derisive remarks about ‘those darn haoles,’ forgetting, of course, that they themselves are one-half the haole they’re deriding.”
Their mother is often mistaken for the maid, but Paradise says that “Most of the hard-core racial prejudices which once existed in Hawaii have been dissipated by the changing economic and social patterns which emerged in post-World War II years.” However, “Hawaii is often glowingly and mistakenly depicted as racial utopia.” Paradise wonders what new prejudices will be “developed to encompass the thousands of steadily increasing multi-racial Islanders” in generations to come.
Today, Hawai‘i has the most multiracial residents of any state, with more than 24% of the population identifying as two or more races. (In Alaska, the state with the second-most multiracial residents, the rate is 7.5%.)
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