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Updated: May 1, 2022

The historic record often highlights elected officials or names deemed famous by various media, neglecting those actually responsible. It rarely features the working people who helped change Hawai‘i’s social order.

Reflecting on Hawai‘i’s labor history, the workers who challenged and ended the oligarchy were known far and wide by their nicknames, like AQ, Sleepy, Pinhead, Mustard, Cotton, and Fat. There was a girl named Butch and a Guy named Shirley!

At the 1983 Pu‘unene Reunion, “Mustard” Murayama explains how he got his nickname and then reads a list of names attending the reunion. ‘Ola‘a Plantation’s “Cotton” Fujioka elaborates on the theme of nicknames, and ‘Ola‘a worker “Fat” Nagata, adds his story and tells how “Butch” got her name.

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