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Stories about love

Aloha e,

It is February and for this month’s AQ Bulletin we celebrate Valentine’s Day with stories about love. As many of our stories are about struggles against oppression, we also like to remind everyone that despite hardships, plantation workers found ways to enjoy life.

Sensei Harry Urata and Professor Franklin Odo introduced us to Katsue Asakura who came as a picture bride at Wainaku's Nikai-sen camp on Hawai'i Island in 1920.

When we met her and husband, in 1984 they had been married for 64 years! Their arranged marriage had become a love marriage! Plantation workers often made up songs to be sung while working. These songs, called holehole bushi chronicled hardships and longing for Japan. Not all songs were sad, Mrs. Asakura shares one about passionate romantic love!

Ayako and Masaki Tabusa were married in 1932. There was some anxiety on the part of Ayako and her family since she was a “city girl”, marrying a “country boy” and they would be moving to the country and plantation life! Still it seemed to work out since when we interviewed them they had been married for more than 50 years! They recall the wedding and celebration at the Waipahu Japanese Social Club.

Every month we post new stories from our archival collection on our Labor History website ( Please take a look and share the URL with friends.

Mahalo, Chris Conybeare, Executive Producer

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