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Working in the pineapple fields

Our social life in those days were really the YWCA. We were Y-Teens, and that was a great part of our social life. And, I remember a lot of my girl friends came from Whitmore City, and Whitmore City is, of course, situated right in the middle of pineapple fields. And they used to work every summer, working in the pineapple fields.

So, you know, one year I decided, “Hey, you know, I can do that, too.” So, I joined my girl friends, and I worked in the pineapple fields. And it was quite an experience because, although they had machines in those days, we youngsters had a big pack. We had a big sack that we would sling over our shoulders, and we would go in our little sombreros, or in our big hats, and we had palaka shirts on. And my mother sewed this denim apron, and we would wear these aprons. And we would wake up early in the morning, and the trucks would pick us up. And we would walk through the fields. And I remember the pineapple, you know, the plants and how the leaves would poke—I mean, that’s what the aprons were for. But, regardless, when we got home we had hundreds of these pokes on our legs. But we picked the pineapples by hand and put them in this great big bag. And then, after the bag was filled, we would go to the corner of the pineapple plot, and we would dump the pineapples. And I really stuck it out that summer. And it was one of my healthiest summers, you know, I really looked healthy.

And the best part of it all, I remember, was how we would all congregate—you know, my girl friends. And we would spread our aprons on the dirt road and eat our bentos. And it was the bentos that my mother had made—musubi and spam and Vienna sausage, and you know, all that kind of good stuff. And so, I have very fond memories of those pineapple fields.


bento cooking cuisine food fruit Hawaii Japanese cuisine pineapples United States

Date: December 15, 2003

Location: Hawai`i, US

Interviewer: Lisa Itagaki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum.

Interviewee Bio

Jean (Hayashi) Ariyoshi, who holds a B.A. in speech and a B.S. in math from the University of Hawai`i, met her future husband George Ariyoshi while earning her teaching credential and serving as a speech instructor. She also hosted a weekly television talent show. They married in 1955, a year after his election as a Democrat to the Hawai`i Territorial House.

Heavily involved in charitable and community causes during her husband’s tenure as Hawai’i’s governor between 1974 and 1986, she established the First Lady’s Volunteer Awards to honor Hawaii’s outstanding volunteers annually. After the end of her duties as first lady, she became a domestic and international philanthropic figure. (December 2003)

George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Decision to run for governor

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Being fair

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Role of Hawaii internationally

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Going back to Hawaii

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

1920 labor strike

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Bombing of Pearl Harbor

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Helping soldiers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Ann K. Nakamura
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Ann K. Nakamura

Image of Americans

Sansei from Hawaii living in Japan. Teacher and businesswoman.

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Growing up in Waikiki

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Working at a first aid station on Oahu after December 7

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Under suspicion after Pearl Harbor

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Change in attitudes after World War II

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

The Kona Island community

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Starting work at five years old

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Meeting Japanese Americans from the mainland in MIS

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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