by Jessica Welch

Across from Longs there was a place we called Girls Pond where we swung from big ropes tied to the trees, swam in the river, and made campfires on the river bank. That’s where the faculty housing is now. George Arizumi

Everybody knew everybody. It was very safe. Most of the people in our area were Japanese, but there were Caucasians, Portuguese, and Chinese. It was a nice mix and we played with everybody. We did a lot of outdoor things because we had to. We werent rich, you know. Our neighborhood wasnt rich. We had to make games with what little we had. We didn’t think we were missing anything because that was the way life was. We would go out in the yard, dig holes in the ground and shoot marbles. Lana Mito

Every month, a group of community members get together to talk story and work together on the Mānoa Heritage Center’s Japanese in Mānoa Heritage Project. Our group is collecting and compiling varied resources that preserve the cultural heritage of the Japanese in Mānoa Valley.

We’ve organized to develop a timeline of the Japanese in the valley from early 1900 – 2000, and would like to integrate major national and local events to provide historical context for this important immigrant group. We are creating a schematic map highlighting Japanese businesses in Mānoa Valley over time, and developing a list of former/current residents who would be willing to share their experiences of living in the valley.

Our group is also compiling a history of other Japanese-led institutions, housing projects, schools, churches/temples, farm cooperatives, and cultural organizations here in Mānoa. We plan to disseminate our project via Mānoa Heritage Center’s website.

If you would like to be a part of this group, or you’re acquainted with individuals who would be interested in being interviewed, please contact Jessica Welch at or 808-988-1287.

“Japanese in Mānoa Heritage Project” Takes Shape at the Mānoa Heritage Center
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