FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $25!

Tag Archives: Norman Osumi

  • Personal Experiences on Pearl Harbor Day

    Several titles from Watermark Publishing and Legacy Isle Publishing chronicle the personal experiences of those who lived through the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Four selections have been excerpted below from a range of individuals: a young haole-Hawaiian lawyer who would become a U.S. District Court Chief Judge; a Christian minister of Japanese descent arrested after the bombing; a young girl living in a tiny Big Island village; and a Japanese-American ROTC college student who volunteered for service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

    Samuel P. King, Judge Sam King: A Memoir

    Born in China and raised in the Territory of Hawai‘i, Samuel Pailthorpe King was the part-Hawaiian son of the territorial Governor Samuel Wilder King, a grandson of the minister of the interior of the former Republic of Hawai‘i and a great-grandson of a Supreme Court justice of the former kingdom of Hawai‘i. King passed away on December 7, 2010.

    From Chapter Five, “The War Years”:

    When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, I was asleep in Honolulu. I was a relatively new lawyer and was living at the Mānoa home of my Uncle Bill, Dad’s younger brother. My cousin Billy came in my room and said, “Sunny, Sunny. They’re doing maneuvers. Let’s go take a look.” My childhood nickname was “Sunny Bunny,” because of my optimistic nature, I suppose.

    I jumped out of bed and got dressed. That’s when a neighbor yelled, “Turn on your radio! Turn on your radio! The Japanese are attacking!”

    On the radio we heard Webley Edwards say the famous line, “The Rising Sun has been sighted on the wingtips.” The authorities came on and said, “Stay home. Don’t go parading around, making things worse.”

    We could see airplanes from our house, but the attack didn’t last all that long—maybe an hour and a half.

    Norman H. Osumi, Today’s Thought —Rev. Paul S. Osumi: The Man and His Message

    A Christian minister, Rev. Paul Osumi was interned for the remainder of World War II at three different detention and internment camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After his release and return to Hawai‘i, he ministered at several churches throughout the state. For more than 35 years, he inspired generations of readers with his daily newspaper column, “Today’s Thought.” His son, Norman H. Osumi, is a retired banker who has spent the past decade researching his father's life and ministry to complete this book.

    From Chapter Three, “Arrest After Pearl Harbor”:

    It changed my father’s and our family’s lives forever when the United States declared war on Japan following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Father talked very little about what happened to him after the war started. I can only imagine what he went through as a 36-year-old Christian minister with a young family.

    The Secretary of War issued a warrant of arrest for Father on the same day Pearl Harbor was attacked. It read:

    YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to take the body of PAUL SUTEKICHI OSUMI alias SUTEKICHI OKADA on suspicion of being an alien enemy of the United States, and to detain said person pending final action by the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, United States Army. This Warrant of Arrest is issued under the authority of the Secretary of War of the United States by his delegated agent this 7 day of December, 1941.

    Many thoughts go through my mind when I read this. First, Father was never known by the alias “Sutekichi Okada” in any of the documents I have in my possession. Sometimes I wonder if the government arrested the wrong person.

    Frances H. Kakuagwa, Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii

    Born and raised in the village of Kapoho on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, Frances H. Kakugawa is an author of ten books who has received numerous awards from literary and family caregiving organizations. A retired educator, she currently gives lectures, workshops and readings to schools and community groups nationwide on the subjects of caregiving, teaching, writing and poetry.

    From Chapter One, “The Enemy Wore My Face”:

    Under the rising sun, / The enemy came / Wearing my face.

    My face changed forever that Sunday afternoon. It seemed a same-same Sunday. My parents were at a neighbor’s birthday party, and I was home with my brothers and sister. There were comics on the floor, dishes in the sink and the sense of nothing to do that usually came on the weekends.

    That particular Sunday, however, changed everything. Mr. Ito was listening to his radio.

    “Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!” he shouted at anyone he saw along the road. “Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!” he shouted at the birthday guests as he rushed on to spread the news. The party immediately broke up, and everyone hurried home.

    My father rushed into the house, followed by his neighbors.

    “Turn the radio on. Turn the radio on!” Everyone stood in front of the radio, shouting above the crackling voice of the announcer.

    “Are you sure he said Japan?”

    “Where’s Pearl Harbor?”

    “This means trouble. This means trouble.”

    “This means war.”

    “Are you sure he said Japan?”

    I knew something was wrong when no one went into the kitchen to prepare lunch. I was hungry, but no one paid any attention to me. All I heard were arguments and loud voices. That was the day I learned to be afraid. That was the day I learned that there was an enemy, an enemy who would wear my face, an enemy who would not be forgotten or forgiven in the years to come. Shame, humiliation and a host of confused thoughts would now become my shadow. I would hear “Jap” for the first time. We were Americans, I knew that. We were fighting the same enemy, I knew that, too. The face I saw in the mirror looked American to me, and I’d had no reason to believe, up to then, that anyone else saw anything different. The day Mr. Ito went running around the village with the news was the day my face no longer belonged to me.

    Ted T. Tsukiyama, contributor, Japanese Eyes, American Heart: Personal Reflections of Hawaii’s World War II Nisei Soldiers

    Born in 1920, Ted Tsukiyama volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and became a language specialist with the Military Intelligence Service serving in India and Burma in the Pacific war. A scholar of the Japanese-American experience and the nisei soldiers of World War II, he is the historian for the VVV, the 442nd and MIS in Hawai‘i.

    From Chapter Six, “CHUGI (Loyalty): The Right Person, The Right Time,” “VVV”:

    Sunday, December 7, 1941, 7:55 a.m. will remain etched in my memory forever. I couldn’t sleep because of the constant rumbling of what I thought was thunder. Going outside, I saw the sky black with smoke, punctuated by puffs of white aerial bursts. “They’re sure making this maneuver look real!” I thought. Turning on the radio, I heard the KGU announcer screaming, “Take cover! Get off the streets! We are being attacked by Japanese planes! This is the real McCoy! Take cover!”

    I was stunned with surprise and shock, then with disbelief and denial: This just can’t be happening! When the realization sunk in, I first felt guilt and shame for being Japanese, followed by a dark foreboding of the suffering in store for anyone who was Japanese. I condemned the Japanese attackers: “You stupid, damned fools! Who do you think you are, attacking our great country?” I harbored these feelings of anger, outrage and hatred for our attackers for the rest of the war.

    The night of December 7 was the longest, darkest and wildest night that I can recall. When we finally lay down on the Armory floor, however, physically and emotionally exhausted, sleep would not come. We feared the enemy would attack us again at any time. One of our airplanes flew low over the city, prompting a nearby machine gun to clatter into action. Sudden bursts of occasional gunfire outside were nerve-wracking, where anything that moved was shot at. No enemy appeared, but the next morning dead cattle, dogs and other pets were found around the city.

  • NEW RELEASE: Today's Thought

    TodaysThought_CVR_web We are pleased to announce the release of Today's Thought—Rev. Paul Osumi: The Man & His Message, a new book from our Legacy Isle Publishing imprint.

    For more than 35 years, Rev. Paul S. Osumi inspired generations of readers of The Honolulu Advertiser and other newspapers with his daily column, “Today’s Thought.” Thousands of copies of his simple aphorisms were clipped and saved, tacked to bulletin boards, stuck to refrigerator doors and carried in wallets.

    After the pastor’s death in 1996, his son Norman Osumi received many inquiries about publishing a new collection of “Today’s Thoughts.” Because three small volumes had already been published by Rev. Osumi himself, Norman felt that any collection “would need something more.”

    TT_RevOsumi_web Rev. Paul Osumi

    Thus began a decade-long project to research his father’s life, with the goal of including a biography to add context to a new collection of “Thoughts.” In addition to the biography and hundreds of favorite “Thoughts,” Norman included select inspirational speeches delivered by Rev. Osumi throughout his years of ministry as well as photographs and letters from the family’s personal collection in his softcover book Today’s Thought—Rev. Paul Osumi: The Man & His Message.

    Researching the book was a revealing experience for Norman. "I started reading his journals, as well as letters he wrote and received from my mother, military authorities, Christian leaders, friends and church members. The more I read, the more interested I became in my father’s past, which he rarely talked about. He almost never mentioned the war years, when he was interned and encountered many disappointments and much hardship and disgrace. Many people told me it was common for the older generation, especially fathers, not to tell their children about their lives."

    TT_OsumiFamilyGilaCamp_web The Osumi family in front of their barrack unit, Gila Relocation Camp (1945)

    On December 7, 1941 Rev. Paul Osumi was arrested “on suspicion of being an alien enemy,” as were many influential and well-educated Japanese nationals. He was jailed and subsequently sent to detention camps, first on Oahu, then in New Mexico. He petitionedand was finally approved in 1943for relocation to Gila Relocation Camp in Arizona where his family (pictured, right), including a three-year-old Norman, joined him in 1944 to live for the remainder of the war.

    Norman's biography of his father provides details of the internment experience and the correspondence between Rev. Osumi and numerous officials as he attempted to clear his name and obtain his release. It was not until 1988 that the United States government issued an official apology to internees, along with monetary redress. Among the documents Norman found in his father's files was a letter from The White House, signed by George Bush, which must have accompanied the restitution received by Rev. Osumi.

    TT_RevOsumiChurchBell_web Rev. Paul Osumi and Mrs. Janet Osumi in front of Nu‘uanu Congregational Church.

    After the war, the Osumi family returned to Hawaii where Rev. Osumi ministered at churches in Waialua, ‘Ewa and Nu‘uanu. His "Today’s Thought" column began appearing in The Honolulu Advertiser six mornings a week in 1957. They also ran in the Hawaii Hochi starting in 1960, and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Nome, Alaska from 1980 to 1984. In 1965, Rev. Osumi started the now-common practice of offering Hawai‘i weddings for couples from Japan.

    Couples married by Rev. Osumi often cite his Ten Commandments for a Happy Marriage:

    1. Remember marriage is a 100-100 proposition. It is not a 50-50.
    2. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
    3. Never meet or part without an affectionate hug or kiss.
    4. Each day say at least one nice thing to each other.
    5. Never go to bed angry. Settle all differences before the sun goes down.
    6. Do not argue. Always talk things over.
    7. Do not nag or indulge in fault-finding.
    8. Never bring up mistakes of the past.
    9. When you have made a mistake, say, “I am sorry,” and ask for forgiveness.
    10. Never raise your voice or shout at each other unless the house is on fire.

    It is advice like this that stuck with readers of Rev. Osumi's column for decades. “My father’s words had a great impact on my life,” Norman says, “and on so many others’ too. People needed guidance in their lives and he tried to provide that. Father’s daily sayings gave people in Hawai‘i a set of values for living happy and meaningful lives. If by reading this book, they can gain some insight to live a better life, I will be happy.”

    Today’s Thought—Rev. Paul Osumi: The Man & His Message is available for pre-order now on our website and will be available in local bookstores after September 15. For more information about the Legacy Isle Publishing imprint, please visit the website.

2 Item(s)