We are pleased to announce a public program, entitled KAMIKAZE OF KAILUA, will be held in the Kailua Public Library on
December 3, beginning at 6:30.
When warfare broke out unexpectedly in 1941, who could have known what lay behind the battle lines of that conflict in faraway
Okinawa? Known only to a very few in Kailua, where the very first shots were fired, was that one of its own was “missing”. Caught
behind the enemy line, so to speak, was teenager Minoru Teruya, being trained reluctantly to become a Kamikaze pilot. His story is
“Mino”, as he was affectionately known during his long life in Kailua, was born to farming parents in the Kalaheo area in 1925.
Though short of stature, his strong, athletic body was recognized by his family as an important asset to his immigrant parents. So,
when his grandparents in Okinawa needed help on their farm, dutifully the family decision was to send him back temporarily to be
useful in whatever ways a teenage youth could be. Who could know then what was soon to happen, and for that family the
consequences that would develop?
As a high school student in Okinawa, Mino was recognized for his intellectual and physical abilities, and was drafted into the Japanese
Air Force. With little personal choice he was conscripted to the elite class of Kamikaze training. Here he excelled . . . except for the
realization that he might someday be called upon to deliver destruction to his homeland. He was caught within a system and
circumstances, testing his loyalties that would mark him for the rest of his life.
Fortunately, “my number never was called,” he later expressed. The war had ended, the truce was signed, and one very jubilant son
was freed from all obligations. Mino returned to Kailua, worked in agriculture all of his active life, and lived peacefully and quietly
with his family as a “keiki o ka aina.” For many years he volunteered at the Hawaii Okinawan Center as its groundskeeper. Always
reluctant to reveal his dramatic story, he chose to humbly use his own energy and calm demeanor toward peaceful, productive
purposes. It is not surprising that he and his wife, Kay, would become interested in the history of Kailua, faithfully attending most of
Mino passed away in February of this year, at the age of almost 94. Now we are free to celebrate his story, something he would not
permit us to do in life. His spirit of valiant courage, hard work, loyalty, and peacefulness remain alive among us.
October 22, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Trinity Presbyterian Church (Auloa Road)
Free to the Public
The Kailua Historical Society is pleased to present a public program on the timely subject of THE OLD PALI ROAD: HUMBLE AND SHIFTING? The slide-illustrated program will take place appropriately near that historic road, namely at the Trinity Presbyterian Church (Auloa Road) on October 22, at 6:30 in the evening. The public is welcome to attend this free and informative event.
When the green lights soon open the Pali Tunnel in both directions, Windward commuters will be among the first to toot their jubilation. For the past seven months the tunnel’s connection to Honolulu has been blocked or severely restricted due to natural slippage, caused by heavy rains at the beginning of this year. Never before has closure to traffic lasted as long while repairs have been done. Government announcements indicate that all necessary work will be completed sometime around the season of Thanksgiving.
On the Windward side there is no acreage more disturbed than the soils at the base of the Pali. With the arrival of wheeled vehicles more than 150 years ago, the walking path was upgraded to accommodate wider and heavier traffic. Layer upon layer of soils were shifted and modified to allow cattle drives, mule trains, carts and even stagecoaches to make the journey from country to town. But it was foot traffic that accounted for much of the travel over the lowest passage of the Ko’olaus . . . until motorized vehicles became dominant about the beginning of the twentieth century. Gradually the 22 hairpin turns were replaced by straighter stretches, and cobblestone surfaces were filled to allow wheels to run more smoothly. Today the sealed road is taken for granted, just like the open tunnels . . . until Mother Nature rains down its powerful force.
Come to be entertained, educated, and reminded of what massive efforts (and money!) have left their trail along “the Old Pali Road”.
The program is free and open to the public on October 22, 2019 from 6:30 – 8:00
The absence of a central, public cemetery in Kailua today, unlike Kāneʻohe, should not suggest that our ahupuaʻa was devoid of human burials. Many remains—both pre-contact and later—have been found widely throughout our community by natural exposure and construction disturbance. In fact, iwi continue to be exposed in the center of town as the Target property, the adjacent housing complex, and the former Arby’s site have witnessed probes beneath the soil. Archaeological monitoring has been required by the state, anticipating that human remains would be uncovered.
How should such “discoveries” be handled? Where should re-interment be made? What protocol should be used? Who should preside over these transfers? What patterns of ancient burials are suggested? Further, where were/are family cemeteries located within Kailua? Have others been bulldozed away during road and building construction?
Present to discuss such questions will be Nanette Napoleon, June Cleghorn, family representatives, caretakers, and current Iwi Council members.
In the context of the formulation of the Master Plan for Kawainui Marsh, it seems especially appropriate that consideration be given for a final resting place for Kailua’s ancestors.
SEPTEMBER 23, 7:00 – 9:00pm
TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
(875 Auloa Rd.)
THE PUBLIC IS INVITED
DECEMBER 10, 2013 • 7:00 – 9:00 pm
LANIKAI ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
The program is open to the public.
Among the many boulders of Kailua’s ahupuaʻa, the best known and most celebrated is “Lanikai Rock.” Visible to the earliest Hawaiian seafarers, this promontory–called Alāla, stood like a motionless sentinel, inviting travelers of every kind to recognize its sacred prominence, for its name meant “Awakening”. From this vantage point one could (and still can) see in one panoramic sweep the outline of the entire ahupuaʻa, all the way to the base of Konahuanui, descending down to the waters of Mōkapu. Continue reading
Here is an overview of our public meetings in 2012-2013. We have one more meeting this year – information and details will be coming soon!
A Sample of Recent Public Meetings:
- February 2012 Descending Stories: How shall we tell them? with Kaui Hart Hemmings, Tom Coffman and Maile Meyer.
- May 2012 Hula in Kailua with family and graduates of Bella Richards, Lani Kalama, Puluelo Park and the Beamer ʻohana.
- July 2012 Kailua: How Shall We Paint It with Sherree KcKellar, Carter Black and the Windward Artists Guild.
- October 2012 Before the Military: Mōkapu Peninsula with archaeology and former resident panelists.
- November 2011 Historic Harmonies: Kailua’s musical legacy with Charlani Kalama, Mihana Souza and Mrs. Shigeru Hotoke.
- January 2013 Going with the Flow: Roadside Stands with panelists Lydia Asato Ranger, Norman Kawauchi and Leroy Gilliland featuring the photographs from the Nishikawa-Kimura family.
- April 2013 The Castle Legacy: Fifty Years of Philanthropy with panelists Terry George, Mitch D’Olier, Randy Moore, Lisa DeLong and Corbett Kalama
- July 2013 Kids’ Play: Before the Rec and the Y with panelists Howard Okita, Jane Lipp, Doryne Decker Ringler, and Jiro Tanabe
Welcome to the Kailua Historical Society website. We are a small nonprofit dedicated to collecting, sharing, and preserving the history of Kailua, located on the windward side of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. Please use the links to the right or at top to explore our site.
The Making of Kailua: Preserving the Kawai’nui Marsh – a conversation with Muriel Seto, a community leader who led the preservation effort.
Muriel Seto returns briefly to Kailua and will trace her life-long love affair with the Kawai’nui Marsh and the many challenges – dating back to the 60s – faced in preserving it. Muriel, who was along-time member of the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle, will describe the strategies and events that took place due to her efforts and those who she worked closely with.
In establishing the Kawai’nui Heritage Foundation, Muriel and her colleagues were successful in advocating for the preservation of the marsh and laid the groundwork for the preservation and restoration of this significant community feature of Kailua’s landscape – one that continues to have historical, agricultural, environmental, and cultural significance today.
Today Kawaiʻnui Marsh is among a very select group from around the globe that is recognized as “Wetlands of International Importance.”
Please Join Us: Thursday, April 22, 2010, 7 PM
Le Jardin Academy
917 Kalanianaole Hwy (corner of Kapaa Quarry road)
Kailua, HI 96734-4600
For information about the Kawai’nui and Hamakua Marsh complex, go to