Hawaii Herald (newspaper)


English language newspaper published in Honolulu by Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. that covers the Japanese American community in Hawai'i.

The Hawaii Herald name had been used for two related newspapers prior to the current and longest-lasting incarnation. During World War II, the two main Honolulu Japanese American newspapers, the Nippu Jiji and Hawaii Hochi, were allowed to keep publishing under the supervision of the martial law government. As part of a drive to "Americanize" their names, each changed their names, to the Hawaii Times and Hawaii Herald respectively. The Hochi remained the Herald for nearly a decade, finally becoming the Hawaii Hochi again in 1952.

At the behest of new company owner Konosuke Oishi and the Hochi's president and publisher Paul Yempuku, the Hawaii Herald name reappeared in a new eight-page English language tabloid that debuted on April 1, 1969. Initially issued twice a month, it became a weekly by the end of the first year. It covered a combination of local news about local Japanese Americans movers and shakers, coverage of local Japanese American sports and athletes, the Cherry Blossom Festival (and queens), along with a substantial amount of coverage of Japan. It also printed Japanese children's folk tales and devoted a page to the Japanese television schedule and also ran ads for often racy Japanese movies shown by local theaters. It came to an end in October 1973, ostensibly due to a newsprint shortage. The initial editor was Ronald Maruyama and several others followed. The longest tenured was James Brown, who was also the editor of the Hochi's English section.

Seven years later, a new version of the Hawaii Herald began, also published by Yempuku and the Hochi, and also an entirely English language population subtitled "A Journal for Hawaii's Japanese Americans." Founding editor Kenneth H. Toguchi wrote that the "purpose of The Herald is to serve the Japanese American community, one of the largest and oldest immigrant groups in the state, by gathering information on local events, issues, lifestyles and people." The sixteen-page, twice monthly tabloid included columns on cooking, gardening, and Japanese American history along with digests summarizing news from the "mainland," Japan, and Hawai'i. Feature articles highlighted notable Japanese Americans or Japanese American enterprises, coverage of community events, and a good deal of historical content, including coverage of World War II, particularly the exploits of the Nisei soldiers and of the internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i. The Herald also included a community calendar and TV listings for local Japanese language programs. Later, a series of comic strips by local Japanese American artists began to appear, most notably Ray Maeda's pidgin' English speaking Fats Funai, which ran for some thirty years.

In June of 1983, Arnold T. Hiura took over as editor. Under Hiura's leadership, more historical and literary pieces began to appear, as well as special "neighbor island" editions, highlighting stories from a specific island. Many other special issues—encompassing additional sections and longer page counts—began to appear, including special New Year's editions whose length topped out at 96 pages in 1991. Hiura also oversaw the publication of a 160-page 10th anniversary issue in 1990. Circulation also rose from 5,242 subscribers in 1985 to 9,275 by 1992, peaking at 9,403 in 1993.[1] Hiura stepped down as editor in 1991 (though he would continue to contribute a column to the paper), replaced by longtime staff writer Karleen Chinen. After 3 1/2 years, Chinen stepped down and was replaced by Mark Santoki in 1995. During this era, the Herald actively covered the Redress Movement, devoted issues to the 50th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the formation of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and covered efforts in the 1990s to seek reparations for Japanese Americans excluded but not interned during the war.

After six years, Santoki resigned in 2000, replaced by Warren Iwasa. After Iwasa's departure three years later, Chinen returned as editor in 2004, a position she continues to hold as of 2017. With the aging of its core audiences—as well as the rise of the internet—the Herald saw subscriptions drop. From its 1993 peak, subscriptions fell to 5,487 in 2006 and to 3,730 in 2015, less than forty percent of the peak figure. Advertising revenue also fell. "You need the advertising, and everybody getting a hard time to get the advertising," publisher Yempuku said in a 2009 interview. "And you have a new media, Internet, or many other new media. So I think we have to struggle."[2] Staff cuts—and a shrinking page count—inevitably followed. At the end of 1989, the editorial staff included an editor, four staff writers, and and sports editor. In 2017, the editorial staff includes just editor Chinen and long-time managing editor Gwen Battad Ishikawa. Perhaps reflecting the age and interest of subscribers current columns are titled "Your Social Security" and "Medicare 411." Multiple cover stories in recent years have focused on Alzheimer's disease.

The Hawaii Herald remains a valuable resource in documenting Hawaii's Japanese American community. Both the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i maintain indexes of the Herald and have full collections of the paper. A website includes limited access to the paper's content.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Hawai'i Herald website: http://thehawaiiherald.com/.

Footnotes

  1. Subscription figures come from "Statement of Ownership" data, published in the 19th or 20th issues of each year.
  2. Paul Yempuku interview by Tom Ikeda, segment 25, Densho Digital Archive, June 4, 2009. Accessed on Jan. 26, 2017 at http://archive.densho.org/Resource/popuptext.aspx?v=s&i=denshovh-ypaul-01-0025&t=Paul+Yempuku+Interview+Segment+25+Transcript.