Ho'onani Makuakane (film)


Title Ho'onani Makuakane, episode of Hawaii Five-0
Date
Released 2013
Director Larry Teng
Writer Peter M. Lenkow; Ken Solarz
Starring Alex O'Loughlin (Steve McGarrett); Scott Caan (Danny Williams); Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly); James Saito (David Toriyama); Jack Axelrod (Ezra Clark); Arnold Chun (James Toriyama); Hira Ambrosino (Martha Toriyama) Conrad Keola'ikaika Pratt (Kenji Toriyama); Luke Hagi (Young David Toriyama); Jarod Einsohn (Young Ezra Clark)
Music Keith Power; Brian Tyler
Cinematography Michael Martinez
Editing James D. Wilcox
Runtime 44 minutes
IMDB Ho'onani Makuakane, episode of Hawaii Five-0

Episode of the Hawaii Five-0 TV series from 2013 that featured a Japanese American internment-related storyline.

Synopsis

After a Pearl Harbor commemoration, Danno (Scott Caan), notices an elderly Japanese American man pull out a gun and point it at Ezra Clark (Jack Axelrod), one of the white veterans. He stops the man and asks him why, and the man says that he is "killing the man who killed my father." Taking him back to the station, David Toriyama (James Saito) tells his story, which is illustrated in flashback. He describes an idyllic prewar life in Mānoa with his older brother Kenji (Conrad Keola'ikaika Pratt) and Nisei parents James (Arnold Chun) and Martha (Hira Ambrosino) that is forever changed by the attack on Pearl Harbor. His father, a history teacher at Punahou School, is arrested while teaching class, while police and armed guards arrest the family. After being held in jail, the family is taken to Honouliuli. Ten year old David's older brother Kenji, joins the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and is killed in action. Meanwhile, while playing catch with his father, his father sees someone in their tent and goes to investigate. A gunshot is heard. When David gets to the tent, he sees Clark, a guard at Honouliuli, kneeling over his father holding a gun, with the family's samurai sword missing from its case. Though he had been trying to kill a man, McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and crew identify with Toriyama when his story largely checks out and when he turns out to be a decorated Korean War veteran. When McGarrett takes him home and promises to investigate his case, he finds a personal connection: a picture of his grandfather, who had been killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, in the Toriyama photo album smiling with James Toriyama. Piecing together old records, physical evidence from the seventy year old crime, and an emotional visit to the Honouliuli site with David, the team solves the murder mystery.

Ho'onani Makuakane was the tenth episode of the new Hawaii Five-0's fourth season and first aired on December 13, 2013. The title translates to "Honor Thy Father."

Background and Historical Accuracy

Co-executive producer and co-writer Peter M. Lenkov learned of the Hawai'i internment story while doing background research for the series. "It’s a powerful story," he told Mike Gordon of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "And honestly, it’s a story most people don’t know about." When Five-0 co-star sponsored performances of the one-man play Hold These Truths, about Japanese American exclusion protestor Gordon Hirabayashi, in Honolulu, Lenkov and the Five-0 team were reminded of the local incarceration story and set out to do the episode. Co-executive producer Ken Solarz felt a special responsibility, "as someone who had relatives who were lost in the Holocaust, to tell a story about people who were put in a camp."[1]

In addition to recreating the attack Pearl Harbor, the producers recreated the Honouliuli camp in a field in Helemano in central O'ahu, not too far from the actual site. Shooting at the site took place in one day in October 2013. Staff from the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i were on set that day.[2]

While co-producer Peter M. Tassler claimed that "everything that we showed had to be historically accurate right down to the street signs," the writers and producers took a good amount of historical license with the story, essentially conflating the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans in the continental United States with the limited internment under martial law that took place in Hawai'i. Just about everything that happened to the Toriyamas could not have happened as described: women and children were not summarily arrested and detained in Hawai'i, families were not held at Honouliuli, Japanese American internees were not held in tents there, and they could not possibly have brought a samurai sword into Honouliuli. The arresting officers/agents are brutal—one strikes and knocks down Kenji—and give the family minutes to pack what they could carry, with the house and whatever they can't carry reverting to government. The implication is that these events took place soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor; however, Honouliuli did not open until March of 1943. In an early scene, David Toriyama concludes his impassioned plea about the wrongness of the internment by stating, "We were looked upon as traitors in our own country, but let me tell you something: during the entire war, there was not one single incident of treason ever committed by Japanese-Americans—not a one!" In fact two Japanese Americans were convicted of treason the three more of conspiracy to commit treason. (See Iva Toguri, Tomoya Kawakita, and Prosecution of the Shitara Sisters.)[3]

Despite these issues, reviews and community response were overwhelmingly positive. CBS screened the episode for Japanese American community representatives in Los Angeles on December 2, all of whom commented positively on it. It was also previewed for visitors to the USS Missouri in the week prior to its TV airing. Asian American media critic Guy Aoki called "this special episode was very moving" (though he also qualified his review by stating that he "can't vouch for the historical accuracy of everything that supposedly happened in World War II in this episode") and popular blogger Gil Asakawa called the show "profoundly moving." Verne Gay of Newsday called it "melodramatic, a bit manipulative and far too conveniently wrapped in the allotted 44 minutes, [but] this is still a hell of an episode."[4]

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

Aoki, Guy. "Into the Next Stage: An Important 'Hawaii Five-0' Episode to Support." Rafu Shimpo, Dec. 5, 2013.

Asakawa, Gil. "'Hawaii Five-0' Airs Powerful Episode about Pearl Harbor & Imprisonment of Japanese Americans during WWII." Nikkei View: The Asian American Blog, Dec. 10, 2013.

Gordon, Mike. "'Hawaii Five-O' Recreates Internment Camp." Discover Nikkei, Dec. 10, 2013.

The Making of 'Ho'onani Makuakane (Honor Thy Father)'. Produced by David Naylor, Giant Interactive. 2014. 9 minutes.

Yamamoto, J.K. "'Five-0' Flashes Back to WWII." Rafu Shimpo, Dec. 11, 2013.

Footnotes

  1. Mike Gordon, "'Hawaii Five-O' Recreates Internment Camp," Discover Nikkei, Dec. 10, 2013, http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2013/12/10/hawaii-five-0/; The Making of 'Ho'onani Makuakane (Honor Thy Father)'], produced by David Naylor, Giant Interactive, 2014, https://vimeo.com/99305388, both accessed on Dec. 8, 2016.
  2. Gordon, "'Hawaii Five-O' Recreates Internment Camp."
  3. The Making of 'Ho'onani Makuakane (Honor Thy Father)'].
  4. J.K. Yamamoto, "'Five-0' Flashes Back to WWII," Rafu Shimpo, Dec. 11, 2013, http://www.rafu.com/2013/12/five-0-flashes-back-to-wwii/; Guy Aoki, "Into the Next Stage: An Important 'Hawaii Five-0' Episode to Support," Rafu Shimpo, Dec. 5, 2013, http://www.rafu.com/2013/12/into-the-next-stage-an-important-hawaii-five-o-episode-to-support/; Gil Asakawa, "'Hawaii Five-0' Airs Powerful Episode about Pearl Harbor & Imprisonment of Japanese Americans during WWII," Nikkei View: The Asian American Blog, Dec. 10, 2013, http://nikkeiview.com/blog//?s=%27Ho%27onani+Makuakane+; Verne Gay, "Painful Chapter of WWII Revisited in Powerful Episode," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Dec. 13, 2013, http://www.staradvertiser.com/2013/12/13/hawaii-news/painful-chapter-of-wwii-revisited-in-powerful-episode/, all accessed on Dec. 8, 2016.