Kalaheo Stockade, Kaua'i (detention facility)


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Detention facility on the island of Kaua'i that held a small number of Japanese American internees. Its exact location has not been determined.

It is not certain when internees were first held at the Kalāheo Stockade or its exact location. Currently, it is believed to have been located on the Medeiros Farms chicken operation mauka (toward the mountain) of the Kaumuali'i Highway. Toraichi Marugame, a Japanese radio announcer of KTOH, Kaua'i's first radio station, was detained at the camp in 1942 when he was twenty-four years old. Although Marugame is unclear about the exact location of the camp, he recalled seeing the ocean at the camp which is visible from the chicken farm located on a hillside with views of Kukuiolono Park in Kalāheo and the ocean. Leaving his young wife and child behind, Marugame recalled that authorities housed him in a long barrack and his existence revolved around "only you going to eat and sleep."[1] According to Marugame, the camp also jailed American soldiers for criminal offense or misconduct and other residents of Japanese descent but "the [soldiers] stayed separate from the Japanese men."

Marugame was incarcerated for three months until Kaua'i radio station owner and the Garden Island newspaper editor Charlie Fern visited the stockade. "He came to the stockade and he saw me, and he asked me what I was doing there," Marugame recalled. Authorities eventually released Marugame who learned to cope with being incarcerated by keeping calm: "No sense you get mad, this and that," he explained. "I can be calm for anything that come to me." After his release Marugame joined the Military Intelligence Service and was assigned to General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters during the occupation of Japan.

It is still unknown exactly how many Japanese residents were incarcerated and when they were eventually released. According to Gustaf W. Olson, vice consul of Sweden, who visited Kalāheo Camp in September 1943 after an earlier visit in February, he found it "considerably improved" with "electric lighting having been installed and the grounds landscaped, lawns made around the cottages, sanitary facilities improved, and land prepared for vegetable gardening."[2] He found only one inmate present who was to be released soon and who mentioned that "his treatment had been good and he had no complaint to make." Most inmates on Kaua'i were eventually housed in Wailuā County Jail on the east side of Kaua'i, first in the regular jail facilities and then in a dormitory constructed especially for them.

Authored by Kelli Y. Nakamura, University of Hawai'i

For More Information

Saiki, Patsy Sumie. Ganbarre! An Example of Japanese Spirit. Honolulu: Kisaku, Inc., 1982. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 2004.

Footnotes

  1. Lester Chang, "Seeking Clues of Internment: Search for Kalaheo Camp Elusive," The Garden Island, February 11, 2006, A-6.
  2. "Honouliuli, Haiku, Kalaheo Report," Japanese Internment and Relocation: The Hawaii Experience, University of Hawai'i, Hamilton Library, Special Collections, Item 249.