Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy (book)

Title Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy
Author Andrew W. Lind
Original Publisher Princeton University Press
Original Publication Date 1946
Pages 264
WorldCat Link http://www.worldcat.org/title/hawaiis-japanese-an-experiment-in-democracy/oclc/1027340&referer=brief_results

Book-length study of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i focusing on the World War II years and the immediate aftermath. The book was authored by Andrew Lind (1901–88), a sociologist at the University of Hawai'i, with the support of the university's War Research Laboratory.

One of several sociologists at the University of Hawai'i trained at the University of Chicago, Lind first came to the Islands in 1927 to do research on his dissertation and joined the University of Hawai'i's faculty in 1931. By 1941, he was the chairman of the sociology department and the head of the Romanzo Adams Social Research Lab. He would go on to spend his entire academic career in Hawai'i and author several other books, most focusing on the various peoples of Hawai'i. [1]

Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy is a study of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i since the outbreak of World War II given the somewhat unique situation of having such a large minority population—Japanese Americans made up around 38% of the population of Hawai'i on the eve of the war—made up of immigrants and their descendants from the country that had just attacked the U.S. As Lind wrote in his introduction, "The author, as a professional sociologist, was disposed to view the situation of the Japanese in Hawaii since December 7, 1941, as a social experiment of unusual significance and to apply to its analysis whatever scientific methods were appropriate." [2] Based on "field work... with a small group of volunteer assistants, chiefly students of various ancestries at the University," [3] Lind looks briefly at the history of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i, before exploring the varying opinions in Hawai'i of how Japanese Americans would react to the war, the official policy that emerged towards Japanese Americans—largely one of not singling them out for special treatment, in contrast to Japanese Americans on the West Coast of the continental U.S.—and the actions of various segments of the Japanese American community itself over the course of the war years and the early postwar period, including the exemplary military record complied by Nisei soldiers as well as Issei who refused to believe Japan had lost the war. He concludes that

... the net effect of the war upon the Japanese has been clearly to hasten and assist their participation in the broader life of the Hawaiian community. Out of the travail of war, born of the heroic sacrifice of thousands of Hawaii's best youth on the battlefields of the world and the fearful pain of greater thousands of their parents and kin throughout Hawaii, there has emerged a devotion of spirit to American values and ideals such as the Islands have never before witnessed. Properly nurtured it can become the dominant spirit among Hawaii's 160,000 Japanese. [4]

The book was widely and positively reviewed, with reviewers praising the scope of research and its presentation ("an impressive body of evidence which is summarized in this little volume in semipopular form"; "Lind tells his story well, perhaps with more detail than is necessary to make his points, but always with an eye to a telling phrase and an ear for an apposite quotation from his many and varied personal documents"; "The book is a skillfully assembled and interpreted record, yet one which is vibrant with the personal feelings of hundred who lived through a peculiarly trying experience") [5] and citing its applicability to race relations in general ("Without doubt this is a significant contribution to the study of minority groups in the United States"; "The is an excellent study. It is, as previously indicated, so fundamental that it is worth careful reading even by those who may not be interested in Hawaii or in the Japanese."; "The net effect of the report should be to strengthen the cause of sympathetic understanding and mutual respect among differing racial groups"). [6] As late as 1984, Roland Kotani called it "the most balanced account of the Nikkei in Hawaii at the time of World War II." [7] As part of the Japanese American community in Hawaii's 100th anniversary celebration in 1985, Lind was among 23 non-Japanese Americans honored as part of the "Kansha: In Appreciation" program. [8]

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

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Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy

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For More Information

Lind, Andrew W. Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy . Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946.


Beaglehole, Ernest. Pacific Affairs 20.2 (June 1947): 245–47.

Clyde, Paul H. The Mississippi Valley Historica Review 33.4 (March 1947): 675–76.

Embree, John F. American Sociological Review 12.2 (April 1947): 245–46.

Harden, Sheila. International Affairs 24.3 (July 1948): 472.

Jameson, Samual Haig. The Far Eastern Quarterly 6.4 (August 1947): 433–34.

Laviolette, Forrest E. Far Eastern Survey , April 23, 1947, 95–96.

---. American Journal of Sociology 53.2 (September 1947): 158.

Matsuoka, Jitsuichi. Social Forces 25.4 (May 1947): 455–57.

Oliver, Robert T. World Affairs 110.2 (Summer 1947): 143.

Schibsby, Marian. Social Service Review 22.2 (March 1948): 121–22.

Smith, William C. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 251 (May 1947): 203–04.

Stevens, Sylvester K. The Catholic Historical Review 33.3 (October 1947): 330–31.


  1. Sun-Ki Chai, "Sociology in Hawai'i: Past, Present, and Possible Futures," presentation prepared for the Hawai'i Sociological Association Annual Meeting, February 13, 2010, http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/conference/Hawaii%20Sociological%20Association%7B2010%7D.pdf ; Henry Yu, Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001);
  2. Andrew W. Lind, Hawaii's Japanese: An Experiment in Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946), v.
  3. Lind, Hawaii's Japanese , 7.
  4. Lind, Hawaii's Japanese , 258.
  5. Paul H. Clyde, The Mississippi Valley Historica Review 33.4 (March 1947), 675; Ernest Beaglehole, Pacific Affairs 20.2 (June 1947), 246; Robert T. Oliver, World Affairs 110.2 (Summer 1947), 143.
  6. Jitsuichi Matsuoka, Social Forces 25.4 (May 1947), 456; Sylvester K. Stevens, The Catholic Historical Review 33.3 (October 1947), 331; Oliver, World Affairs , 143.
  7. Hawai'i Herald , January 1, 1984, 29.
  8. Hawai'i Herald , December 6, 1985, 3.

Last updated Jan. 31, 2024, 1:54 a.m..