Women's War Service Association (Hawaii)

A Japanese women’s organization in Hawai'i comprised of the wives, mothers, and sisters of servicemen who supported the war effort during World War II.

After December 7, 1941, Japanese women in Hawai'i also wanted to contribute to the war effort. Thus, the wives, mothers, and sisters of servicemen called an organizational meeting on July 2, 1944, at the Nu'uanu Y.M.C.A. Temporary chairman Mrs. Asako Suzuki called the meeting to order that was attended by 300 women. Lt. General Robert C. Richardson, Jr., commanding general of the Pacific Ocean Area, and Col. Kendall J. Fielder, assistant chief of staff for military intelligence, also attended the meeting as guests. Richardson stressed the needs for the organization and promised his personal assistance and support.

After a unanimous vote, the women organized themselves as the Women's War Service Association to "promote the war effort, to work for the welfare of the servicemen, and their families, now and in the postwar adjustment period, and to provide mutual aid and comfort among the women." [1] Mrs. Shigeko Marumoto introduced a proposed set of bylaws that were adopted and the group elected officers and its executive committee. The officers of the group included Mrs. Asako Suzuki, chairman; Mrs. Shigeko Marumoto, vice chairman; Miss Teruko Fujitani, secretary; and Mrs. Edna Sakamoto, treasurer. Mrs. Helene Fujita, Mrs. Ai Fujitani, Mrs. Shizu Ikari, Mrs. Rosaline Ishihara, Mrs. Yaeko Kometani, Mrs. Ethel Mori, Mrs. Dorothy Sumida, Miss Shimeji Ryusaki, Mrs. Joan Shimamura, Mrs. Grace Shiroma, and Mrs. Eleanor Shiyama were appointed members of the executive committee. To carry on the activities of the association, seven standing committees were created including program, courtesy, membership, rehabilitation, publicity, record, and scrapbook. The organization began in July 1944 with about twenty active members. By July 1945, there were 410 members. The group also extended honorary membership to prominent women in the community such as Mrs. Farrant L. Turner, Mrs. Frank O. Blake, Mrs. Charles R. Hemenway, and Mrs. Philip C. Spalding who were "sympathetic with the aims and purposes of the Association." [2] For two years, these women visited hospitals, rolled bandages, aided in clothing drives, and did other war work. [3]

In the second year a new group of officers were elected: Mrs. Shigeko Marumoto, chairman; Mrs. Lillian Nishimura, vice chairman; Miss Shimeji Ryusaki, secretary; and Mrs. Florence Takata, treasurer. The newly elected executive committee members included Miss Ethel Amaki, Mrs. Ai Fujitani, Mrs. Kame Inouye, Miss Toyo Ishihara, Mrs. Elizabeth Nakamura, Mrs. Shigeko Nakamura, Mrs. Janet Onaka, Miss Florence Sugawara, Mrs. Sakae Tsuda, Miss Hideko Yoshimura and Mrs. Hazel Hagiwara. However, during the association's second year, the war ended and by a majority vote of its members the Women's War Service Association was dissolved on June 30, 1946, after two years to prove the loyalty of Japanese Americans in the Islands.

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

For More Information

Allen, Gwenfread. Hawaii's War Years . Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1950.

Women's War Service Association. Final Report, June 30, 1946 . [Honolulu], 1946.


  1. Women's War Service Association, Final Report, June 30, 1946 ([Honolulu], 1946), 5.
  2. Final Report , 5.
  3. Gwenfread Allen, Hawaii's War Years (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1950), 350.

Last updated Nov. 14, 2013, 7:41 a.m..