A view of Honouliuli Camp looking into the gulch in Central Oahu. Honouliuli was the largest and longest-used World War II internment camp in Hawaii, housing some 320 internees and 4,000 prisoners of war. Photo courtesy of Hawaii’s Plantation Village
By P.C. Staff
HONOLULU — U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) on Feb. 18 praised President Barack Obama’s announcement that he intends to designate the Honouliuli Internment Camp as a National Historic Monument. This designation will put Honouliuli under the management of the National Park Service and help preserve the history of the site where hundreds of Japanese Americans were wrongly interned during World War II.
“Honouliuli represents a dark period in our history when thousands of Japanese Americans in Hawaii and across the country were forced into internment camps during World War II,” said Sen. Schatz “This historic site will memorialize the strength and bravery of the many Japanese Americans who faced discrimination and serve as a reminder to ourselves and future generations that we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. Our deep gratitude goes to the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, the Japanese American Citizens League and others who worked tirelessly for this achievement. It is meaningful and right that Honouliuli has finally received the historic recognition it deserves.
Sen. Schatz worked to help facilitate Honouliuli’s historic designation. In 2013, he met with NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis to discuss the need to complete the special resource study, which was authorized by Congress in 2009 to review the site for potential inclusion in the National Park System. Following the meeting, Sen. Schatz sent Jarvis a letter to reiterate his support for the Honouliuli Internment Camp’s inclusion in the National Park System.
In December 2014, Sen. Schatz joined Carole Hayashino, president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, and Jacce Mikulanec, president of the Honolulu JACL, to present Interior Department Sec. Sally Jewell with petitions from more than 6,000 Americans requesting the historic designation of Honouliuli.
In 1943, the Honouliuli Internment Camp was constructed on Oahu to intern citizens, resident aliens and prisoners of war. The camp held approximately 320 internees and 4,000 prisoners of war. Honouliuli was the largest and longest-used World War II internment camp in Hawaii.