Author and plantation era historian Barbara F. Kawakami will present a talk on her new book, “Picture Bride Stories,” on Saturday, April 1, at 2 p.m. at the Hawaii Japanese Center in Hilo. The book, which was published last summer by University of Hawai‘i Press, was awarded the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association’s 2016-2017 Award for Adult Non-fiction.
Between 1885 and 1924, more than 20,000 Japanese and Okinawan women immigrated to Hawai‘i to become the “picture brides” of plantation laborers who began immigrating to Hawai‘i at the turn of the 20th century to work the islands’ sugar plantations. As the years quickly passed, it became increasingly clear that most of the men would not be able return to their homes in Japan and that Hawai‘i would be their permanent homes. So, they began asking their families in Japan to find them eligible young women from their village or nearby villages to become their wife in Hawai‘i.