A Look Back on the Case That Rocked the AJA Community 90 Years Ago

Jonathan Y. Okamura
Commentary
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

This year — Sept. 18, to be exact — marks 90 years since Myles Yutaka Fukunaga, a 19-year-old Nisei, killed Gill Jamieson, a 10-year-old Punahou student in Waikïkï. In a highly publicized case which some have referred to as “the most horrific murder in the history of Hawai‘i,” Fukunaga was arrested a short time later and convicted just weeks later. He was hanged for the crime on Nov. 19, 1929, at Oahu Prison after legal efforts led by the Hawaii Hochi to obtain a new trial for him all failed.

Why did Fukunaga kidnap and bludgeon to death an innocent haole boy, a brutal act of violence that all those who knew him found unbelievable given his responsible manner and quiet disposition? By all accounts, Fukunaga (Myles was his chosen “American” name) was the typical Japanese “good boy,” who had never been in trouble before and worked long hours at Queen’s Hospital to help his impoverished parents financially. As the chönan, or eldest son, with six younger siblings, he had to go to work rather than continue his education and dutifully gave $35 of his $40 monthly earnings to his parents.

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