And the Power of Hibari’s Classic “Kawa no Nagare no Youni”

Jodie Chiemi Ching

Hawai‘i’s enthusiasm for Japanese popular music started after World War II. “By 1950, nisei orchestras were flourishing and performing to enthusiastic Japanese American audiences. These orchestras whetted the appetite for Japanese popular entertainment that was cautious at first and grew with enthusiasm in postwar Hawai‘i,” writes Dr. Christine Yano, professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa in her book, “Crowning the Nice Girl.”

After starring in the movie, “Kanashiki Kuchiyube,” Misora Hibari’s fame as a prodigy found its way to Hawai‘i. Even as a child, she was considered to have the understanding and emotional maturity of an adult. So when the 12-year-old superstar arrived in the Islands, she was welcomed with a lively audience that filled the old Civic Auditorium from wall to wall. Hibari also performed at McKinley High School and on the Big Island. Proceeds from her shows went to help build the Club 100’s clubhouse honoring the World War II 100th Infantry Battalion soldiers.

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