Remembering the Man Who Lived and Breathed Hawaii Hochi

Karleen Chinen

Paul Yempuku was the last samurai. At least that’s what I came to conclude over the years. The word “cannot” had no place in his vocabulary. At times, that made it hard to work with him. He could be so pa‘akikï (hardheaded), and even autocratic, at times. But he mellowed with age, and in the last few years of his life, he would just smile and shrug his shoulders if we disagreed about something.

Yempuku-san passed away peacefully at his home in Kaimukï on May 20 after a short illness. He lived 92 full years and was an eyewitness to so much history. He didn’t make it to his 100th birthday as he always said he would, but 92 was close enough.

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