Michael G. Malaghan
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Editor’s note: We continue Michael G. Malaghan’s serialized historical novel, “Picture Bride — A Family Saga,” based on the Japanese immigrant experience. Malaghan’s trilogy takes readers from turn-of-the-20th-century-Japan to Hawai‘i in the picture bride era; the Islands during World War II, highlighted by the exploits of the Nisei soldiers; and beyond.

The novel, which is now available as a printed softcover book, opens with 12-year-old Haru-chan, fleeing her home in Amakusa, Kyüshü, for Hiroshima, where she becomes the picture bride of a Buddhist priest in Hawai‘i.

Author Michael Malaghan is a retired businessman who divides his time between Hawai‘i, Georgia and Japan.

Chapter 117

While Judd mused on the local reaction to the trial, his island was about to be assaulted from another direction. A manic Adm. Stirling was firing off an incendiary report to Washington.

“Hawai‘i is not safe for white women. Hundreds of rapes remain unsolved by an inept police force. Recommend you cancel Pacific Fleet’s annual visit to Hawai‘i.”

If that wasn’t enough of an attention-grabber, he concluded, “The civilian government is incapable of providing the basics of public safety. The police are corrupt. The governor is weak. In a few years, the non-whites will have a majority and vote in their own kind, resulting in a complete breakdown of civilized society. Hawai‘i must be placed under Navy rule until such time as public order and political maturity can be assured.”

Although Stirling labeled the report “SECRET,” he made sure someone on his staff leaked his invective to a New York Times reporter.

* * *

Judd hated the rat-a-tat-tat staccato of the teleprinter. Even with his door closed, the machine adjacent to his secretary’s desk clacked away with incoming messages at 60 noisy words a minute. Most communications were mercifully short reports from Hawai‘i’s territorial delegate in Washington. But today, the day after the trial, the clacking was insistent. While the machine continued to bang away, his secretary ran in with the first page off the machine. “You’d better read this,” she said, her face ashen. “It’s from the New York Times.”

This is war, thought Judd halfway down the page. His mind swirled as he finished reading the admiral’s hatchet job on his governance. It’s not enough that Stirling’s blind belief in Massie’s story is fracturing the harmony of our island, but now he is determined to discredit us before the world. His Southern heritage, nurtured by those who take the law into their own hands when a colored is accused of violating a white woman, has led his raging temper to dream up a complete fabrication of civil breakdown and label it a report that demands, in so many words, that only his appointment as military ruler can save Hawai‘i from savagery. The nerve! This cannot stand, Judd told himself. Stirling! He says I’m weak. Well, let’s see how I can correct that bigot’s impression. Let’s see how he handles the truth.

The Times reporter said he had 30 minutes to offer a rebuttal. “Call this reporter,” Judd told his secretary. Judd’s calm-under-fire intuition told him that a direct attack on the admiral’s character and mental fitness would only incite a war of words that would sell more newspapers. So, in a reasoned voice belying his outrage at the admiral, Judd assured the reporter that a hung jury merely meant that “American justice was running its course and the Islands were as safe as ever. When have you ever heard of crime in Hawai‘i before this single alleged incident?”

When he put the phone down, he looked at yesterday’s newspaper extras and today’s editions strewn across his desk. He reached for the Hawaii Hochi four-page edition and once again studied Taka’s column.

* * *

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