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Voices from the Canefields – Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai'i - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Voices from the Canefields: Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai'i

Franklin Odo


Japanese immigrant workers constituted the bulk of Hawaii’s sugar plantation labor force between the 1880s and the 1940s. They became the single largest ethnic group in a multi-racial society and their cultures decisively influenced much of contemporary Hawai`i. The holehole bushi are folk songs unique to this group; based on tunes brought from Japan but reflecting work, living conditions, love, lust, despair and courage in their new environments. This is the first serious study of this genre. Many lyrics reflect perspectives from Japanese women workers, a group only marginally represented in ... More

Keywords: Folk songs, Japanese Americans, Asian Americans, Ethnic memory, Sugar history, Labor history, Immigrant women, History of Hawai`i, Historical recovery

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199813032
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199813032.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Franklin Odo, author
Asian Pacific American Program, Smithsonian Institution