killed on December 7, 1941
It is commonly believed that all civilians who died as a result of friendly fire on December 7, 1941, (either instantly or later from wounds received) were killed by five inch US Navy anti-aircraft shells. During the two hour Japanese attack (from approximately 7:50 am to 9:45 am) practically the only anti-aircraft guns in operation were the guns manned by sailors and marines on ships in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Harbor and out in the ocean. However, some US Coast Guard ships in Honolulu Harbor and out in the ocean were also shooting at Japanese and American airplanes during the attack; some of their shells may have also resulted in civilian casualties. Also, anti-aircraft guns on Army and Army Air Force bases were in operation after the attack was over, at which time civilians were still being killed. Navy and Coast Guard guns were also shooting at American airplanes at this time (Japanese planes left after the attack). Civilians killed after the attack might have been killed by gunfire from all five military branches.
What is known for certain is that all 32 civilians killed in Honolulu died from friendly fire. The Japanese did not target Honolulu. Only one bomb was dropped in the city, in an industrial area where there were no casualties, and that appears to have been an accident. Outside of Honolulu, however, the subject gets a little hazy. The one civilian killed at Pearl Harbor is often listed as dying from friendly fire, although he actually died from an accident. Tai Chung Loo (Age 19), reported to duty as a civilian worker at Pearl Harbor when he heard about the attack. In the general mayhem at the main gate, he was thrown from a truck and suffered a head injury, from which he died at the Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital on December 12, 1941 his nineteenth birthday.
Of the 48 civilians killed as a result of the attack, the number killed by friendly fire varies from 33 to 37.
A group of Japanese American children were attending the Chuo Gakuin language school located at the corner of Nuuanu Avenue and Vineyard Boulevard, which is a part of Foster Botanical Garden today. Many Japanese parents in Hawaii sent their children to Japanese language school to learn the Japanese language and culture. This schooling took place on weekdays, after public school ended each day. The classes would last a few hours. Some students would attend this school on Sundays also. The Japanese American students who were Christian would go to Sunday school at the church their family belonged to. Those who were not Christian would go to Sunday school at the Japanese language school.
Before classes began, the students heard planes flying overhead. Suddenly, the sounds of explosions caught their attention, coming from the direction of Pearl Harbor. Looking out the windows they saw smoke rising from the distant ships.
The youths did not realize it was the beginning of war. Like most adults, they thought it was just another elaborate exercise by the American military. The school teachers, however, sensed that something was wrong. One of the teachers decided to take her students upstairs into the auditorium. There she began to play the piano and led the kids in singing a rabbit song, to get their minds off the loud noises they were hearing outside.
While they were singing, an improperly fused US Navy anti-aircraft shell exploded across the street. A few seconds later another shell exploded in the school yard. Metal shrapnel flew upward into the auditorium. One boy was injured seriously and needed to have his arm amputated.
One of the students in this Sunday school class was Jackie Yoneto Hirasaki (Age 8). After the explosion took place, the teacher told his students to run home. Jackie ran to the restaurant that his family operated a block away at the corner of Nuuanu Avenue and Kukui Street. When his mother heard what happened, she told her three children to stay inside the restaurant; she felt that it would be the safest place to be.
She would regret making that decision, because later that morning, another anti-aircraft shell landed on the restaurant. Jackie was killed in the explosion, along with his only brother, Robert Yoshito Hirasaki (Age 3); and his only sister, Shirley Kinue Hirasaki (Age 2), and his father, Jitsuo Hirasaki (Age 48). The mother, although wounded, survived. Their cousin, George Jay Manganelli aka George Haruyuki Okada (Age 14), a student at St. Louis College, also died. Their bodies were cremated and the ashes buried in one gravesite at Diamond Head Memorial Park Cemetery. Five members of this family died the largest loss of life for any single family, military or civilian, on December 7, 1941.
In addition to these five persons, several other patrons who just happened to be in the restaurant that morning, also lost their lives. Three of these young men killed were Christian Youth Organization (CYO) boxers: Fred Masayoshi Higa (Age 21);
Paul S. Inamine (Age 19); and James Takao Takefuji (aka Koba) (Age 20). Their bodies were cremated and their ashes sent to their families on the Big Island.
Four of the men who died in the restaurant were from the Big Island: Robert Seiko Izumi (Age 25); Masayoshi Nagamine (Age 27); Yoshio Tokusato (Age 19); and Hisao Uyeno (Age 20).
David Arakaki also ran home, as the teacher at the Chuo Gakuin language school had instructed him. It was not until he arrived at his house that he realized that his sister, Nancy Masako Arakaki (Age 8), was missing. She had not left the school. Nancy was mortally wounded by friendly fire and died before reaching the hospital.
The death of Nancy was not the only tragedy that the Arakaki family would suffer in World War II. In May, 1941, the father of the Arakaki family took his children Alice and Henry to Japan. He stayed with them until his daughter June arrived the next month. The Arakaki family sent these three children to Japan to further their knowledge of the Japanese language and culture as did a lot of the other Japanese Americans who could afford to do so. When war broke out between Japan and the United States on December 7, 1941, the three Arakaki children were trapped in Japan. They endured the same hardships, which everyone else endured in Japan during World War II.
In 1944, Mr. Arakaki was interred by the US Army at Camp Honolulu on Oahu and lost his trucking business. His family was never told why he was arrested but suspected it was because the military thought he was a spy for Japan. While his business involved him in driving his truck to army bases on the island to sell vegetables, the military probably suspected him of spying. Only a few persons of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii were interned, such as the principal and some of the teachers at the Japanese language school. The US Army controlled the rest of the Japanese population in Hawaii during World War II through martial law, which affected the lives of all civilians.
In the last year of the war, 1945, American planes were dropping napalm bombs on Japanese cities. During one of these firebombing raids over Tokyo, Henry Arakaki was wounded and spent three months in the hospital.
In 1947, Mr. Arakaki was released from internment and the three Arakaki children in trapped in Japan were finally allowed to return home to Hawaii. It was only then; that the three children learned that their sister Nancy had died the day the war began, six years earlier.
Yaeko Lillian Oda (Age 6), was born at Ewa on August 20, 1935, the daughter of Ichikuro Oda and Koshino Okii Oda. Yaeko was in one of the Ewa plantation villages, when she was hit by a piece of shrapnel of unknown origin. The shrapnel lodged in her skull. She was taken to the Ewa Plantation Hospital. The x-ray taken at the hospital was underexposed and did not reveal the extent of her skull injury. Her condition continued to deteriorate. She was taken to Children's Hospital in Honolulu five weeks later, in January 1942. A second x-ray was taken at twice the exposure of the original x-ray and showed her condition to be worse than originally thought. She never did recover. She died on February 25, 1942. Of all civilian or military personnel mortally wounded on December 7, she was the last to die.
Francisco Tacderan (Age 34), a Ewa plantation worker who was an immigrant from the Philippine Islands, was wounded in the head by shrapnel on December 7, whether by friendly fire or enemy fire is not certain. He was taken to the Ewa Plantation Hospital where he died on December 13; he was buried at Ocean View Cemetery three days later.
Richard Masaru Soma (Age 22), was mortally wounded. He was apparently strafed by a Japanese plane in Wahiawa and died five days later.
Rowena Kamohaulani Foster (Age 3), lived on Pearl City Peninsula near Pearl Harbor with her family. During the attack, she was hit in the chest by a piece of shrapnel. It is unclear what caused her death, enemy fire or friendly fire. She died shortly after arriving at the nearby Waipahu plantation hospital. Apparently two boys witnessed this incident. According to their sister, they were pretending to be hit by the shrapnel falling all around them. They did not think they would get hurt, until they saw Rowena get hit and start to bleed. However, the two boys claim that this incident did not happen in the manner in which their sister said it did. Exactly what did happen they would not say. Even as grown men, they still do not want to talk about what happened.
Tomaso Kimura (Age 19), was hit by shrapnel of unknown origin in the plantation village of Waipahu and died the same day.
The Ohta family lived near the intersection of King and McCully in Honolulu. Kiyoko Ohta (Age 21), went to visit her baby niece Janet Yumiko Ohta (Age 3 months) and the baby's mother Hayako Ohta (Age 19) during lunch break from her job. All three were killed when a shell exploded on the building. Janet was born on August 14, 1941. She was the youngest person to die on December 7th.
Kisa Hatate (Age 41), also died in this area. Her death made orphans of her three young children, since her husband had died two years earlier.
A few blocks away near the intersection of Hauoli Street and Algaroba Street, Ai Harada (Age 54) lost her life.
The parents of the Ornellas family attended Catholic Mass at Our Lady of the Mount Church the morning of December 7th. They had planned to go home and pick up their children and drop them off at a later Mass while the parents went grocery shopping. But, before they could get to their house, an anti-aircraft shell had exploded on Kamanaiki Street in Kalihi Valley and killed their four family members, Barbara June Ornellas (Age 8), Gertrude Ornellas (Age 16), Peter Souza Lopes (Age 33), and Frank Ohashi (Age 29). Gertrude was standing on the front porch when she was hit by shrapnel from the exploding shell; she died at the hospital. Barbara, whose nickname was "Tiny" was in her bedroom. She was hit in the head and died instantly. A funeral was held at Our Lady of the Mount Church on December 10th for the two sisters and their uncle, Peter. They were buried at Kaiulani Cemetery. Frank Ohashi was buried at Puea Cemetery.
On Leilehua Lane, near the intersection of School Street and Fort Street, Edward Koichi Kondo (Age 19) lost his life. Several other members of his family were injured; and two other civilians, a father and daughter, were also killed.
In this same area, Torao Migita, the only Japanese American Serviceman to die on December 7th. His family was told that he died at Wheeler Field but military records show that he was actually killed in downtown Honolulu.
Born in Kalihiwai, Kauai, on October 25, 1914, Migita was a private with Company D of the 298th Infantry Regiment, which was stationed at Schofield Barracks. He had a weekend pass to visit his family in town when the attack began. Hearing on the radio that all military personnel were to report to their ship or base, he was heading back to Schofield Barracks when he was killed by friendly fire.
Although his name was originally omitted when the Remembrance Exhibit was constructed in 1991, Migita was not overlooked by the people of Hawaii. His name was the first to be inscribed on the "temporary" World War II Memorial which contains the names of all servicemen from Hawaii who died in World War II. His name is listed first because he was the first local serviceman to die in the war.
The Adams and McCabe families had attended Catholic Mass at St. Ann Church in Kaneohe that Sunday morning and were on their way home when they saw the Japanese bombing Kaneohe Bay Bay Naval Air Station. They thought it was just a drill.
Then, they heard the announcement on the radio that all Pearl Harbor Shipyard workers should report to work. So, Joseph Kanehoa Adams (Age 50), his son, John Kalauwae Adams (Age 18), Joseph's brother-in-law, Joseph McCabe, Sr. (Age 43), and Joseph McCabe's nephew David Kahookele (Age 23), got into the same car and took Pali Highway to get to Pearl Harbor. On Judd Street, near Iholena Street, an anti-aircraft shell hit their car and killed all four men. Nearby, Matilda Kaliko Faufata (Age 12), was standing in the doorway of her family's house. Shrapnel from the car explosion hit her in the chest. She died before she reached the operating table.
Joseph Kanehoa and Joseph McCabe were active in their parish. Joseph McCabe was the athletic director for St. Ann's Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). St. Ann's CYO, along with his Shop 72 co-workers at Pearl Harbor, helped pay for his tombstone at St. Ann Cemetery. The words "Remember Pearl Harbor" are inscribed on the tombstone. Following their funeral in St. Ann Church, all four were buried in this cemetery.
John Carreira (Age 51), of Portuguese ancestry, was a captain in the Honolulu Fire Department. He was killed when a Japanese bomb exploded in the hangar where he was fighting fires at Hickam Air Force Base. John was buried at Oahu Cemetery on December 9, 1941.
Emma Gonsalves (Age 34), was mortally wounded on Kinau Street near Pikoi Street and died the next day. Her body was cremated and the ashes shipped to Pauwela, Maui.
Daniel LaVerne (Age 25), a professional fighter and member of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) coaching staff also died as a result of the attack. Daniel, a native of California, was a defense worker at Red Hill near Pearl Harbor. Strafed by a Japanese plane, he died on December 10th. His body was cremated and the ashes shipped to San Francisco.
Eunice Wilson (Age 7 months), was the daughter of Eunice Wilson and Patrick Kahamokupuni Chong (Age 30), who were not married to each other. They were all three in the same house near Punchbowl in Honolulu when a shell exploded nearby and killed the father and daughter; the mother survived.
The USS Arizona Memorial is dedicated to all that lost their lives as a result of the attack, but only lists the names of the sailors and marines that died on the Battleship Arizona in Pearl Harbor. The Remembrance Exhibit, which is located on the back lawn of the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, lists the names of everybody else who died on the island. The exhibit was dedicated on December 3, 1991.
Recently, the National Park Service made corrections to the names on this wall. Jack G. Henkels suggested the addition of middle names and ages to the names of the civilian casualties. With the assistance of Nanette Napoleon Purnell and Ray Emory, research was completed for the changes. The newly renovated Remembrance Exhibit was rededicated on July 4, 1996.