Hawaiian Plantation Haiku Series

Lau, Tyler A.
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My name is Tyler Lau and I am a student at the University of Hawaii Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Secondary Education focusing in Japanese. Originally these haiku were for a reading response assignment for ITE 440: Curriculum Implications of Multicultural Education, a course taught by Dr. Patricia Espiritu Halagao. The assignment was to do a poem, drawing, or song response to a book by Milton Murayama and a chapter from a book by Ronald Takaki. Both authors describe the racially-based harsh treatment and working conditions of plantation workers in Hawaii. Takaki talked about the history of sugar cane plantations in Hawaii and the life and working conditions of plantation workers from different countries. Murayama’s work is fictional but accurately depicts plantation life from a Japanese plantation worker’s view, utilizing local pidgin to narrate the story. Because of that I decided to do the haiku poems in the standard 5-7-5-syllable format, while putting myself in the shoes of a Japanese plantation worker. I referred to Murayama’s book for the Japanese and pidgin language usage and Takaki’s book for historical background and details. Like my teacher and classmates, I hope you will enjoy these haiku and maybe learn, laugh, or even cry.
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