“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hilo in Hawaii County, Hawaii — Hawaiian Island Archipelago (Pacific Ocean)

Waiakea Town (Yashijima)

Waiakea Town (Yashijima) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 1, 2017
1. Waiakea Town (Yashijima) Marker
Inscription.  Waiakea Town, or Yashijima, was a close-knit, vibrant community which occupied what is known today as Banyan Drive. The golf course and park that you see today was once filled with homes, businesses and Waiakea Kai School, all of which provided the backbone for a local economy of fishing, stevedoring, sugar, railroading and service industries. Many businesses exist today have their roots in Waiakea Town; some of these businesses include Suisan Company, LTD., and KTA Superstores and Cafe 100.
The Waiakea Social Settlement which stood in the area just behind where the clock stands today was the hub of activities for the children of Waiakea. The Waiakea Pirates Athletic Club was established in 1924 and contained the Waiakea Pirates baseball team which still exists today.
The tsunami of 1946 had a huge impact on Hilo and Shinmuchi and to a lesser extent on Waiakea Town. However these communities rebuilt and moved on, looking to to the future, never expecting what was to happen in 1960.
On the afternoon and evening of May 22, 1960 a warning was issued to the State of Hawaii following a magnitude 9.5 earthquake just off the coast
Waiakea Town (Yashijima) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 1, 2017
2. Waiakea Town (Yashijima) Marker
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of Chile. The community response was mixed. Many evacuated immediately, many decided to wait and see what would happen and some residents (the curious and the foolhardy) went to the Suisan Fish Market to watch for the tsunami which was expected to arrive in Hilo just before midnight. When midnight came and went and there were no big waves, many assumed that there was going to be no big tsunami that night. However, the first crest had already been recorded that night and at 12:46 a.m. the second crest arrived in Hilo and flooded Kamehameha Avenue. At 1:00 a.m. the water began to withdraw from Hilo Bay. At 1:04 a.m. the 20-foot high wall of water arrived at Suisan. It took all in its path. Waiakea Town was destroyed.
The Waiakea Social Settlement clock is frozen in time, at 1:04 a.m. on the morning of May 23, 1960. The clock is a lone reminder of what was once a bustling and vibrant community. It is now a symbol of strength, courage and resiliency of the once Waiakea Town residents.

"All I remember is water coming through the floors and I remember the lights going off and all of a sudden the house shaking" -- Gloria Kobayashi

Lives Lost May 23, 1960
Hazel Baji, 25 • Rufino Bas, 72 • Fortonato Baiamad, 65 • Clara, Camaram 46 • Wesley K. Campbell, 53 • Richard S. Castro, 45 • Lani K DeLuz, 60 • Epitacio Domingo, 54 • Linda F. Dryman,
Photographs of the Tsunami Devastation image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 1, 2017
3. Photographs of the Tsunami Devastation
3 • Michael G. Dryman, 7 • Jereniah K. Estahilio, 13, • Hatsumi Elsie Fujiyama, 35 • Alan T. Hashimoto, 8 months • Katie F.N. Hataraka, 44 • Daniel S. Ichijo, 32 • Clarence S. Imada, 16 • Joseph B. Importe, 54 • Roy Toyotaro Kanda, 74 • Shoji Kawano, 82 • Shoji Kawano, 62 • Sumako Kawano, 58 • Fay N. Kimura, 5 months • Myles K. Kinmura, 4 • Samuel K. Kimura 30 • Mary H. Kirk, 55 • Hanami Kiyosaki, 58 • Shio Kobyashi, 61 • Chan Vee Kow, 55 • Robert E. Lemmon Jr., 15 • Eugenio Lito, 65 • James K.K. Look, 30 • Maria Mabunga, 64 • Constnace E. Masutani, 12 • Mildered Y. Matsumura, 37 • Toshio Matsumura, 39 • Mariano Marciano, 62 • Pedro Moniz, 70 • Atsushi Motomura, 37 • Alvin M. Nakashima, 6 • Karl M. Nakashima, 10 • George B. Namauu Jr., 19 • Francis B. Omega, 34 • Robert A.B. Omega, 29 • Lynn A. Ota, 10 • Wakino Ota, 72 • Julian Pasiliban, 66 • Toyoji Sato, 69 • Maria L. Sea, 89 • Jamie Sugundo, 69 • Brian H. Shimazu, 9 • Daisy Shizuko Shimazu, 35 • Kishi Simazu, 81 • Nick M. Shimazu, 47 • Rachel M. Shimazu, 6 • Gary V. Tabing, 3 • Yumi Taniguchi, 77 • Arthur Topley, 62, Masanosuke Tsunoda, 74 • John Wailing, 67 • Chuichi Yamamoto, 72 • Esuko Yamamoto, 45 • Suezi Yoshioka, 79
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian AmericansDisastersSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is May 23, 1960.
Location. 19° 
Waiakea Social Settlement Clock image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 2, 2017
4. Waiakea Social Settlement Clock
43.368′ N, 155° 4.05′ W. Marker is in Hilo, Hawaii, in Hawaii County. Marker is on Kamehameha Avenue near Lihiwai Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1568 Kamehameha Avenune, Hilo HI 96720, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Waiakea Social Settlement Clock (a few steps from this marker); Hilo Bay: In the days of Kamehameha (approx. 0.6 miles away); Kamehameha at Hilo Bay (approx. 0.6 miles away); Mo'oheau Park and Bandstand (approx. 1.1 miles away); Hilo Town Plantation Bell Tower (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Spiritual Power of Stones (approx. 1½ miles away); Lyman House Memorial (approx. 1½ miles away); Onomea Bay (approx. 6.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hilo.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 2, 2017. It was originally submitted on December 2, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 415 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 2, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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May. 9, 2021