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JAMES KALEIKAPU KAHOLOKULA Baron Kaholokula is the son of Robert “Robbie” and Pua Kaholokula of Kaua‘i and grandson of James Kaholokula, an original member of the 100th Infantry Battalion. Baron is a music teacher at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama and a Waikiki entertainer. While growing up, he heard stories about his grandfather and, intrigued, decided to pursue a degree in history at Chaminade University. The following article is an encapsulation of Kaholokula’s presentation given to sophomore students at Kamehameha Schools Maui on Nov. 17, 2016.

James Kaleikapu Kaholokula

James Kaholokula at Camp McCoy, 1943

life eluded the independent and

The cousins were renowned for the

was born on May 27, 1918, in Maui’s

rebellious-minded youngster who left

music they played, which provided

Pauwela, a tiny village of a few

school after the 4th grade and faced

all the men with a nostalgic tie to

Hawaiian and Japanese families.

plantation life as his only future.

the islands. James and Daniel were

Kaholokula was himself half-Hawaiian

The military presented an

part of the Hawaiian Serenaders and

and half-Japanese, not an ideal

opportunity for change and, with

entertained troops on visits with the

combination in terms of the social-

the formation of the all-Nisei 100th

100th’s Aloha Baseball Team on the

economic environment of that time

Infantry Battalion, James decided

continental United States.


to join. He convinced his cousin,

Following annexation in 1898,

But once shipped overseas in

Daniel, a full-blooded Hawaiian, to

Europe, life was hell. At the Battle

Hawaiians were forced to suppress

enlist with him. While his leadership

of Monte Cassino, by some miracle

their culture and language, while the

qualities led to his rise into the non-

both Kaholokulas survived a suicide

Japanese, who were brought to the

commissioned officer ranks, James’

charge by Company B and reached

islands as plantation laborers, were

“kolohe” impulses resulted in his

the safety of the river wall with only

denied U.S. citizenship and economic

being stripped of rank on more than

28 of the 180 men in the company.

opportunities outside the plantations.

one occasion. The men sometimes

James had another close call with

Kaholokula’s father owned a

faced rejection from the Japanese

small bar in Pa‘ia where young

soldiers who saw them as “Kanakas”

James would sometimes have the

and haole officers who saw them as

opportunity to entertain the patrons.


But success in other aspects of his



Okage Sama de  

Nisei Veterans Memorial Center Spring 2017 Newsletter

Okage Sama de  

Nisei Veterans Memorial Center Spring 2017 Newsletter