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
SEE KAHOLOKULA ON PG 11