Racial profiling in Hawaiʻi 1930s-style

According to a Honolulu Star Advertiser reprint of a February 27, 1984 article, “Hostage Plan Revealed: Patton Eyed Local Japanese,” General George Patton drafted a plan while stationed in Hawai’i to take 128 Hawai’i Japanese leaders hostage in the event of a war with Japan.  The plans were written between 1935 and 1937, revealing that the racist Japanese internment during World War II came from deeply rooted military policies and were not an aberration.  Michael Slackman, historian for the USS Arizona Memorial, uncovered the plan in the National Archives.  The article states:

No less a military luminary than Gen. George S. Patton Jr. drafted a plan to take 128 local leaders of the Japanese Community — including two men who went on to become members of the Hawaii Supreme Court — hostage during World War II.


The plan was written sometime between 1935 and 1937, when Patton was stationed in Hawaii as chief of military intelligence, Slackman said, and it was discarded as obsolete before the war started and never implemented.

However, some local Japanese leaders were taken into custody by martial law authorities soon after the Pearl Harbor attack and were incarcerated first at Sand Island and then at Honouliuli.

Slackman discovered the document, titled “A General Staff Study/Plan: Initial Seizure of Orange National,” while doing research for the Arizona Memorial in the National Archives last May.


The plan first called for making the telephones of the target hostages inoperative through busy signals. Then, 80 soldiers were to board 20 trucks and arrest 88 civilians who lived in the Honolulu area. Another 40 hostages were to be taken by military commanders in other districts. …

Once arrested, most of the hostages … were to be held at the Schofield Barracks hospital

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