History of Sakamaki/Hawley Collection

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Why do we have this collection in Hawaii?

sakamaki shunzoOne of the most important person that brought the Frank Hawley Collection to Hawaii, was Dr. Shunzo Sakamaki. Dr. Sakamaki was a prominent history professor between 1955 and 1971. The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Sakamaki Hall was named after him. Later on, he was dean of UH Summer Sessions, and that was when he purchased the Hawley Collection.

On January 10, 1961, Dr. Sakamaki left Honolulu for Tokyo to “arrange for the purchase of written materials on Ryukyu, so that a good library collection may be acquired for study and research."(Memorandum to the Governor dated January 5, 1961)

Dr. Sakamaki knew that his objective would be difficult because so many documents and materials were destroyed in Okinawa during World War II. Much of what remained had already been acquired by other institutions or was in private hands like the Hawley Collection.

The news of Hawley’s sudden death came on January 11, 1961, while Dr. Sakamaki was in Tokyo and it became a significant moment for Hawaii. He quickly contacted Mrs. Shimabukuro, whom he had never met, with the help of Mr. Ryotoku Higa, Mr. Shuncho Higa, and Mr. Zenchu Nakahara, notable Ryukyu scholars. The negotiations were quite intense because after Hawley’s death was publicized on January 13, many other institutions contacted her, including UCLA and the University of the Ryukyus. However, since Dr. Sakamaki contacted her first, which gave him the advantage.

The original asking price was $25,000 and the negotiation deadline was February 20. When he originally went to Japan to purchase some Ryukyu collections, he was only authorized to spend $5,000. He had to look for more funds and persuade the University of Hawaii management to support this expensive purchase in a very short time. After Dr. Sakamaki’s passionate plea, the University approved another $10,000 to purchase the Hawley Collection and he immediately offered the $15,000 to Mrs. Shimabukuro. After more negotiations, a price of $20,000 was agreed upon and the payment was delivered to her on March 9, 1961. The purchase of Frank Hawley's collection was completed.

The Hawaii Okinawa community played the key role by raising the additional $5,000 to complete the purchase. Dr. Sakamaki had borrowed $5,000 from the Hawaii Pacific Bank with a cosigner, Mr. Warren Higa, who was the President of the United Okinawa Association at that time. They set up the “Okinawa Research Fund” with the UH Foundation and over the next three years, the Hawaii Okinawa community made a substantial effort to help the fund.

Holding Okinawa cultural events was one way that the money was raised. Because of this support, the Hawley Collection is with us forever.

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Contact: Tokiko Y. Bazzell, Japan Specialist Librarian
Asia Collection, University of Hawaii at Manoa Library
2550 McCarthy Mall, Honolulu, HI 96822 U.S.A
Email: tokiko@hawaii.edu phn: 808-956-2315