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Hāmākua Hero: A True Plantation Story with Dr. Patsy Iwasaki

May 29 @ 5:30 pm 6:30 pm

Author and researcher Patsy Iwasaki will give a presentation on her graphic novel Hāmākua Hero: A True Plantation Story, which tells the story of Katsu Goto, an early Japanese immigrant in Hawai’i who was martyred in his pursuit of sugarcane workers’ rights. 

Virtual Talk with Dr. Patsy Iwasaki
Wednesday, May 29
on Zoom

About the Book

In 1885, tens of thousands of men and women left behind family, friends, and their homeland for these islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to work on the sugar plantations of Hawai‘i. Filled with hopes and dreams, they were drawn to this tropical paradise to seek their fortunes. 

This graphic novel, Hāmākua Hero: A True Plantation Story brings the Japanese-Hawai‘i immigrant experience to life through one man’s hardships, success, injustice and tragedy, shedding light on an intriguing but little-known piece of Hawai‘i’s past. 

About the Author

Patsy Y. Iwasaki, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. She received her Ph.D. in Learning Design and Technology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and also has an M.Ed. in education. Her research interests and teaching practices include instructional design and development, English studies, media writing, migration narratives in graphic novels, documentary film, diversity, place and community-based, culturally relevant resources in education, and cross-cultural exchange and collaboration. 

Dr. Iwasaki received a research grant from the Goto of Hiroshima Foundation which later inspired her to collaborate with artist Berido to create the graphic novel Hāmākua Hero: A True Plantation Story about Katsu Goto, a 19th century labor advocate and key figure in the Japan-Hawai‘i immigration, labor and social evolution narrative. In addition to conducting research and developing educational projects about Goto, she is currently creating and producing a documentary film about him. 

She has conducted extensive research activities, published articles, and given presentations in the United States, Asia and Europe in these areas. Her teaching and research awards include the UH Hilo Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation. She is active in the community, serving on the boards for several organizations dedicated to diversity, education and youth. 

She balances her work, projects, and family with snacking on dark chocolate and watching The Mandalorian.