Textured Lives:
Stories from the Plantations of Hawai‘i

The exhibition’s media pieces have been packaged into a DVD available through the Museum Store.

The exhibition includes four video components produced by the Museum’s award-winning Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center.

  • Barbara Kawakami: A Textured Life
    An intimate portrait of the woman who—after growing up on a plantation, working for over three decades as a seamstress, and entering college for the first time at age fifty-three—went on to uncover the lost history of Hawai‘i’s early Japanese picture brides.
  • Picture Bride Stories
    Through rare oral histories, photos, and moving images, these short documentaries tell the stories of Haruno Tazawa and Shizu Kaigo, two early Japanese picture brides in Hawai‘i.
  • Plantation Clothing Preservation (watch video below)
    A look at the efforts taken to preserve intricately woven and hand-painted kimono and pre-war plantation clothing.
  • Plantation Roots
    Vestiges of the plantation experience—while exploitative and grueling—can still be seen in Hawai‘i’s culture. The camaraderie the workers relied upon to survive the plantation system has evolved into the spirit of warmth and generosity known as “aloha.”

Additional media resources on

Watch video clips from an interview with Barbara Kawakami >>

Other related video clips: