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Hostage Plan Revealed: Patton Eyed Local Japanese

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.

That intriguing bit of history was uncovered by Michael Slackman, historian for the USS Arizona Memorial, who discusses the plan in an article in the current issue of the journal "Biography" published by the University of Hawaii Press. …

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.

"Orange" was the term used for Japan before World War II. …

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.

Among those named were the late Wilfred Tsukiyama, who became the first chief justice of the state Supreme Court, and Masaji Marumoto, who was named an associate justice.

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