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Couple looks back on lifetime in West Maui

By Staff | May 6, 2010

Fredeliz Misay interviewed Hidemi and Vivian Ichiki about their lives in Lahaina.

(On Intergenerational Day on March 12 at Lahaina Intermediate School, Lahaina Complex After School Tutors from Lahainaluna High School interviewed West Maui kupuna to write their biographies. This is the third profile in the series.)

In Hidemi and Vivian Ichiki’s life, the first people who came to Hawaii were their parents. Vivian’s parents came here 90 years ago. Their parents both came from Japan on a boat. 

Hidemi and Vivian met each other at a dance hall in Kapalua (Honolua), and after a year they got married. Their wedding was at the Buddhist Church in Lahaina. Vivian’s wedding gown was made out of a parachute that was from her brother. The reception was in Hidemi’s yard in Honokowai. They didn’t have a honeymoon. 

They have four children — one girl and three boys. The second boy lives in Kahului and the other three live in Honolulu. Being parents, they both learned to take on more responsibilities, how to raise children the proper way and how to work and save money.

Vivian was born at Wainee Camp in Lahaina. Hidemi was born in Honokowai. Vivian’s parents worked at the pineapple fields in Kapalua, and after they retired, both moved to Honolulu. 

Hidemi’s parents, on the other hand, stayed home and raised pigs and other farm animals. They had a farm-like life. His father was also a worker in the cane fields.

At home as a child, Vivian’s chores were raising vegetables and chickens for food. She had to clean the house. She cooked using gas and kerosene and washed clothes with her hands, because they didn’t have electrical stoves and washing machines back then. To make extra money, she would wash other people’s clothes, too. These people were workers at the pineapple fields. Hidemi, as a child, began fixing bicycles and cars as part of his chores. He also had to clean the house and yard.

They both live in Lahaina now that they are married. When they were young, Vivian lived in Honokohua and Hidemi lived in Honokowai.  Vivian went to Honokohua Elementary School and went to Lahainaluna High School. She graduated in 1945. 

Hidemi went to Honokowai Elementary School. He then went to King Kamehameha III School, and for two years he went to Lahainaluna High School.

When they were young, they earned a living by working at the pineapple field and at the pineapple cannery. Vivian’s first job was picking pineapples in Kapalua. Hidemi’s first job was at the pineapple cannery in Lahaina as a mechanic.

Back then, Vivian would travel by walking most of the time, since they didn’t have any vehicle to use. Since Hidemi had his license at age 15, he was able to drive a car of his. Vivian also had the opportunity to travel to Canada, Japan and Europe by plane.

Vivian’s favorite pastime when she was a child was entertaining the military while she was part of Girl Scouts. Now, she enjoys volunteering everywhere, like at the West Maui Senior Center and church. She loves to dance hula, too. Hidemi’s favorite pastime was fixing cars, and now he loves to raise plants at home.

Finally, their advice to the future generation is be a good American, go to school, get good jobs to get good money and a better life, work hard, and always be honest, because honesty is the best policy.