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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping and fascinating incident during WWII
An amazing tale about a little-known but fascinating incident directly resulting from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. One of the Japanese pilots taking part in the bombing was forced to crash land on a small Hawaiian island, survived in good condition, and was able to persuade, apparently with little trouble, an American-born couple of Japanese ancestry, the Haradas, to...
Published on July 26, 1998

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great story, but only an OK book.
In "The Niihau Incedent," Beekman uses interviews of some of the principal individuals in the story, along with thorough research of historical recodrd and news accounts, to relate the story of the "invasion" of the Hawai'ian island of Ni'ihau by a Japanese pilot during WWII. This is a fascinating story, and well worth reading, although the book is...
Published on February 23, 1998


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great story, but only an OK book., February 23, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
In "The Niihau Incedent," Beekman uses interviews of some of the principal individuals in the story, along with thorough research of historical recodrd and news accounts, to relate the story of the "invasion" of the Hawai'ian island of Ni'ihau by a Japanese pilot during WWII. This is a fascinating story, and well worth reading, although the book is not particularly well-written.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping and fascinating incident during WWII, July 26, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
An amazing tale about a little-known but fascinating incident directly resulting from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. One of the Japanese pilots taking part in the bombing was forced to crash land on a small Hawaiian island, survived in good condition, and was able to persuade, apparently with little trouble, an American-born couple of Japanese ancestry, the Haradas, to help him. The Haradas spoke both Japanese and English and quickly sympathized with him and his ideals. They helped him to the direct detriment and endangerment of their friends and neighbors (mostly of aboriginal Hawaiian ancestry) on the small, sparsely populated, isolated island of Niihau, an island with its own absorbing story apart from this incident. An unexpected look at the motivations and behavior of a secluded group of Americans when the chips were down and America was in mortal danger. Afterwards Mrs. Harada spoke about this tragedy out of both sides of her mouth with Japanese and Americans, appa! rently thinking that what she said in Japanese was safe from American ears.
The book is well researched and the events surrounding the incident are well written and described. This is definitely the book to read for this significant episode at the very dawn of America's involvement in World War II.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great topic, mediocre execution, April 22, 2010
By 
Marcus Peacock (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
A Japanese pilot crash lands in Hawaii after the Pearl Harbor attack and convinces a Japanese-American to take his co-workers hostage in an effort to retrieve some secret papers. That nonfictional story-line alone earns this three stars. Beekman does a yeoman's job ferreting out the details and working it into a book. However, I'm guessing Beekman, who was a reporter, was better at writing newspaper stories than this full length book. He uses a clear, but rather dry, narrative style. Beekman's advocacy for Japanese immigrants also raises its head a few times at the end of the book. Not that it bothers me, but it makes you wonder whether his point of view may have colored any of his reporting of the incident itself. Pictures and one handy map are nice additions.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten tale which explains Japanese internment in WWII, August 17, 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
This is a fascinating tale, almost completely forgotten now, a side story to the larger dramas of the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the time, it was hugely important in the decision to intern some 100,000 Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii and the West Coast. Simply put, there was a very real fear that in the event of a Japanese invasion of these two areas (which seemed very real after the attack on Pearl Harbor) the local Japanese-Americans would aid the enemy as had happened on Niihau.
Time passes, and political correctness, revisionist history, and the very isolation of the island of Niiahu (which cannot be visited except by permission of the locals or from the Robinson landowners) have all caused this story to disappear into the land of forgotten memories. Nowadays, the PC thinking is that the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII was a misguided result of paranoia and racism on the part of the American government, and that the US had nothing to fear.
I have read a lot of WWII history and had never come across this story before. About two weeks ago, while vacationing in Hawaii, I found this book in the gift shop of the Visitor's Center of the Arizona Memorial. I was waiting for my scheduled ferry ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial, and speed-read/browsed through this book. I have since filled in some of the details that I missed on my cursory reading of this book with some Internet searches.
The book is written with a chatty, semi-novelized style, typical of so much of current non-fiction history today. I still have a hard time with this style of writing, especially when the author starts to put words and thoughts into the heads of characters in the story that die later on in the story, well before they could have told anybody to record this information for posterity.
Such was how Shigenori Nishikaichi was introduced in this book, wondering what to do as his A6M2 Zero fighter slowly leaked out its last bit of gas. While participating in the attack on Pearl Harbor, the plane's gas tanks were hit by gunfire. Nishikaichi ended up crash-landing in a rough field on Niihau.
A group of native Niihauans, although unaware of the attack on Pearl Harbor (there was no radio on the island), were suspicious enough of his arrival in a shot-up combat aircraft from Japan to take him prisoner, after first confiscating his gun and his military papers.
The two Japanese men on the island were then brought in by the Niihauns to translate for them. It was the Niihauns' intent to hold the pilot and deliver him to the owner of Niihau, Aylmar Robinson, when he stopped by on his weekly visit to the island
In secret conversation with the two Japanese, the pilot turned them against the natives. The older Japanese, who was born in Japan and was married to a Niihaun woman, later became terribly conflicted and fled into the hills for the duration of the incident.
The other Japanese, Yoshio Harada, who had been born in the Hawaiian islands and was married to a Japanese woman, gave full support to the pilot's schemes. He found the pilot's gun, as well as another gun (the only other one on the island), and used these to free the pilot. The two then went on a rampage, threatening and terrorizing the native Niihauns. They were trying to recover the pilot's confiscated papers. They also went back to the Zero fighter plane and set it on fire to keep it out of the hands of the US (the US military would not again have an opportunity to get hold of an intact Zero to study until July 1942)
As this was going on, a group of native Niihauns escaped and began the arduous journey by rowboat to the island of Kauai in order to get help. Aylmar Robinson had not been able to come to the island because travel between the islands had been restricted after the attack on Pearl Harbor. A detachment of US troops landed on Niihau about two days later.
By then the whole incident was over, mainly because of the courage of one of the Niihauns, Ben Kanahele, He got fed up with the threats from the pilot and Harada, and so he (and his wife) attacked them. In the struggle, Nishikaichi shot Kanahele three times, before Kanahele smashed him into a stone wall and killed him. At that point, Harada committed suicide with the other gun. Kanahele survived to tell many versions of his tale to many people, and was later awarded the purple heart and Presidential Medal of Merit.
Harada's wife was jailed for much of the rest of the war. Had Yoshio Harada lived, he almost certainly would have been convicted of treason and executed. After all, he had aided in the escape of an enemy combatant, helped destroy a valuable piece of military intelligence (the Zero fighter plane), and participated in the terrorization of the native Niihauns.
At the time, the Niihau incident was a big story locally, and was also well known to the military and the rest of the government. A song was written about it, and the incident was recorded into many of the early stories and books written about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The incident confirmed the worst fears of the US government and military. An American citizen of Japanese descent, with a previously spotless record, when confronted by an enemy Japanese, chose to abet and give aide and comfort to the enemy that looked just like him.
All in all, it is good to read this book, and to remember the facts as they actually were in the dark days at the beginning of WWII for America.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learned about this at the Pacific Aviation Museum, September 27, 2011
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This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
A little bit of Hawaii history that many may not know. I found it to be quite illuminating about the status and beliefs of the citizenry at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. One is stimulated to think what one would do, as did these citizens of Ni'ihau.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PC run amuck, July 18, 2013
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This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
This was a small incident that had world wide ramifications and is ignored for political correctness purposes by nearly everyone. Read it and get to the core issues of who we are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A useful book, May 2, 2013
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This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
This topic is ofthen aluded to in other reads i have done, and it was good to get a more in depth look at it. The writing style though is a bit awkward, almost as if English is a second language, or the editor should have cleaned it up some to make the reading smoother
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written and researched, a little biased, December 26, 2012
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This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
I strongly recommend reading the book, as it gives a pretty clear picture of how people can find themselves swayed by their fears and their desires, to do "the wrong thing." The writer seems to place too much of the blame on the racism that the U.S. practiced against the 1st or 2nd generation Japanese at the time. Certainly, the U.S. was a more racist society at the time and it is understandable how that influenced what happened and why it happened, but (IMHO) there is too much sympathy given to the Japanese pilot, Japanese government, and towards Harad, who turned against the U.S.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read., April 15, 2014
By 
M. J. King (Seattle, WA USA USA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
Interesting story about a small, overlooked portion of a very dramatic day in US history. Well told, although very simply written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fast read, March 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Niihau Incident: The True Story of the Japanese Fighter Pilot Who, After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Crash-Landed on the Hawaiian Island of Niihau and Terrorized the Residents (Paperback)
An Awesome story
Fast read
We'll researched and enjoyable
A must for Hawaiian history or WW2 buffs
Nice photos also
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