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Local Story – The Massie-Kahahawai Case and the Culture of History - Hawaii Scholarship Online
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Local Story: The Massie-Kahahawai Case and the Culture of History

John P. Rosa


The Massie–Kahahawai case of 1931–1932 shook the Territory of Hawai’i to its very core. Thalia Massie, a young Navy wife, alleged that she had been kidnapped and raped by “some Hawaiian boys” in Waikīkī. A few days later, five young men stood accused of her rape. Mishandling of evidence and contradictory testimony led to a mistrial, but before a second trial could be convened, one of the accused was kidnapped and beaten by a group of Navy men and a second, Joseph Kahahawai, lay dead from a gunshot wound. Thalia’s husband, her mother, and two Navy men were convicted of the lesser charge of mans ... More

Keywords: Massie–Kahahawai case, Hawai’i, mistrial, kidnap, rape, manslaughter, Native Hawaiians, Asian immigrants, racial tension, sexual tension

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780824828257
Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016 DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824828257.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John P. Rosa, author
University of Hawai'i at Manoa