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Okinawan Studies: Sakamaki Hawley Collection / 阪巻・宝玲コレクション

Guide to Okinawa/Ryukyu-related resources

Sakamaki/Hawley Collection Overview

Sakamaki/Hawley Collection Overview

The currently named Sakamaki Hawley Collection is a combination of two individual collections. The original Hawley Collection was purchased in 1961 by the University of Hawaiʻi after Frank Hawley’s death and consisted of over 2,000 physical pieces with 936 unique titles, many of the materials on Ryukyu/Okinawa.  Meanwhile, University of Hawaii history professor Shunzo Sakamaki had also built up his own private collection of materials on Ryukyu/Okinawa as he worked to establish the Ryukyu Research Institute at UH. Upon his passing in 1973, Sakamaki’s personal collection was incorporated into the Okinawa special collection with the existing Hawley Collection. The current Sakamaki Hawley Collection contains materials dating from the 1400s to the 1960s. The majority of the items are in Japanese, but there are also materials in various European, Chinese, and Ryukyuan languages. The materials are in different formats such as books, maps, scrolls, woodblock prints, handwritten manuscripts, bingata notebooks, periodicals, etc., with Western or Japanese traditional binding.  Since then, it has further expanded with the additions of other Ryukyu/Okinawa-related materials donated by UH Prof. Robert Sakai as well as by Hawley’s family with materials that they had acquired after Hawley’s passing. The Sakamaki Hawley Collection is now kept in the rare book cage at the Asia Collection of Hamilton Library and materials can be retrieved for researchers or for exhibitions with notice/arrangements made in advance. 

About Frank Hawley

picture of Frank Hawley

Frank Hawley was born on March 31, 1906, in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, a small town in northern England, to Albert and Jessica Hawley.  He grew up there and completed his compulsory education in Norton before leaving to attend Liverpool University. While at Liverpool University, he studied French and went to study abroad at Berlin, Sorbonne, and Cambridge Universities on research fellowships. After completing his studies in linguistics, he became a lecturer in Manchurian language at the Oriental Languages Department in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the London University.  It was there where he made the acquaintance of an English literature scholar from Japan and perhaps when his interest in Japan had been sparked. 

On September 1, 1931, at age 24, Hawley made his way to Japan to work for the Tokyo School of Foreign Languages (東京外国語学校) where he had been hired as a foreign language instructor.  For three years, he taught English there, as well as worked as a lecturer at the Tokyo University of Arts and Sciences (東京文理科大学) at the same time. What was remarkable about Frank Hawley was that, by the time Hawley had spent three years in Japan, he had become so fluent in Japanese that he had written papers and articles which appeared in Japanese magazines and newspapers. 

Over time, Frank Hawley also came to be known as an avid book collector as he began collecting all kinds of materials on Japan. He invested a large amount of his time, money, and passion in collecting books, manuscripts, and artworks. (His combined salary at the time when he was teaching simultaneously at the two schools was 7-8 times the amount of what an average Japanese earned, most of which he spent on books.) His interests in Japan were wide-ranging. Among his collection, it included materials on washi, herbs, whales, noh, old printing, old dictionaries, Manchurian language, Japanese language and, of course, Ryukyu/Okinawa. From early on Hawley had a strong interest in Ryukyu/Okinawa and started collecting resources on it. 

Three years after his arrival in Japan, his contract with the Tokyo School of Foreign Languages ended and he married Minoda Toshiko (美野田俊子) on April 11, 1934. Toshiko was the daughter of Minoda Takuma (美野田琢磨), a wealthy railroad magnate, successful entrepreneur, and book collector. 

His next job took him to Kyoto where he was hired as an English teacher at the Dai San Kōtō Gakkō (第三高等学校), only to return to Tokyo after one year, where he began working on dictionaries. This eventually led to him work with Kenkyusha on their long best-selling dictionary, Kenkyusha’s Simplified English Dictionary.  

Just before the war began, he was made the director of the British Library of Information and Culture (英国文化研究所), which was established in the British Consulate in anticipation of the imminent war. As a result of this and his remarkable book collection on Japan-related materials, when the war broke out, he and his wife were accused of being spies and were investigated and he ended up spending 8 months in prison. As soon as he was released from prison, he was forced to immediately go back to England, without his wife, on a POW exchange ship.

Upon his return to England, he went to work for SOAS at London University once again, this time as an instructor for the wartime Japanese language school for six months. Then, for the other half a year, he also worked for the Japanese programming division of the British Broadcast Company (BBC), which made use of his vast Japanese language skills. Once he got clearance for work with wartime information under England’s Foreign Office, he went to work in Washington, D.C. with the GHQ’s G-2 unit (intelligence). Incidentally, while working there, he met Gwynneth Laura Turnbull, who would eventually become his second wife. 

In January 1946, he was hired by the London Times as a special correspondent and underwent training until July. Upon completing his training, he was sent to Tokyo as the first solo foreign correspondent to Japan. Besides his work for London Times, Hawley also had another reason for wanting to return to Japan.

When the war broke out, his entire collection had been confiscated by the Japanese government as enemy property, along with the collection once held at the British Library of Information and Culture. Because of Hawley’s incredible forethought that his collection might be confiscated if war broke out, he had his secretaries make a list of all of the materials in his collection in anticipation of such an event. It is said that just before the war, he had collected over 16,000 pieces, including the materials that had once been part of his father-in-law’s collection. Once back in Japan, Hawley made every effort to recover his collection that had been confiscated by the Japanese government and sold to Keio University Library. The GHQ ordered that the books sold to Keio be returned to Hawley and many were returned; Hawley was able to confirm the titles against his list. However, not everything from Keio was returned as some of them had been removed from the library and possibly sold off. (His wife Toshiko, who had stayed behind in Tokyo when Hawley was sent back to England, had also tried to retrieve some of his books; she requested the help of the Swiss Consulate to mediate and claimed that some of the books had been her father’s (who was Japanese) and, therefore, should be returned at once.) Over time, he was able to recover about 70 percent of his original collection.  
Frank Hawley continued to work for the London Times in Japan until 1952, when an incident caused by an article that he had written in the paper about Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s policies forced him to leave the London Times. As a result, Hawley was labeled ‘persona non grata’ by Major Gen. E.M. Almond of the GHQ and pressure was applied on the London Times to remove him. 

After leaving the London Times, Hawley moved to Yamashina in Kyoto in 1952. Here, he began focusing on his research activities. He formed the Kansai Asiatic Society and was busy preparing his works. However, because of his loss of income, in order to acquire more books, he reluctantly began selling off some of his collection. One person who bought some of his books was Nakayama Shozen of Tenrikyo, another avid book collector.  (What later became Tenri University Library purchased Hawley’s intact entire collection on washi (和紙).)  Yamashina is where Hawley spent his last days, where he passed away on January 10, 1961 at the age of 54. 

Hawley’s life was filled with many interesting connections with interesting people. He was well-connected with people of different status. One key person in his life was Hisa Shimabukuro. She provided him with more connections for him to deepen his knowledge of Ryukyu/Okinawa and further develop his Ryukyu/Okinawa collection.

Hisa Shimabukuro (島袋久)

Frank Hawley met Hisa Shimabukuro in 1949 in Tokyo when he was looking for someone to care for pregnant wife and soon-to-be-born baby. Hawley and his second wife Gwynneth Laura Turnbull had a son and daughter and Shimabukuro looked after them as a live-in nanny while he and his wife were busy with their social and scholarly activities. Hisa Shimabukuro was originally from Okinawa and had been working as a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Tokyo when someone recommended her to Hawley.  Frank Hawley already had an interest in Ryukyu/Okinawa through his collections, so hearing her Okinawan last name made him decide to hire her and that had been a fortuitous encounter. 

Hisa Shimabukuro had provided Hawley with an important connection to another key person, a notable Okinawan linguistics scholar, Miyanaga Masamori (宮良當壯; previously known as Miyara Tōsō), whom he invited to his home every week. With Miyanaga’s help, Hawley deepened his knowledge of Ryukyu/Okinawa and together they organized Hawley’s collection (1949-1952).

Over time, Shimabukuro became Hawley’s staunch supporter and anchor, even when he and his wife separated when she moved to Canada with their daughter Felicity Ann. Shimabukuro continued to look after Hawley’s son, John Harvard Hawley, until he moved to be with his mother in Canada. In essence, Shimabukuro became Hawley’s life partner and took care of him until the end.   

In addition to her network connecting Hawley to an Okinawan community, if it had not been for Shimabukuro’s personal commitment, Hawley’s Ryukyu/Okinawa collection might have been scattered. When the collections were sold, she insisted that “not a single book should be sold separately; the complete collections on Ryukyu/Okinawa should be managed together under Hawley’s name.”

For more information, please consult Professor Manabu Yokoyama's book on Frank Hawley: Yokoyama, Manabu. Shomotsu ni miserareta Eikokujin: Furanku Hōrei to Ninon bunka (横山學、『書物に魅せられた 英国人 : フランク・ホ-レ-と日本 文化』、吉川弘文館、2003。)


About Shunzō Sakamaki - Article from the Center for Okinawan Studies (COS)

The “father” of Ryukyuan Studies at UHM

picture of Shunzo Sakamaki

Shunzō Sakamaki (1906-1973) is the “father” of Ryukyuan Studies at UHM. In 1936 he joined the Department of History at UH where he was a Professor of Japanese history and he later served as the Dean of Summer Session. It was his vision to build a research center on Ryukyuan Studies at UH. Fascinated with the history of Okinawa, he collected books and documents on the subject. While in Tokyo on a trip in 1961, he heard about the death of Frank Hawley who owned the most comprehensive collection on Ryukyuan resources. He quickly made an overture to the Hawley family and successfully negotiated its purchase for $20,000. Funding came from UH and the Okinawan community in Hawaii.

Sakamaki also arranged for visiting scholars on Ryukyuan Studies at the East-West Center, recruited graduate students (Mitsugu Matsuda and Mitsugu Sakihara) and scholars (William Lebra, Thomas Maretzki, and Robert Sakai), and compiled bibliographies on the resources in Ryukyuan Studies at UH with his team of researchers. Although the library collection was a true gem to scholars of Ryukyuan Studies, this was a small, select group. The collection was first housed in a room in Sakamaki’s Summer Session office as well as in a room in Crawford Hall, and the door to this room bore a modest, hand-painted wooden sign with the words “Ryukyuan Research Institute.”* It was later moved to Sinclair Library before being moved to its present location at Hamilton Library.

Sakamaki donated his private collection to the University Library, and together with the Hawley materials, these resources are known as the Sakamaki Hawley Collection. To acknowledge his contributions to the University, a building and a lecture series both bear his name.

*Chance Gusukuma, “Nisei Daimyo: The Life of Shunzō Sakamaki,” (Master’s thesis, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, 1999), pp. 97-102.

Through the collaboration with the University of the Ryukyus Library, digitized items in the Sakamaki/Hawley Collection became available online. In August 2020, the University of the Ryukyus renewed its digital collections' site. The site adopted the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). 

Update: September 2020

Dr. Sakamaki's Role in Acquiring the Hawley Collection for the University of Hawai'i Library

The one key person who was responsible for bringing the Frank Hawley Collection to Hawaii was Dr. Shunzo Sakamaki. Dr. Sakamaki was a prominent history professor at the University of Hawaii and later became the Dean of UH Summer Sessions. 

On January 10, 1961, Sakamaki left Honolulu for Tokyo to “arrange for the purchase of written materials on Ryukyu, so that a good library collection may be acquired for study and research" (Memorandum to the Governor dated January 5, 1961). He knew that this task would be difficult because so many documents and materials were destroyed in Okinawa during World War II. Much of what remained had already been acquired by other institutions or was in the hands of private collectors. However, there was an unexpected turn of events. 

Sakamaki was in his Tokyo hotel room reading the Japan Times when he came across the obituary of Frank Hawley on the morning of January 12, 1961. He was stunned by this news and immediately called his acquaintance from Doshisha, Tanaka Ryoichi (田中良一), and asked him to relay a message to the Hawley Family. He explained that he was stopped over in Tokyo on his way to an international conference in Kuala Lumpur when he saw Hawley’s obituary in the newspaper earlier that morning. He told them that he would be leaving for Singapore the next day but would be flying back immediately to Kyoto either on January 24th or 25th once the conference was over and wanted to meet with them. He said that the purpose of his trip to Kyoto would be to meet with them and express interest in purchasing Frank Hawley’s for a reasonable price, promising to preserve the entire collection at the University of Hawaii as the Frank Hawley Collection. He mentioned that he also planned to bring Okinawan scholars Nakahara Zenchu (仲原善忠) and Higa Ryotoku (比嘉良篤), both of whom had visited the Hawley home several times before, with him. 

Upon his return from Kuala Lumpur, he visited the Hawley home in Yamashina with Higa Ryotoku and Shigehisa Tokutaro (重久篤太郎). A few days later, on January 27th, Sakamaki, Higa, and Shigehisa met with Hisa Shimabukuro at the Kyoto Station Hotel to discuss the collection. Shimabukuro mentioned that Hawley had said that his collection was valued at $100,000. She also mentioned that she had been contacted by University of California at Berkeley’s Richard C. Rudolph who had expressed interest in purchasing the collection, as well as the University of the Ryukyus. However, since Sakamaki contacted her first, it gave him an advantage.

Following the meeting, Sakamaki immediately contacted UH President Laurence Snyder. He told him all about the circumstances surrounding the collection and about the competition for acquiring the collection. He told him that the collection contained many rare and special materials that would give UH’s East Asian collection a prestigious ranking. He asked Snyder to approve $85,000 for the purchase and incidental expenses, including shipping expenses. He told him that time is of the essence and to keep it under wraps because of the complex situation with the competition for acquiring this collection.

Laurence replied on January 29 that it would be discussed at the Library Senate Committee meeting. He also said that a decision could not be made any sooner until that meeting in the second week of February. 

That same day, Sakamaki and Shigehisa visited the Hawley home in Yamashina again to evaluate the Ryukyu collection. A few days later, a meeting at the Okinawa Kyokai office in Tokyo was held with Higa Ryotoku, Nakahara Zenchu, Shunzo Sakamaki, and Shimabukuro Hisa in attendance. Shimabukuro said that she wanted to sell the collection for $25,000. Sakamaki and Shimabukuro agreed upon a February 20th deadline for the purchase of the collection. With that, Sakamaki left Japan on February 2, 1961. 

Originally, when he went to Japan to purchase materials for the Ryukyu collections, Sakamaki was only authorized to spend $5,000. He had to look for more funds and persuade the University of Hawaii management to support this expensive purchase in a very short time. Sakamaki even went to Michigan University’s Dr. Raymond Nunn to ask for his support of his pitch to UH’s administration. While Nunn wrote a letter stating that the collection was probably worth only $5,000, the fact that Sakamaki was a respected historian who was very passionate about acquiring this collection along with the fact that Hawley had built this collection over 30 years made the collection worth more. After all his efforts and pleading with the administration, Sakamaki somehow managed to get the administration to approve allotting $10,000 from the Summer Session’s account to be used toward this purchase, increasing UH’s purchase fund to $15,000. 

Sakamaki enlisted the help of George Akita and Enomoto Yutaka to be his middlepersons in Japan and Akita asked Nakahara Zenchu about the price of the collection. Nakahara said that $25,000 was definitely too much, and in fact, even $15,000 would be too much. He suggested that UH offer Shimabukuro $15,000 and over 5-6 years build up the collection. He conceded though, that it would be a tragedy if the collection was dispersed after Hawley spent 30 years to build that collection. 

Sakamaki offered $15,000 to Shimabukuro. She said that anything less than $20,000 was not enough and, unfortunately, she would have to offer it to some other institution. It was an arduous negotiation process, however, Sakamaki managed to persuade her to sell it to UH for $20,000 with the condition that the collection would not be separated and dispersed, and that the collection would forever bear Frank Hawley’s name.

While Sakamaki was able to secure the purchase price at $20,000, there was still a shortage of $5,000 since only $15,000 was approved by UH. With the help of Warren Higa, President of the United Okinawa Association at the time, Sakamaki took out a loan at Central Pacific Bank with Higa as the co-signer to cover the other $5,000. With this, the funds for the purchase of the Hawley Collection were secured and payment was delivered to Hisa Shimabukuro on March 9, 1961. The purchase of Frank Hawley's collection was completed.

In order to help pay off the loan, Sakamaki and Higa put out an announcement through the United Okinawa Association, asking the local Okinawan community in Hawaii for donations. Sakamaki wrote about the collection, telling the community that the collection was one of a kind and that it made the University of Hawaii proud to have that collection here where there were many Okinawans. There were also fundraisers with Okinawan performing arts, including a concert by Ryukyuan dance master Majikina Yuko (真境名由康) and his daughters. Sakamaki set up the “Okinawa Research Fund” with the UH Foundation and over the next three years, the Hawaii Okinawa community made a substantial effort to donate to the fund and pay off the loan.

On March 3, Sakamaki arrived in Tokyo and met with Nakahara Zenchu the next day to plan for how they were going to pack up the books at Hawley’s home and get it to Tokyo. On the 9th, Sakamaki, Nakahara and Shigehisa went to the Hawley home in Kyoto and among the three of them recorded all of the titles of the books before they were packed into 9 wooden boxes by the movers. It was estimated that there were 1,600 pieces. Then, the next day on the 10th, the movers took the boxes and sent them on the train to Tokyo. Once the boxes arrived in Tokyo, George Akita and Enomoto Yutaka repacked the 9 wooden boxes into 29 cardboard boxes because they were too heavy. Then, they shipped the boxes off to Hawaii on March 20. 

For more information, please consult Professor Manabu Yokoyama's book on Frank Hawley: Yokoyama, Manabu. Shomotsu ni miserareta Eikokujin: Furanku Hōrei to Ninon bunka (横山學、『書物に魅せられた 英国人 : フランク・ホ-レ-と日本 文化』、吉川弘文館、2003。)

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