Nishiyama Bus Service and Garage in Wailea
Notice the flume at the left of the photo, and sugar cane growing right up to the garage. The flume crossed Old Mamalahoa Highway and
Nishiyama Garage on the Old Wailea Road (see map below) circa 1939. Standing on the left bus is Kazumi Hamada, about 14 years old. Next to him is Susumu "Dango" Kimura. On the far right are Shigeo ("Ribs") Nishiyama, about 26 years old, with his two children, Dennis and Roy. Shigeo's father, Gosaku Nishiyama, built the vehicle at far left from a 1933 Dodge truck, creating a 20 passenger bus.
Former Wailea resident, Kazumi Hamada, now living in Florida, remembers the photo above:
My uncle "Ribs" & cousins Dennis next to him & Roy. Both uncle Ribs & Roy are gone now. And "Dango" we called him big "Dango" and his younger brother was small "Dango". The handsome guy sitting on the middle bus you may guess is me. Don't remember when this photo was taken but seems like I was 13--14 years old at that time so could have been 1942-43? long time ago. Big "Dango" was one of the bus drivers that transported people from Hakalau to Hilo & back. Of course it included people from Hakalau, Wailea, Chin Chuck, Stable Camp, Kamae Mauka & Kamae Camp.
The building in the picture is the 2nd Nishiyama Garage -- the first burnt down on February 11, 1939, and four buses were lost. This fire was well-reported in both the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and Nippu Jiji, one of the two major Japanese newspapers in Hawaii (the other is Hawaii Hōchi ) with a wide readership among Japanese migrant workers.
Nippu Jiji first reported the fire on February 11th, the day of the fire, and then again on February 14, 1939. The estimated loss differs between the two articles. One of the estimates was the same as that reported in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. The February 14th articles indicated that arson was suspected, whereas the February 11th article suggested combustion or a short circuit.
FIRE AT NISHIYAMA GARAGE, $5000 LOSS, ARSON SUSPECTED
These Nippu Jiji articles were accessed from the Hoji Shinbun Digital Collection at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. Translation provided by Rev. Junshin Miyazaki of the Hakalau Jodo Mission.
For the complete story of the development of the bus systems, including the role of the Nishiyama Bus Service and Garage, read the April 13, 2003 article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald.