Hawaiian boys playing music in Siberia, 1920.

Hawaiian Minstrels Play For Siberian Wolfhounds

This Hawaiian quartet has just returned after touring Siberia and the far east entertaining Uncle Sam’s doughboys under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus. Left to right —John Oku, Charles Dement (leader), John Hickey and Edward Hanapi. The four left here last November. They played in Japan, Siberia, China and the Philippines. They remained in Vladivostok after the American soldiers had departed and the Japanese had taken over the city.

Far from the balmy climate of Hawaii nei, four Hawaiian boys, Charles Dement, John Oku, John Hickey and Edward Hanapi, played Hawaiian music in bleak Siberia for many months. They returned to Honolulu last week on the transport Marica, and are glad to be home again.

According to Mr. Dement, who is a Kalihi boy and leader of the quartet, the four left Honolulu last November, having signed a contract with the Knights of Columbus to go to Siberia and help entertain the “Siberian Wolfhounds,” as the doughboys of the Siberian expeditionary force styled themselves.

For four months the Honolulu boys played in Vladivostok and vicinity, not only in the city but up and down the line of the tran-Siberian railway, entertaining the Yankee troops billeted at various cities along the route. Their Hawaiian melodies helped while away the winter nights for thousands of doughboys.

The quartet remained in Vladivostok until after the American troops had left Vladivostok and the Japanese were in possession of the city. They then were taken to Manila and Tientsin, where they gave similar programs in the Philippines and China.

While in Tientsin the musicians ran across Willie Kealoha, of Kalihi, who served in the 27th Infantry in Siberia and reenlisted in Tientsin after his time had expired. They also met a Hawaiian boy named Ross, who lived in Aiea and reenlisted in Manila after his “outfit” was demobilized.

Dement has a number of interesting photographs collected in Siberia and the Orient, and the other boys have souvenirs which would make envious the most ardent “souvenir hound” from Siberia or France. Dement, Ok and Hanapi live in Kalihi, while Hickey is from Palama. They have been entertained extensively by relatives and friends at luaus since their return, and their stories of adventure have been eagerly listened to.

(Star-Bulletin, 7/22/1920, p. 7)


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Volume XXVIII, Number  8817, Page 7. July 22, 1920.


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