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Abstract

Since the introduction of American culture, political systems, and educational institutions to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, languages other than English have often deteriorated or faced the threat of erasure from imperialist and colonialist structures. The United States’ role in the erasure of Japanese and Hawaiian languages had varying effects from martial law orders to an outright legal ban in educational institutions. In this paper, I will examine the history behind (attempted) erasure of Japanese and Hawaiian language and how each had its own path to revitalization. I will also examine how Asian settler colonialism allowed Japanese to become a dominant language in education and the commodification of Hawaiian language into Japanese for tourism-related purposes. This inquiry also examines how Hawaiian language revitalization movements began and discusses the role of Hawaiian immersion schools in raising native speaker percentages. Hawaiian language revitalization also shows how revival efforts succeeded in the middle of the Hawaiian Renaissance and how Asian settler colonialism continues to constrain efforts for the decolonization of education in Hawaiʻi.

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