Molokai History:

[from the Internet and church records]

Mary Waki Kiyonaga Swerts is buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Kamalo. She died April 28, 1990. She had two sisters who were Sisters of Charity, Virginia and Julia. Her son, Joseph Yoshio Kiyonaga, who was raised in Kamalo, served with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in El Salvador, Panama and Brazil. He joined the CIA in 1949. He was a direct descendant of the 19th-century Japanese woodcut artist of the same name. He was the CIA station chief in Brazil and Panama. From a base in Japan, he ran psychological operations against North Korea during the Korean War. He plotted espionage operations with military strongmen and businessmen in Panama, El Salvador & Brazil. He died in 1977. During WWII, he served in a unit made up of Japanese-American volunteers from Hawaii and from internment camps on the West Coast who had petitioned President Franklin D. Roosevelt for permission to form their own detachment. The unit became one of the most-decorated in the Army. Joseph Kiyonaga, son of Mary, was cited for valor and received a field commission.

Blessings, pono and pule!

Fr. Brian Guerrini,

Do you want to find out more about the love story of Joe Kiyonaga, the striking Japanese-American war hero from Hawaii and Bina Cady, the irreverent Irish-Catholic redhead from Baltimore who, as a CIA wife, was initiated into a world of silence during the darkest days of the Cold War? You can obtain the book from the Hawaii Public Library System and read all about it.