Bubonic Plague In Hawaii


Informant is college educated and has lived on Oahu, Hawaii for their whole life. Informant was dating the Interviewer’s mother for around a year. 


Informant discusses a friend who could see the spirits of those who died from the bubonic plague in Hawaii under restaurant row. Informant then goes into how the plague was brought to Hawaii and what the afflicted did.


Informant: “You know what, they had the bubonic plague, right? In Chinatown, they had a lot of people die, and what they did was they buried them into a mass grave in Chinatown, underneath restaurant row, so a friend’s attorney, a friend’s secretary, could see, could see everything. She could see all these massive graves and just bodies piled on top of each other.

Interviewer: “Oh, damn… so what, what like-”

Informant: “And it is scary though, like at the parking lot.”

Interviewer: “So it was like decaying bodies of the bubonic plague? Just bodies on bodies on bodies of people with the bubonic plague?”

Informant: “Yeah it was just, just like one mass burial in the black plague times. In chinatown, it was bad. Whaling ships came in and brought it, and people where we live, where you guys used to live, they said that people in the neighborhood, the families wanted to die together, so they hiked all the way up into Aiea, where we live, and that’s where they all died. They wanted to die together so they died together with the plague.”


Restaurant row used to be the party place of Oahu, it was the happening spot where everyone would go to get plastered and party. While restaurant row stands virtually abandoned now and was in its prime before I was alive, I had no idea about this side of history until the informant told me about it. The bubonic plague outbreak in Hawaii was never formally taught to us in school, so I had no idea the ground below restaurant row, which is next to a major roadway, is inundated with corpses. Also, I found the part about families going into the mountains to die together was morbidly sweet, like a final gesture of love while they all slowly and painfully died.