The Book


Japanese and Kula San

During the early 20th century, Hawaii’s immigrant groups were among those adversely impacted by tuberculosis, the dreaded “white plague” that spread throughout Hawaii’s plantation era communities. Among those affected by the disease were the Japanese, who comprised the largest ethnic group of tuberculosis patients at Kula Sanatorium, which had a reputation as a leading national and international health care institution. Kula San Maui’s Healing Place, a 325-page pictorial history book by Dr. Patricia Brown, chronicles the self-sustaining hospital’s vibrant past and unravels the personal stories of patients, employees, and community leaders.

Dr. Brown also documents the hospital’s patients and workers —Japanese, Filipinos, Portuguese, Chinese, Hawaiian, Puerto Ricans and Caucasians—coming together as providers, protectors, nurturers, and healers in a compassionate, caring non-traditional hospital environment.  The book not only documents the pain, fear and death experienced by its multi-ethnic patients, but also highlights the support provided by the ‘ohana that formed at Kula San, as the hospital was affectionately known by the people of Maui.

Filipinos at Kula San

The Filipinos soon followed as the second largest group admitted at this Sanatorium (Kula San’s Filipino story will also be briefly presented on this website)

Portuguese, Chinese, Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, and Caucasian  stories will be added.


Disbursed throughout the book are stories of Japanese patients who suffered from tuberculosis nearly 100 years ago. Many were shunned, disgraced and humiliated. However, they received support from the community to reclaim their self-esteem and dignity.  For example, a group of Japanese associations including the Japanese White Cross Society, Japanese Methodist Church, and Meisho made annual trips to the hospital to visit with the patients and brought small gifts for them.

There are also clusters of human interests stories.  In particular is a gripping story of the life of James Sadato Kurisu, who was a Kula San patient during the early 1920s.  Others such as 79-year-old Albert Amuro, 102 year-old Kazuma Okumura, and 99 year-old Hiroshi Matsui share the fascinating details of how their lives were impacted by Kula San. The book brings to life the journey and joy of Kula San’s patients. Additionally, the stories of Japanese employees from 1910 to 1970 provide a glimpse of daily life at Kula Sanatorium.

ORDER FORM for: Kula San Maui’s Healing Place

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