Friday, November 2, 2001

Writer’s books brought
clarity to World War II
events in isles



By Leila Fujimori

Honolulu resident Allan Beekman, author of "The Niihau Incident," "Crisis," and "Hawaiian Tales," died Monday. He was 88.

Several of the stories in "Hawaiian Tales," published in 1972, dealt with pre-, post- and wartime experiences of Japanese immigrants.

"The Niihau Incident" was about the crash-landing of a Japanese Zero on Niihau in 1941.

The New York transplant, who moved to Hawaii in the early 1950s and never left, also wrote features for more than 20 years at Pacific Citizen, a weekly newspaper directed to those of Asian descent, particularly Japanese.

The self-taught man also wrote a weekly book review for the paper.

"Study is my hobby," Beekman told the Star-Bulletin in a 1974 interview.

Though he never went to college, Beekman was a voracious reader, a diligent researcher and a student of the Japanese language.

Beekman married Take Okawa, a former Japanese-language schoolteacher educated in Tokyo and Hawaii who collaborated with her husband on many Japanese immigrant stories.

During the '60s and '70s, Beekman also worked as a security guard at Queen's Medical Center

"I enjoy talking to all the different people," Beekman told the Star-Bulletin in 1974. "A writer shouldn't isolate himself from people but be where people are."

Beekman championed the rights of Japanese and Okinawan Americans with articles and several letters to the editor to Honolulu dailies.

He is survived by daughters Patricia Beekman and Constance Itagaki, son Bruce and three grandchildren.

Services will be private.

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