| Days of Infamy |
POD: March, 1941;
Relevant POD: December 7, 1941
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
Charles "Charlie" Kaapu was a half-Hawaiian surfer living in Waikiki and friend of Oscar van der Kirk's. He lived through the Japanese invasion of the American territory of Hawaii, became a prisoner in a work camp, but survived to see the return of American rule in Hawaii.
Both Kaapu and van der Kirk were caught in the crossfire of the invading Japanese army and the American defenders at Waimea Bay on December 7, 1941. They escaped, but were forced to live under Japanese rule. Both men made due fishing from their surf boards. During the occupation, Kaapu had an unfavorable view towards Hawaii's puppet ruler Stanley Owana Laanui.
In 1943, Kaapu initiated an relationship with the mistress of a Japanese major. When that relationship soured, the woman shared this information with the major, who had Kaapu arrested by the Kempeitai, the Japanese secret police. Kaapu was placed in a prison camp in the Kalihi Valley with several other civilians and POWs, where he became friends with Jim Peterson.
When the United States invasion to retake Hawaii was imminent, Kaapu escaped the camp, offering to take Peterson with him. Peterson refused. Kaapu made his way to Oscar van der Kirk's house, where he took shelter with van der Kirk and van der Kirk's girlfriend, Susie Higgins. The three were witness to house-to-house fighting in Waikiki, and narrowly escaped getting caught in another crossfire.