click to enlarge
enlarge image
Plantation contract
Plantation contract

Contract for Japanese immigrant laborer, Miyashita Haruemon, and wife Soijo, to work on Olaa Sugar Co. plantation. Wages are $15 per month for Miyashita, and $10 per month for his wife, if she works. $2.50 are to be held out every month for the laborer, to pay for his return passage. 26 days of 10 hours each in the field, or 12 hours in the sugar mill and sugar house, constitute one month's work. The plantation provides in return: fuel, lodging, medical attendance and medicine, and water "for domestic purposes."
"For Hawai'i, where the native population was declining rapidly, the use of contract or indentured labor was clearly advantageous. Planters had nearly as much control over such laborers as did slaveowners -- without the cost of sustaining old, sick, or unproductive slaves. Nor did planters have to face the political and social criticism associated with the system of slavery. Contracts held workers to the plantations for a fixed number of years (eventually set at three) with criminal penalties for runaways, including fines and imprisonment, and in the early years, additional periods of servitude."
A Pictorial History of the Japanese in Hawai'i
A Pictorial History of the Japanese in Hawai'i
January 11, 1900