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Title: Paul Yempuku Interview
Narrator: Paul Yempuku
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: June 4, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ypaul-01

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: So I want to go back now to the Hawaii Hochi.

PY: Okay.

TI: So you've been here now almost fifty years.

PY: Right.

TI: And so you've seen so many changes in all these years. When you first started in 1959, Hawaii just became a state, and you've seen the newspaper industry change a lot. So I guess the question is, how has the, sort of this Japanese newspaper business, how has it changed from 1959 to now? What are the big differences, you think, when it first started and what it's like now?

PY: Well, the newspaper itself, Japanese newspaper itself, I don't think we change the content. I guess it's, right now it's easy to get the news because of Internet or whatever, so we get the news from Japan with Kyodo News, and we use the AP. When I started, we had a hell of a time to get the news from Japan, Kyodo or Jiji or whatever. But now... but it's still same content, Japanese news. Little faster and easier, but the main thing we're getting a hard time is the circulation. Japanese reading public is getting less and less and less, and then right now is very bad because of advertising. We're not getting advertising, not only the Japanese paper but this is everything, the English paper, too. But the advertising, we're getting hard time.

TI: And are your advertisers kind of similar to what it was fifty years ago? Are they the same kind of companies, same kind of businesses who advertise?

PY: Well, we had more established Japanese American company. But you have less now. But I guess for a while it was okay, because we have so many Japanese business from Japan. So like L.A. or San Francisco, I think they have quite a bit of Japanese company, strong Japanese company. But in Hawaii, it's getting less and less and less. Now, even Sony, we've got to get the ad from -- we have a Sony -- but all coming from the mainland. The agencies, they consolidate. We used to have an agent in Hawaii to take care of the Sony, but they have only one big Sony advertising agency on the mainland. So we're getting a hard time, things like that. So that's the main thing, change.

TI: So what's going to happen?

PY: Huh?

TI: So what will happen to the Hawaii Hochi when you look in the future, if the circulation is dropping, advertisers, what will have to happen?

PY: Well, when I came back to Hawaii those days, we had Hawaii Hochi, we had Hawaii Times, we had many other Japanese paper. Those days, they were saying that, "Hey, the Japanese paper is not going to last that long." But look, fifty years already since I started the Hawaii Hochi. Those days, they were saying, "You're foolish to work at the Japanese paper because you're not going to live that long," I mean, "the company's not going to last that long." But I feel that we will be here for a long, long time more. It's maybe... Japanese language paper will be smaller and smaller and smaller, but with some kind of new area like an Asian American, it's going to be more English than the country language. But I think we have some area to advance.

TI: Because you run two, at least a couple of publications. You have the Hawaii Hochi, which is more Japanese, and then you have the Hawaii Herald --

PY: Herald, right.

TI: Which is English. And you think that one is going to more, evolve maybe more Asian?

PY: Yeah, I think Hawaii Herald should be, Hawaii Herald is only twice a month we're publishing. But I think the circulation, I mean, the frequency, we should increase more. But right now, the time is very bad. You need the advertising, and everybody getting a hard time to get the advertising. And you have a new media, Internet, or many other new media. So I think we have to struggle.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.