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 Chief Justice Wilfred Tsukiyama

December 31, 1975

When Hawaii became the 50th state in the union in 1959, few knew in this country that the man who spearheaded the crusade for Hawaiian statehood was a former Coe College student. The story of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawaii -- Wilfred Tsukiyama -- after this message.

One of the truly great men in Hawaii, Justice Tsukiyama, devoted his life to public and community service. Twice he was elected president of the Territorial Senate. He was named Chief Justice for the state in 1959, and was the first American of Japanese ancestry to receive Japan's highest honor -- the Honor of the Sacred Treasure.

Born in Honolulu in 1897, he came to Coe as a freshman in 1919 and took cour se s in pre -law. He wa s athletic, and although small in stature, he played football and baseball and was an enthusiastic member of Coe's Clan of C. Later he received his law degree from the University of Chicago and returned to Hawaii to be come an outstanding legislator and jurist.

In working for statehood, Justice Tsukiyama said, "Hawaii is an example of the true spirit of American democracy. .. a heterogeneous population of 510 thousand living together in an atmosphere of superb cooperation. If Coe College honored this distinguished alumnus in 1949, when he was then president of the Territorial Senate, by conferring on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Laws.

The father of three sons and three daughters, Justice Tsukiyama was named Father of the Year in Hawaii in 1965, and when he died later that same year, all flags in Hawaii were flown at half mast - - a tribute to the man who had helped make Hawaii the 50th state -- former Coe student Justice Wilfred Tsukiyama.

{Note: When Tsukyama arrived at Coe, he made front-page news in the Cosmos.  See 19 September 1919; also an article on him 3 June 1921: he was leader of the Alpha Nu baseball team.

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