A well-known cartoonist in Hawaii, Jon Murakami draws people of various ethnicities and animals with a local flair and incorporates pidgin (Hawaiian Creole English). His works have appeared in comic books, his comic strip in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, local children’s books, t-shirts, and greeting cards.
Jon started drawing for publication when he attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa during the early 1990s. When he wasn’t studying or working as a UH Manoa Library student assistant, Jon drew for the campus newspaper Ka Leo O Hawaii and Ke Kukini, UH Manoa’s library’s newsletter. Ke Kukini ran his illustrations and comic strip, “Library Use Only,” and even predicted his future fame:
Whether Jon Murakami becomes a full-fledged graphic novelist or a syndicated cartoonist is yet to be seen, but his talent has already been displayed on library t-shirts, greeting cards, the campus newspaper Ka Leo O Hawaii, and in other local newsletters.
From Pearl City, Hawaii, Jon is a senior majoring in Fine Arts. He has been employed in the Hamilton Circulation Department since … 1990, working his way up to a ‘student in charge’ at the circulation desk. He finds activities in the library fertile ground for ideas that he graphically spoofs.
Along with Jon’s work, Ke Kukini chronicled the UH Manoa Library’s history since 1992. Produced quarterly by the library staff, Ke Kukini, whose name means “the messenger” in Hawaiian, reported the library’s activities and developments.
Throughout the years, Ke Kukini documented the academic library’s transition to the digital age. Previously offered only in print; library books, journals, and images are now also offered digitally online. As for card catalogs, they were replaced by online library catalogs, journal databases, digital collections, and websites.
From the 1980s to 1990s, UHCARL, the library’s online system (the library currently uses Voyager), enabled the library to automate library operations and share bibliographic information with libraries around the world.
As the library expanded its facilities, the Ke Kukini documented the development of the Phase III addition. Because the library was running out of room for its ever-growing collection in the 1980s, the library and Associated Students of UH, UH Manoa’s undergraduate student government, advocated for the addition’s funding for years.
Finally in Spring of 1992, the State Legislature funded the addition’s design phase. By 2001, the Phase III addition emerged as a three-story building connected to the library’s main building. Today, this addition houses scientific materials and library departments (e.g. Science & Technology and Preservation) and provides studying space.
New employees and retirees provided Ke Kukini their biographical information and profile photos. In fact, some of these employees are still contributing to the library today, albeit their older selves.
Jackie remembers when the library had a dress code for women, including dresses only, and stockings every day. She also recalls the dramatic turning point, long before automation, when serial records were moved from shoeboxes to Kardex records.
Throughout Ke Kukini’s over-twenty-year run, the constant change of the newsletter’s layout and design reflected the advancement of digital design and technology. Earlier issues appeared grayscale on copy paper; later issues in full color on glossy paper and online.
Ke Kukini is now available online on ScholarSpace. The library’s Desktop Network Services Department digitized Ke Kukini and made it accessible online. Contributors to this initiative include Martha Chantiny, Kathleen Luschek, Daniel Ishimitsu, and Alice Kim. Special thanks to library staff members Ann Yanagi and Andrea Nakamura for preserving past issues of the Ke Kukini.
Today, Ke Kukini continues to report news about the UH Manoa Library. As for the library, it continues to facilitate research and academic excellence in a flagship state university. Now in the digital age, the library also leads in the digitization and preservation of historical materials in Asia and the Pacific.
Ke Kukini on ScholarSpace
Jon Murakami’s Cartoons on UH Manoa Library’s Flickr