Past Recognized Artists

Recognizing local and Native Hawaiian artists is at the core of the conservatory’s mission

view from Palikū theatre stage looking up at the seats and decor

Lee A. Tonouchi

2022 Established Island Artist

Lee a.k.a. “Da Pidgin Guerrilla” is one Pidgin writer. Several plays produced by Kumu Kahua Theatre include Gone Feeshing, Living Pidgin, Da Kine Space, Echoes of Dat Red Guitar, and UchinaAloha. HTY did his youth play Three Year Swim Club. An’den da East West Players did da adult version which wuz one Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice Selection.

His most recentest book Okinawan Princess: Da Legend of Hajichi Tattoos (Bess Press) won one Skipping Stones Honor Award. His Pidgin poetry collection Significant Moments in da Life of Oriental Faddah and Son (Bess) won da Association for Asian American Studies book award. His oddah books include Da Word (Bamboo Ridge), Living Pidgin (Tinfish), Da Kine Dictionary (Bess), and Buss Laugh (Bess). Anʻden he’s also one food critic for