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Pearl Harbor’s brothels

I wrote about Honolulu’s brothels in my book Seven Days of Infamy. So did James Jones in his novel From Here to Eternity. As a bored private at Schofield Barracks, Jones had plenty of hands-on experience.

His favourite brothel was the New Senator Hotel on Hotel Street. The girls’ dresses had new-fangled zips, which made them very easy to undo. Jones immortalised the place as the New Congress Hotel in his novel:

‘They came up the lightless stairs of the New Congress Hotel, very dark now after the brightly lighted, almost deserted Hotel Street outside, feeling their way half-drunkenly carefully. They had just left the small bar in the downstairs part of Wu Fat’s brightly tropically decorated restaurant next door, and now they carried with them, suddenly, all the unmentionable, unspeakable, pride destroying heart shakiness and throat thickness and breath chokiness of men about to mount women…’

There’s more, but it’s pretty revolting. The red-light district in Honolulu was tolerated by the U.S. military authorities, but very tightly controlled. With so many unattached servicemen on the island and so few available women, there was nothing else the authorities could do.

Business was always brisk when the fleet was in port. The queue for the brothels stretched for hundreds of yards along the street. I wanted to download a photograph of the queue for the girls at the New Senator, but it’s apparently too big for the site, so I’ve substituted a copy of my book instead! You can see the photo in the book. You’ll find it pretty gross.




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