Richard Seiji Miyashiro

B Company

Richard Seiji Miyashiro was born in Hakalau, Hawaii on August 13, 1916.  He was the second of six children born to Tojin and Uto Miyashiro, immigrants who came from Okinawa to work for the sugar plantation.  Because Hakalau was 18 long miles from Hilo, Richard could not afford to go high school.  Instead, he went to work at varied jobs including working at his brother Tom’s restaurant, the Hinode Café.  He was drafted and joined the U.S. Army on June 28, 1941 and assigned to the 100th Infantry Battalion as a cook.

Technician 5th Grade Miyashiro of Company B was wounded in combat near Cassino, Italy on January 25, 1944.  He was treated at the 32nd Station Hospital in Caserta, where, according to hospital records, he was awarded the Purple Heart on February 9, 1944.  He was also awarded the Bronze Star.

After returning to Hawaii, he married Evelyn Matsue Oshiro of Waianae. They moved back to Hilo, where he opened a restaurant in Waiakea Town just across the Wailoa River on January 21, 1946.  He called his business Café 100, his tribute to the 100th Battalion.  On April 1, 1946, a tsunami caused water damage measuring up to three-feet high to the Café.

After 14 years, Richard and Evelyn purchased and built a brand new Café 100 just a block away from the first location.  The grand opening was on May 2, 1960.  Three weeks later on May 22, the building and all of its contents was destroyed by another tsunami.  The wave also carried their two-story house, station wagon, Richard, Evelyn and their three daughters up the street.  Because the new Café bore the brunt of damage, the Miyashiros were saved.

The third and current Café 100 opened on August 24, 1962 as Hilo’s first drive-inn restaurant.  It featured the locomoco, a one dish meal of rice, brown gravy over a hamburger patty topped with an egg.  Over the years, there were more than 25 varieties of locomoco, which are the most popular items on the menu.  Richard died suddenly on March 20, 1985.  His daughters, Gail Miyashiro and Kay Shintani took over the business, followed by his grandson Richard Kobayashi.  His granddaughter Mari Kobayashi Leung now owns the restaurant.

(Submitted by his daughter Gloria, June 2020.)