A Legendary Tradition of Kamapuaʻa, The Hawaiian Pig-God

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Kamapua‘a, the Hawaiian pig-god, can change his body at will. One moment he is a virile youth, tempting various women; in the next, he is a giant boar, ruthlessly devouring his enemies, defiant of all authority. Powerful, mischievous, charming, and audacious, Kamapua‘a suffers no retribution and acknowledges no responsibilities.


This is an insightful, thoroughly annotated translation of ‘‘He Mo‘olelo Ka‘ao o Kamapua‘a,” a version of the Kamapua‘a epic that appeared anonymously in the Hawaiian-language newspaper Ka Leo o ka Lahui in 1891. Lilikalā Kame‘eleihiwa identifies its strong sexual themes and the timing of its publication—just before the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy—as an expression of Hawaiian rebellion against increasing Western dominance. Her translation offers valuable insights into nineteenth-century Hawaiian culture, as well as that of ancient times.

Translated by Lilikalā K. Kameʻeleihiwa
Illustrated by Dietrich Varez
Date of Publication: 1996
Pages: 161

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