Friday, July 16, 2010

1960: Goto Outlines History of Japanese in Hawaii (Honolulu Advertiser)

On June 22, 1960 the Honolulu Advertiser featured a story by Colbert N. Kurokawa entitled ‘Goto Outlines History of Japanese in Hawaii.’

I was looking for news of 100th anniversary observances of the arrival of the Japanese ambassadors. It appears there were none, and that even in 1960 this historical event was overlooked.

The night before the Advertiser story was published, Y. Baron Goto addressed members of the Hawaii Economic Club with a lecture on the history of Japanese in Hawaii. He traced that history from “the days of King Kalakaua to the consummation of Hawaii-Japan agreement to bring the first group of Japanese immigrants in 1885.” *

Goto’s sources included materials he acquired from the State Archives, the Hawaii Sugar Planter’s Association and personal research conducted statewide.

There is no mention of the stopover in Honolulu in March 1860 by the Japanese ambassadorial delegation sent by the Tokugawa Shogunate to the United States of America. The Advertiser story does mention:

“With the conclusion of the American-Japanese treaty in 1860, the first immigrants came to Hawaii on a three-year labor contract. These immigrants were allocated to various plantations throughout the islands.” They were paid $12.50 per month and relegated to living in grass shacks. Sanitation was poor at best.

The story certainly reinforces the fact that these immigrants from Japan sacrificed greatly and worked hard. “Out of these hardships and sacrifices, we, the second and third generation of Japanese ancestry, were given the privilege we now enjoy as full-fledged American citizens with our opportunities of modern education and our professional and economic life in this community.” *

My hope is that my research and publications about the stopover by the Japanese ambassadors will further add a new and interesting dimension to this historical legacy. The more I delve into my research the more fascinating it all becomes.

* Goto Outlines History of Japanese in Hawaii. Honolulu Advertiser: Thursday, June 23, 1960. Page A4.

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