Friday, September 23, 2011

Looking Back 1840: Shipwrecked Japanese in Hawaii

I was recently perusing the microfiche copies of The Polynesian at the Hawaii State Library. This publication was considered the "official voice" of the Hawaiian royal government starting in 1840.

It was in the June 6, 1840 edition of this paper that I found one of -if not the first published story- of shipwrecked Japanese in the Hawaiian Islands. In subsequent editions there are longer, much more detailed stories which at least for now I've not transcribed.


There are in town, under the care of Dr. Judd, four Japanese who were taken by a whaleship from the wreck of a junk, on which they had been driven about, by wind and wave, for many months and suffered great hardships.

Their story is full of interest, and which we hope to receive for a future number, from Dr. Baldwin of Maui, in whose family the most intelligent of their number has resided for some time.

They are now here with the hope of obtaining a passage to their own country, either by way of Kamschatka, or through the Expedition.

Some of the coin which they brought with them is in circulation in the village, consisting of gold and silver pieces, of an oblong shape, from the value of a real to four dollars, and very neatly stamped.