Description of Yedo, capital of Japan, 1860.


This is the capital of the nation of Japan; it is a grand city. It is built by the sea, by a great and fine harbor; but large ships cannot approach it.

The land surrounding that city is beautiful, and is well farmed, and there are many shade trees and fruit trees. Inland of the city of Yedo, there is a tall mountain from 12,000 to 16,000 feet, almost like Mauna Kea; it is topped by snow and a caldera like Mauna Loa. It is a sacred mountain for the people there, they go there to worship and to repent for their sins.

In the city of Yedo, there are five forts which are equipped with cannons; there are a great number o people, and houses are crowded together, but the houses are not nice, they are dilapidated. They are not painted, and not improved.

Shops are small, not like here in Honolulu. Some houses however, of the distinguished people, are nice, and they are surrounded by fine trees. The streets of the city are wide, and straight, and clean as well. The houses of the alii there are restricted, men and women cannot enter; only when given permission can they enter. They are surrounded by great and tall walls. The length of this city is twenty miles, and the width is twelve miles. The population is not clear; it is said that the number of people in that city is almost three million.

The currency there is like this; this is similar two cents, and it is a copper coin; there are a many variety of currency.

Here is a problem that the haole traders have there: the fact that people there don’t want foreign money; Mexican currency is what is wanted, and so trading is problematic.

Perhaps this land would benefit by their chiefs coming here and to America; they would see many new things and get educated. And they’d return to their land and tell the alii what they saw, and then reform their land following the tenants of Christianity.

[This is just a few years after Japan was forced to end its sakoku policy by the United States and Perry (1854).

The image of the coin is a mirror image.]

(Hae Hawaii, 3/21/1860, p. 202)


Ka Hae Hawaii, Buke 4, Helu 51, Aoao 202. Maraki 21, 1860.


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