More on Katsu Goto, 1889.


The body of the Japanese doctor* Goto at Hamakua was found dangling, killed by unknown people; news was received this week that three haole sugar plantation workers suspects were arrested, and they are being brought from Laupahoehoe aboard the Kinau to be detained at the Hilo jail.

Their names are T. G. Steel [T. G. Steele], J. Richmond and W. C. Blabon.

By the kindness of Mr. J. Kaulahea, we received the letter below from one of his friends in Honokaa:

The news of Honokaa nei is that a Hawaiian and haole are being arrested, suspected that they beat and hung the Japanese from the telephone pole.

These are who were arrested and taken to Hilo: 1 Hawaiian and 3 haole. However the arrests amongst the haole are not over.

The haole being arrested are all influential. Those who participated in this act are believed to be J. R. Mills and Overend [Owelena], and his head overseer and the haole who cares for the donkeys.

Horne, a shopkeeper, and some other haole, and one Hawaiian named Lala. It was this man who told the Sheriff that it was three haole who did the killing, but he did not name the haole; and it was Lala who put the Japanese up on the telephone pole.

G. W. Pilipo, Jr.

* The “doctor” is added to Goto here because they were confusing Katsu Goto with the famous Japanese doctor in Hawaii, Masanao Goto.

(Kuokoa, 12/7/1889, p. 3)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XXVIII, Helu 49, Aoao 3. Dekemaba 7, 1889.

3 thoughts on “More on Katsu Goto, 1889.

    Katsu Goto
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Katsu (or Jun) Goto (後藤濶) (née Kobayakawa) (1862–1889) was a Japanese merchant, interpreter, and lynching victim.[1] He was the leader of a fledgling Japanese community in Honokaa.


    I found this part of the wiki entry intriguing and meriting a closer look.

    Charges were dropped against Lala and John Richmond for their cooperation with authorities,[2] while the others were tried and found guilty of manslaughter: Mills and Steele in the 2nd degree, to serve 9 years, and Blabon and Watson in the 3rd degree to serve four years.[6] Steele and Blabon escaped from prison to Australia and California respectively, Watson served out his time, and J. R. Mills was pardoned in 1894 after four years in prison[7] by the new government of Hawaii.[8]
    The questions that arise are:
    Were Blabon and Watson ‘allowed’ to escape?
    What were the political/racial aspects of the Provisional Government/Republic pardonning Mills? and how does that play into the early era of the US occupation?

    Again thanks so much.

  2. For a thorough discussion of the trial, see “The Lynching of Katsu Goto” by Gaylord C. Kubota in “Hawaii Chronicles: Island History from the pages of Honolulu Magazine” ed. by Bob Dye, UH Press, 1996, pp 197-214. Paul Neumann,who defended Queen Lili’uokalani in her 1895 trial, was one of the attorneys for the defendants.

  3. Thanks so much. As it happens I think that Mr. Kubota is still around. I found an address for him. I hope to get to the archives and track down the ‘perps’. I’m particularly interested in the ‘escape’ of two of the perps and the ‘pardonning’ of a third. I imagine it plays into the politics of the era; the US war/invasion and occupation of the Kingdom… research will enlighten and whatever I find I’ll post here if that’s permissible. Cheers and Mahalo.

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