More from David Keaweamahi on Japanese contract laborers, 1890.

From Japan!


Mr. J. U. Kawainui,

Honolulu, H. I.

O Friend,

Please allow me to introduce you to the new things I have seen in my newspaper which I believe are new information important to spread; which I invite you to kindly insert into your newspaper, Ko Hawaii Pae Aina, for the benefit of the readers and the nation.

I was pleased to see the thoughts of a famous newspaper of Japan, praising Hawaii as the place where a great number of Japanese laborers obtained a big sum of money, more than they’d receive in their homeland.

This newspaper likened Hawaii to a school of education, where a child receives the wealth of knowledge, equal to the amount of lessons he studies; so too with the Japanese who are going to Hawaii, where they get high salaries that they’d not get here, and for more intense work than in Hawaii, along with more hours.

This paper also stated that within the past five years, the total number of Japanese laborers including men and women has reached 14,000, sent by the Board for Emigration of Japanese Laborers.

And within this period, these laborers, as a result of their effort and their saving of what they earned, made a great amount in Japanese money, not less than 2,000,000 yen; and not included with this, they paid the ship owners half a million yen to take them from Japan to Hawaii and return.

This great sum of money was sent from Hawaii to here in Japan, the home of these laborers. As a result, there rose within me the desire to encourage my own Hawaiian friends to take a look at the path taken by the Japanese, starting like this:

Their departure from the land of their birth—Their travelling across the great ocean at great expense—The landing as strangers in Hawaii—Working all sorts of jobs for a boss who is a stranger—Enduring the work—Eating only a little without wasting—Caring for what they have—The results of their putting up with the work, that being millions of dollars.

I believe that this is ample explanation, O Friends of the same womb, for you to think about; for the work has come to your door O Hawaiians—diamonds, gold, and money, right before your eyes; it is not far away like for the Japanese for whom it is far, far away.

Look at the hardships and the facing of the spray of the Pacific Ocean whose distance from Hawaii to Japan is 3,440 miles; this distance and hardships became nothing to them.

And you, O Hawaiians, you wake up in the morning and take up your work, and put in your time working, and not with things that waste your time, as goes the saying of the educated people: “Time is like money.”

And O Mr. Editor, I am sending a copy of the newspaper, “The Tokyo Mail” of August 7th, 1890, and within it you will see all of what this paper has said, and it is for you to patiently translate it all.

As I am preparing to send to you the news above, I have also received from my true friend, J. W. Girvin, Esq., our Hawaiian Consul in the city of San Diego, California, the newspaper “The San Diego Union”. Within this paper, he explained fully the value of coconuts, starting from the trunk to the leaves; we are familiar with coconuts and its value; and with our consul explaining the value of the coconut, I am thinking that there are also other sources of wealth for you, O Hawaiians, like sugarcane, rice, bananas, and so forth.

He explains that coconuts can be found in Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, I am sending this paper with hopes that you will translate it for the good of our people, being that it should not be long before Hawaii starts receiving inquiries for coconuts because of this important description of Hawaii’s good friend dealing with the asset not put to use by Hawaiians in the past years.

It is a very admirable thing that the government selects good people with good ideas to search after the well being of the people that conferred upon him that honorable title, Consul, like J. W. Girvin.

When I look at the ideas of this servant of the nation, I know that he is searching while pulling along the minds of entrepreneurs to look to Hawaii to export coconuts, like the other produce exported from Hawaii to other lands.

And should this description of our Consul become something that the wealthy people and trade companies of foreign lands latch on to, then those great fields of coconut from Hopoe until Kahaualea in Puna, Hawaii will become a source of wealth; so too the stands of coconut in the Kona districts, along with those of Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai. And even more so, with the opening these days of new steamship lines which go directly from San Diego to Hawaii. This clarification should be sufficient.

With aloha,

D. Keaweamahi.

No. 9 Fujimi Sho [Fujimi-cho], Kojimachi, Tokyo, Japan, Sept. 13, 1890.

[As we celebrate Merrie Monarch week, Japanese contract laborers is one of Kalakaua’s many legacies…]

(Ko Hawaii Pae Aina, 9/27/1890, p. 2)

Mai Iapana mai!

Ko Hawaii Pae Aina, Buke XIII, Helu 39, Aoao 2. Sepatemaba 27, 1890.

In honor of Kalakaua’s birthday yesterday, I went in search of this church which he visited 130 years ago, 1881.

[Excerpt from:


“Extremely Regal Welcome!

“Honored with the Cross of Japan!


On the 10th, the Royal One went to Yokohama, and joined in prayer with the Christians of Japan. In 1853, the churches of Hawaii donated One Thousand Dollars for the building of a church in Japan. The 10th of March was the opening. The King was invited to attend the opening of the church, and he agreed. When he walked into the church, he was lead to a high area. On the walls of the church, written in clear, large letters were:

Hawaii to Japan 1853.

Japan to Hawaii 1881.

Above the pulpit, on the wall was the letters: ALOHA. After the prayer, Doctor T. W. Gulick spoke on the reasons that the Hawaiian churches donated the money. He said, before the King left Hawaii, the King, the Attorney General, and Kale Kauka personally went to see the opening of the Chinese church in Honolulu; and on this day, they see in person the opening of the Japanese church. The people were overjoyed at the Kings good will, in his coming in person. At that, one of the Japanese elders stood and read a speech of welcome to the King in Japanese, and in the name of the Japanese Christians he gifted the King with a copy of the New Testament in Japanese. The King stood up and responded to the welcome speech by saying, he was happy to meet with the Christians of Japan, and that he was also overjoyed with the gift; because he believed the Christians of his nation would be thrilled to hear of the progress.

After the worship, a small party was held in a room close by, where gentlemen and ladies who entered into the family of Christians were shown to the King. At 7 in the evening, the Alii went to a party given by the Masons, and at 10 that night, he returned to Tokyo. It appeared as if the Christians of Japan were excited and happy at this appearance of the Alii. They looked at him as if he was not of the lower class, and when saw that their church was entered by a King of a far away land, and that he spoke before them and accepted the gift of the New Testament, none of them could control their nervousness. Here are the words of one of the Missionaries: “The King visiting the church is a great blessing to the Christians of Japan.”

  (Ko Hawaii Pae Aina, 4/23/1881, p. 2)


Ko Hawaii Pae Aina, Buke IV, Helu 17, Aoao 2. Aperila 23, 1881.