Hawaii missionaries in Japan, 1871.


Ke Alaula:—Aloha to you:—Here we are on the shores of the island called Nipona,* the large island of the archipelago of Japan. We left San Francisco on the first day of February and on the 26th, we landed here at Yokohama, Japan. We stayed there for three days and met with the American missionaries who live there. Then we boarded a steam coaster and travelled for two nights and landed at the port of Kōbe. Kōbe is on the south side of Nipona, in the space between Nipona and Kyūshū.

The two of us spent two weeks with the American missionary who arrived here earlier. Currently we are renting a house, and perhaps this is where we will stay permanently. There are about 300 haole from abroad living here, but most of them are unbelievers.

We started to learn Japanese, and know some words. Here are some of them, ino [imo] is potato; kome is rice; maki is firewood; tora [tori] is chicken; hiru go hau [hiru gohan] is lunch.

The Rulers and all people of the land are idol worshipers. There are perhaps forty people who have followed after the teachings of the American missionaries, listening to and worshiping Jehovah. There are maybe twenty million or more people in total in this land.

There are two types of idolatry here. The first one is Buddhism. This religion was spread from India until it reached Japan. The second type is called Sinetu [Shintō]. The religious buildings for both of these religions are built in serene places on hills, in beautiful valleys and sheltered forests.

O. H. Gulick.

*This seems to be a misunderstanding, whereas “Nippon” is the name for Japan as a whole, and the island that Gulick speaks of is named Honshū.

(Alaula, 5/1871, p. 8)


Ke Alaula, Buke VI, Helu 2, Aoao 8. Mei, 1871.

Yokohama Union Church.

The church pastors did have this picture of the old church which was located on what is now a girl’s school nearby (Ferris). They do not believe that this is the church, because they hear it was built later (but there are no documentation to any of this)…


Old Yokohama Union Church

…so I can’t say I stood where Kalakaua stood 130 years ago, but all I can say for sure is that it was close by…

Yokohama Union Church, 2011.

The people in the archives were helpful and showed me the Union Church in Yokohama on a modern map. So I finally ended up here.

66-2 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama.


Yokohama Union Church

…obviously it is was a new building. So I went to talk to the pastors and they had  no idea of the history of the church even after being there for more than 10 years. It seems history is lost with earthquakes and bombings.

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.