The Japanese in Hawaii (simply Japanese or “Local Japanese”, rarely Kepanī) are the second largest ethnic group in Hawaii. At their height in 1920, they constituted 43% of Hawaii's population. They now number about 16.7% of the islands' population, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The U.S. Census categorizes mixed-race individuals separately, so the proportion of people with some Japanese ancestry is likely much larger.
Bronze statue of Japanese sugarcane workers erected in 1985 on the centennial anniversary of the first Japanese immigration to Hawaii in 1885
|English, Pidgin, Japanese, and Okinawan|
|Buddhism, Christianity, Shintoism, Irreligion|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Japanese American, Japanese people, Okinawans in Hawaii, Ryukyuan people|
The first known arrival of Japanese to the Kingdom of Hawaii came on May 5, 1806, involving survivors of the ill-fated ship Inawaka-maru who had been adrift aboard their disabled ship for more than seventy days.
The Inawaka-maru, a small cargo ship built in 1798 in Osaka, was owned by Mansuke Motoya. The Inawaka-maru started its final voyage from Hiroshima to Edo (modern Tokyo) on November 7, 1805. The ship had been chartered by the Kikkawa clan to deliver mats, horse feed, and two passengers, Kikkawa officials. Her crew consisted of Captain Niinaya Ginzo, Master Ichiko Sadagoro, Sailors Hirahara Zenmatsu, Akazaki Matsujiro, Yumori Kasoji, and Wasazo, a total of eight aboard. The Inawaka-maru had to turn back, and restarted her journey on November 27. She arrived in Edo on December 21, started back to her home port stopping in Kanagawa, Uraga, and Shimoda, and left on her final leg – from Shimoda across the Enshunada Sea – on January 6, 1806.
The Inawaka-maru was caught by a snowstorm that turned to rain and winds battered the ship eastward into the Pacific Ocean. On January 7 the crew cut down the mast because of the strong winds. On January 11 two rocky islands were sighted but no attempt was made toward them. These would be the last land before the Hawaiian Islands. On January 20 the water stores were empty, but the men collected rain water to survive. On February 28 the rice provisions ran out. On March 15 a flying fish landed in the ship and the men fished to sustain themselves. On March 20 the Tabour, an American ship Captained by Cornelius Sole, rescued the men of the Inawaka-maru. He found them begging for food by gesturing to their stomachs, mouths and bowing, found the galley empty, and understood their ordeal. He had the possessions of the survivors brought aboard his ship and salvaged parts and items aboard Inawaka-maru. Captain Sole had the survivors fed, over a span of five days, small portions to a progression to three normal meals a day, the remedy for starvation. On May 5, 1806, the Tabour docked in Oahu, Hawaii. Captain Sole left the eight Japanese in the care of King Kamehameha I. Captain Sole also left the anchor of the Inawaka-maru, 40 axes, and other items as payment for the Kingdom's hospitality.
The King delegated the responsibility for the Japanese to Kalanimoku who had 50 men construct a house on May 6 for the Japanese. It took four days to build and a cook and two guards assigned to the house, which attracted crowds to these men of a different ethnicity. On August 17 the Japanese left Hawaii aboard the Perseverance to Macau on October 17. From there they took a Chinese ship to Jakarta on December 25. In Jakarta they fell ill and five died there or on the voyage to Nagasaki where they arrived on June 17, 1807, where another died. At the time of the Sakoku it was illegal to leave Japan and the remaining two survivors were jailed and interrogated. One committed suicide and the remaining survivor Hirahara Zenmatsu eventually made it home November 29, 1807 but was summoned by Asano Narikata, The Daimyō of Hiroshima, to recount his odyssey of an experience titled Iban Hyoryu Kikokuroku Zenmatsu. Hirahara Zenmatsu died six months later.
In 1866, Eugene Miller Van Reed, a Dutch American, went to Japan as a representative of the Hawaiian Kingdom. He failed to establish a formal Hawaii-Japan relationship, but continued to stay there as a merchant and obtained a permission of Japanese emigration from the Edo Shogunate. As he started recruiting, the new Meiji Government that came into power in 1867, the first year of the Meiji period, nullified all the Edo Shogunate's treaties. (One of the reasons of the new government's rejection is said to be the rumor that Van Reed was engaged in slave trade. For example, Korekiyo Takahashi, whose study in the U.S. was arranged by Van Reed, ended up being sold by the host family as a slave, but managed to get back to Japan, and eventually became the 20th Prime Minister.) Van Reed, however, proceeded without the new government's permission to send 153 Japanese to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations. They sailed from Yokohama to Honolulu from May 17 to June 19, 1868, on the Scioto. This first official group of Japanese immigrants were called the Gannenmono (Japanese: 元年者), meaning the "people of the first year (of the Meiji period)", and the 150th anniversary of their arrival was celebrated in Hawaii in 2018.
There were 142 men and 6 women in this initial group, so many of them married Hawaiians after they arrived in Hawaii. They worked on sugar plantations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Lanai. Two or three months after arriving, many complained of contract violations since the working conditions and pay did not match with what they were promised. At least four of the six women and 50 men returned to Japan in 1870. Seven had died before their contracts ended. Among the Gannenmono were several people who would become legends among the Japanese Americans in Hawaii: Tomitarō Makino from Miyagi, the leader of the group; the youngest Ichigorō Ishimura, 13 years old; Sentarō Ishii, a samurai from Okayama, who was 102 years old when he died in Maui; Tokujirō "Toko" Satō from Tokyo, who lived in Waipio Valley with his Hawaiian wife, Clara; and Tarō Andō, who would become Japan's first consul general to the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Between 1869 and 1885 Japan barred emigration to Hawaii in fear that Japanese laborers would be degrading to the reputation of the Japanese race, as had occurred with the Chinese according to the point of view of the Japanese government. In 1881 King David Kalākaua visited Japan to strengthen relations between the two nations. Kalākaua offered not to request extraterritoriality of Japan, an act that departed from the norm of western nations. On March 10 Kalakaua met Meiji to propose a marriage between Princess Victoria Kaiulani and Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito. A few days later the proposal was denied, but the ban on immigration was eventually lifted in 1885. The first 153 Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii on February 8, 1885, as contract laborers for the sugarcane and pineapple plantations.
The political environment shifted with the onset of a new era known as the Hawaiian Revolutions. In 1887 the settlers ended absolute rule by the king by forcing him to accept the Bayonet Constitution and agreeing to constitutional government with a powerful parliament. The new constitution gave voting rights only for Hawaiians, Americans, and Europeans, and thus denied rights for Japanese and other Asians. The Japanese commissioner worked to pressure the Kingdom to restore the rights of Japanese by amending the constitution. In 1893 the Hawaiian Monarchy was overthrown, Tokyo responded by appointing Captain Tōgō Heihachirō to command the Japanese naval activities in Hawaii. The HIJMS Naniwa was sent immediately to Hawaii to rendezvous with the HIJMS Kongō which had been on a training mission.
Captain Tōgō had previously been a guest of Kalākaua, and returned to Hawaii to denounce the overthrow of Queen Lydia Liliʻuokalani, sister and successor to the late king and conduct “gunboat diplomacy”. Tōgō refused to salute the Provisional Government by not flying the flag of the Republic. He refused to recognize the new regime, encouraged the British ship HMS Garnet to do the same and protested the overthrow. The Japanese commissioner eventually stopped Tōgō from continuing his protest, believing it would undo his work at restoring rights to Japanese. Katō Kanji wrote in hindsight that he had regretted they had not protested harder and should have recruited the British in the protest.
The continued presence of the Japanese Navy and Japan's opposition to the overthrow led to a concern that Japan might use military force to restore Liliʻuokalani to her throne as a Japanese puppet. Anti-Japanese sentiment heightened.
After April 30, 1900, all children born in Hawaii were American citizens at birth. (8 U.S.C. § 1405) Most of the Japanese children had dual citizenship after their parents registered them. The Japanese settlers set up the first Japanese schools in the United States. By 1920, 98% of all Japanese children in Hawaii attended Japanese schools. Statistics for 1934 showed 183 schools taught a total of 41,192 students. Today, Japanese schools in Hawaii operate as supplementary education (usually on Friday nights or Saturday mornings) which is on top of the compulsory education required by the state.
Today, where Nikkei are about one-fifth of the whole population, Japanese is a major language, spoken and studied by many of the state's residents across ethnicities. It is taught in private Japanese-language schools as early as the second grade. As a courtesy to the large number of Japanese tourists (from Japan), Japanese subtexts are provided on place signs, public transportation, and civic facilities. The Hawaii media market has a few locally produced Japanese-language newspapers and magazines; however, these are on the verge of dying out, due to a lack of interest on the part of the local (Hawaii-born) Japanese population. Stores that cater to the tourist industry often have Japanese-speaking personnel. To show their allegiance to the U.S., many Nisei and Sansei intentionally avoided learning Japanese.
The Chinese in Hawaiʻi constitute about 4.7% of the state's population, most of whom (75%) are Cantonese people with ancestors from Zhongshan in Guangdong. This number does not include people of mixed Chinese and Hawaiian descent. If all people with Chinese ancestry in Hawaiʻi (including the Chinese-Hawaiians) are included, they form about 1/3 of Hawaii's entire population. As United States citizens, they are a group of Chinese Americans. A minority of this group have Hakka ancestry.Hawaii
Hawaii ( (listen) hə-WY-ee; Hawaiian: Hawaiʻi [həˈvɐjʔi]) is a state of the United States of America. It is the only state located in the Pacific Ocean and the only state composed entirely of islands.
The state encompasses nearly the entire Hawaiian archipelago, 137 islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). The volcanic archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania. At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight main islands are, in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the "Big Island" or "Hawaiʻi Island" to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago.
Hawaii is the 8th smallest geographically and the 11th least populous, but the 13th most densely populated of the 50 states. It is the only state with an Asian American plurality. Hawaii has over 1.4 million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. The state capital and largest city is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. The state's ocean coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, the fourth longest in the U.S., after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida, and California. Hawaii is the most recent state to join the union, on August 21, 1959. It was an independent nation until 1898.
Hawaii's diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii's culture is strongly influenced by North American and East Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture.Hawaii Republican Party
The Hawaii Republican Party is the state affiliate of the Republican Party of the United States. Based in Honolulu, the party is a central organization established for the promotion of the party platform as it is drafted in convention every other year. It is also charged with registering voters and delivering voter turnout through four major county organizations for Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui, and the City and County of Honolulu.Japanese Americans
Japanese Americans (日系アメリカ人, Nikkei Amerikajin) are Americans who are fully or partially of Japanese descent, especially those who identify with that ancestry, along with their cultural characteristics. Japanese Americans were among the three largest Asian American ethnic communities during the 20th century; but, according to the 2000 census, they have declined in number to constitute the sixth largest Asian American group at around 1.4 million, including those of partial ancestry. According to the 2010 census, the largest Japanese American communities were found in California with 272,528, Hawaii with 185,502, New York with 37,780, Washington with 35,008, Illinois with 17,542, and Ohio with 16,995. Southern California has the largest Japanese American population in North America and the city of Torrance holds the densest Japanese American population in the 48 contiguous states.Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH) is a cultural center and history museum in Moiliili, Hawaii that focuses on the Japanese-American experience in Hawaii, especially internment.Japanese Problem
The Japanese Problem, also referred to as the Japanese Menace or the Japanese Conspiracy, was the name given to racial tensions in Hawaii between the European-American sugarcane plantation owners and the Japanese immigrants hired to work in the cane fields.Japanese loanwords in Hawaii
Loanwords from the Japanese language in Hawaiʻi appear in various parts of the culture. Many loanwords in Hawaiian Pidgin (or Hawaiian Creole English) derive from the Japanese language. The linguistic influences of the Japanese in Hawaii began with the first immigrants from Japan in 1868 and continues with the large Japanese American population in Hawaiʻi today.John DeFrancis
John DeFrancis (August 31, 1911 – January 2, 2009) was an American linguist, sinologist, author of Chinese language textbooks, lexicographer of Chinese dictionaries, and Professor Emeritus of Chinese Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.Jun Mayuzumi
Jun Mayuzumi (黛ジュン ; born 26 May 1948, in Chōfu, Tokyo) is a Japanese singer. Her best known songs include "Tenshi-no Yūwaku" (Angel's Temptation 1968). She won a Japan Record Award in 1969, and won the inaugural Yamaha Popular Song Contest Grand Prix at the Nemu no Sato Indoor Hall, on November 5, 1970. She appeared on the New Year's Eve Kōhaku Uta Gassen show for four years, 1967-1970.Kazuko Sinoto
Kazuko Sinoto (c. 1928 – August 5, 2013) was a Japanese-born American historian and immigration researcher who specialized in the history of Japanese migration to Hawaii. Her best known works included "A Pictorial History of the Japanese in Hawaii 1885-1924," co-written with Dr. Franklin Odo. The pictorial history was published in 1985 to mark the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese contract immigrant laborers to Hawaii.Sinoto was born Kazuko Sato in Osaka, Japan, to Shigeomi and Kinuko Sato. In 1957, Sinoto, who had married Yosihiko H. Sinoto, emigrated to Hawaii with their son, Akihiko. She was married to Yosihiko H. Sinoto, an anthropologist of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, for 64 years, until her death in 2013. Kazuko Sinoto gained permanent residency in the United States in 1966 and became a U.S. citizen in 1982.Kazuko Sinoto was a housewife for five years after her arrival in Hawaii. She then took a job at the Bishop Museum's bookstore and gift shop in Honolulu. In 1976, the Hawai'i Immigrant Heritage Preservation Center was opened at the Bishop Museum. Sinoto left her position with the bookstore to become a staff member at the museum's newly established immigration center. She soon specialized in the history of the Japanese in Hawaii. Sinoto collected, cataloged and displayed artifacts related to the Japanese Americans for more than 37 years. Many of the items and documents were acquired and donated from the public. Additionally, Sinoto oversaw the creation of exhibitions on the Japanese and other ethnic groups in Hawaii.In 1985, Sinoto published her best known work, "A Pictorial History of the Japanese in Hawaii 1885-1924." The book, which was co-authored with Dr. Franklin Odo, was released to coincide with the anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese contract workers in Hawaii in 1885. Sinoto researched Japanese-language newspapers for eight years to compile sources for the book. She also wrote the captions and acquired the book's photographs and other illustrations.Kazuko Sinoto became a consultant after leaving the Bishop Museum and continued her research on the Japanese in Hawaii. She was a founding member of the Joseph Heco Society of Hawaii. During her later life, Sinoto worked to digitize the entire Bishop Museum Hawaii Japanese Immigrant Collection, which consists of more than 13,000 documents, books, photographs, and other objects.Sinoto died at her home following a two-month illness on August 5, 2013, at the age of 85. She was survived by her husband of 64 years, anthropologist Yosihiko H. Sinoto; their son, Akihiko; her sister, Kyoko Tremblais; and three grandchildren, Luke Kaneko, Laurent (Brandy), and Leigh.Makiki Christian Church
Makiki Christian Church is a Christian church located in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was built in 1931, and is the only Christian church in the United States designed to look like a 16th-century Japanese castle.Martin Dusinberre
Martin Dusinberre is a professor and the chair for global history at the University of Zurich. Before attaining this position in 2015, he was a lecturer in Modern Japanese History at Newcastle University and a postdoctoral researcher at Heidelberg University. Next to his academic publications, which focus on the social history of modern Japan and the history of shipping and sea travel, he has written editorial pieces for Reuters, the History Workshop, and The Guardian. In 2018 he developed an exhibition in cooperation with the Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich: "A Painting for the Emperor. Japanese Labourers on Sugar Plantations in Hawai’i" centered on a painting by Joseph Dwight Strong and dealt with his current research about the Japanese in Hawaii.Okinawans in Hawaii
The Okinawans in Hawaii are a Ryukyuan ethnic group, numbering anywhere between 45,000-50,000 people.Outline of Hawaii
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the U.S. state of Hawaii:
Hawaii is the newest state among the 50 states of the United States of America. It is also the southernmost state, the only tropical state, and the only state that was previously an independent monarchy. The state comprises the Hawaiian Islands (with the exception of Midway) in the North Pacific Ocean and is the only U.S. state that is not primarily located on the continent of North America.Portuguese immigration to Hawaii
Portuguese immigration to Hawaii began in 1878 when Portuguese residents made up less than 1% of the Island population. However, the migration that began that year of laborers from Madeira and the Azores to work in the sugarcane plantations rapidly increased the Portuguese presence in Hawaii, and by the end of 1911 nearly 16,000 Portuguese immigrants had arrived.Roland Kotani
Roland M. Kotani was a Democratic member of the Hawaii State House of Representatives who represented the Pearl City-Pacific Palisades area. He was killed by his estranged wife Grace Kotani on 28 July 1989.Kotani graduated from Yale University and authored the book The Japanese in Hawaii: A Century of Struggle in 1985.Takie Okumura
Takie Okumura (奥村 多喜衛) (1865-February 10, 1951) was a Christian minister from Japan. He was the founder of the Makiki Christian Church in Honolulu, Hawaii, the "Okumura Boys and Girls Home", and some of Hawaii's first Japanese language schools.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) was established in the Hawaiian Islands in 1850 following the Edict of Toleration promulgated by Kamehameha III, giving the underground Hawaii Catholic Church the right to worship, and at the same time allowing other faith traditions to begin establishing themselves.
The first LDS Church missionary to have success among the Hawaiians was George Q. Cannon. Among his earliest converts were men well-versed in the Hawaiian language, such as Jonatana Napela and Uaua. After the construction of the Hawaii Temple, the Latter-day Saints founded the Church College of Hawaii, now Brigham Young University-Hawaii (BYU-Hawaii), along with the associated Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), the state's largest living museum, and an entertainment center; which draws a million visitors annually. The Mormon population in Hawaii continued to increase, and the Kona Hawaii Temple, a second LDS Church temple for the islands, was completed in Kailua Kona on the island of Hawaii in 2000.
As of September 1, 2018, there were 74,278 Latter-day Saints organized into 16 stakes, 125 wards, and 16 branches, in Hawaii, and there was one mission. In addition, there were 26 Family History Centers, used for genealogical research and study. Hawaii has the highest concentration of Latter-day Saints of U.S. states that do not border Utah.
Ethnic groups in Hawaii
Japanese Americans and Japanese expatriates in the United States by location
Asian Americans1, 2