This is historical material, "frozen in time." The web site is no longer updated and links to external web sites and some internal pages will not work.

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR — News Release — Hawaii State Archives, Japanese Cultural Center unveil exhibit of first Japanese immigrants to arrive in Hawaii

Posted on Jun 19, 2018 in Latest Department News, Office of the Governor Press Releases

June 19, 2018



HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Archives unveiled never-before-seen items of the recruitment, voyage and emigration of the Gannenmono – the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in Hawai‘i in 1868. The special one-day exhibition at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH) is part of a year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese immigrants to Hawai‘i.


Rare artifacts from the State Archives’ collection tell the story of the first organized group of Japanese immigrants to the islands – from their recruitment and departure from Yokohama, to life on the plantations and their eventual decision to remain in Hawai‘i or return to Japan. The public exhibit includes the 1871 Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and the Empire of Japan. The Treaty bears the signatures of King Kalakaua and Emperor Meiji, the original list of the 147 Gannenmono, handwritten letters from the Hawaiian Consul General for Japan, Eugene Van Reed – to the Hawaiian Ministers for Foreign Affairs, W.C Wylie and Charles de Varigny regarding the recruitment of Japanese workers for Hawai‘i’s sugar plantations.


The exhibit also includes the passenger list for the ship Scioto that sailed from Yokohama to Honolulu, and various letters, lists, and bills relating to life on the plantation.


“We extend our deepest gratitude to the Hawai‘i State Archives and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i as we remember and honor the first 180,000 contract laborers from Japan who came to Hawai‘i to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations in search of a better life for their children. The State Archives, in collaboration with the Japanese Cultural Center worked to prepare these primary historical documents from the Archives’ special collection. This was not an easy task because of the delicate condition of the documents. We are extremely fortunate,” said Gov. David Ige.


The Hawai‘i State Archives, established in 1905, is a division within the State Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) responsible for collecting, appraising, preserving and making available to the public, Hawaiian government records of enduring value. The primary collection consists of government records from the monarch to the current legislative session, private collections of individuals and organizations, historical photographs, maps, and a library collection specializing in Hawaiian history, culture, and Pacific voyages.



Media Contacts:

Jodi Leong

Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0043

Mobile: 808-798-3929

[email protected]


Cathy Yasuda

Special Assistant to the Comptroller

Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS)

Office: (808) 586-0404

Mobile:  (808) 224-2634

[email protected]