King Kalakaua in Japan

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Kalakaua in Japan
King David Kalakaua (center) and his suite pose with Japanese officials. In the front row, left to right: Prince and Lieutenant General Higashi-fushimi Yoshiaki (1846-1903) of the Imperial Army 陸軍中将東伏見宮嘉彰親王 (later Prince and General Komatsu Akihito 小松宮彰仁親王. It was his adoptive son and younger half brother Prince Higashi-fushimi Yorihito [1867-1922] whom Kalakaua proposed to marry his niece Princess Kauilani.), Kalakaua, and Count Count Sano Tsunetami (1823-1902) 佐野常民, a Ministry of Finance official and later the founder of the Japan Red Cross. In the back row is Colonel Charles H. Judd, Tokuno Ryosuke (1825-1883) 得能 良介 (Ministry of Finance official who was the first chief of the Printing Bureau to print money), and William N. Armstrong, the author of ''Around the World with a King.''
Site of the Enryokan State Guesthouse (now in Hama-rikyu Gardens) where King Kalakaua stayed in Tokyo.
This article is still under construction.

by Philbert Ono

King David Kalakaua (1836-1891), who reigned over the Kingdom of Hawaii during 1874-1891, became the first reigning monarch to travel around the world during Jan. 20 to Oct. 29, 1881. He wanted to broaden his horizons, see how other countries govern their people, recuperate his health, and try and obtain immigrants to Hawaii from other countries.

They visited Japan, China, Hong Kong, Siam, Singapore, Malaya, Burma, India, Egypt, Italy (including the Vatican), Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S. They met many royalty such as Emperor Meiji, the King of Siam, and Queen Victoria, Pope Leo XIII, and governors who lavishly entertained and hosted the Hawaiian party.

Since there was no direct steamship service between Hawaii and Japan, the King first had to sail to San Francisco to reach Japan. At Honolulu Harbor, he boarded the steamship City of Sydney which was on its way to San Francisco from Australia. From San Francisco, the King rode the steamship Oceanic sailing nonstop for 24 days through bad weather arriving Yokohama, Japan on March 4, 1881. They spent 19 days in Japan.

The King traveled with three people: Hawaii-born American William N. Armstrong who was Hawaii's Attorney-General and specially appointed as Minister of State and Royal Commissioner of Immigration for the trip, Colonel Charles H. Judd who was the King's Chamberlain, and the King's personal attendant or valet named Robert, who turned out to be an alcohol-loving German Baron.

While in Japan, the King and his companions were treated lavishly by Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito) and the Japanese government as state guests. They spent 12 days in the Tokyo area, before traveling west to Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagasaki.

In Tokyo, they stayed at a state guesthouse in Hama-rikyu Detached Palace which is now a public garden. The King Kalakaua and Emperor Meiji met often. They were very impressed with each other. The Emperor shook hands with the King who walked shoulder to shoulder with the Emperor as if they were equals. The conferred on each other decorations of the highest order. After receiving the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, Kalakaua was the first head of state whom Emperor Meiji met. Although Hawaii was a midget kingdom, the King was lavishly treated as if he were the head of the largest country in the world.

He toured temples, attended an exposition,

The King had an imposing physical stature, and a very distinguished appearance which impressed many people during his trip. They drew much curiosity when people saw a dark-skinned Polynesian king with Caucasian companions. People either thought the Hawaiian race was extremely varied or that the white man were ruling the kingdom through a puppet king. Common questions which they encountered included "Why didn't you choose Hawaiian natives to be Cabinet members and travel companions?" "How large is your army?" The latter question was also asked in Japan. Hawaii's army was a tiny, volunteer force of 75 soldiers. The King and his companions avoided answering the question throughout the trip.

The King loved to receive decorations which you can always see on his uniform. Collecting them seemed to be a hobby. He also took along a precious red and yellow feathered cloak traditionally worn by the highest Hawaiian chiefs.

Some years after King Kalakaua died, Armstrong published in 1904 his memoirs of the trip titled, Around the World with a King. This book is still reprinted today. He describes in detail some (not all) of their adventures. Their arrival in Japan welcomed by numerous 21-gun salutes in Yokohama and meetings with Emperor Meiji. However, the memoirs is not a day-by-day detailed record of the trip.

A Japanese version of the book published in 1995 presents much more detailed information about the King's stay in Japan (カラカウア王のニッポン仰天旅行記 by Hiroshi Aramata). Besides a Japanese translation of Armstrong's memoirs with many helpful footnotes and illustrations, it reprints the Japanese Foreign Ministry's record of the King's day-to-day itinerary in Japan. It also includes Japanese newspaper articles reporting the King's activities in Japan. A Japanese translation of the King's brief journal in Japan is also provided. Such supplemental information has been invaluable to paint a clearer picture of the King's stay in Japan.

Based on the references above, here is a chronology and synopsis of their stay in Japan:

1881 Jan. 11 - At a Cabinet Council meeting, King Kalakaua announces his decision to go on a world tour. This trip had been much discussed during the last months of 1880.

1881 Jan. 14 - A superb farewell banquet is held for the King by his Cabinet ministers. Foreign diplomats and people of all ethnicities are invited.

Jan. 20 - Departed Honolulu for San Francisco on the steamship City of Sydney which was sailing from Sydney, Australia to San Francisco.

Feb. 8 - After spending about 10 days in California being entertained by local officials and friends in San Francisco and Sacramento, they departed San Francisco on the steamship Oceanic bound for Yokohama, Japan. Aboard the ship were Americans, Englishmen, Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiians. At least one Japanese student was also aboard, returning to Japan after studying in the States. It was a nonstop voyage across the Pacific Ocean where they often encountered bad weather.

Feb. 16 - Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs receives a telegraph message from Japan's Consul-General in San Francisco informing them that the King of Hawaii would be visiting Japan.

Feb. 27 - A large group of Japanese government officials from the Foreign Ministry, Imperial Household Agency, and Finance Ministry head for Yokohama, Kanagawa. A large contingent of troops are also sent to Yokohama to guard the Hama (Shiba) Rikyu Detached Palace and roads.

March 2 - Japanese newspapers report that the King of Hawaii did not arrive Yokohama on March 1 as scheduled.

March 3 - Japanese newspapers report that the King of Hawaii will likely arrive Yokohama on March 4.

March 4, Yokohama Arrival - The Oceanic arrives in the Bay of Edo (Tokyo Bay) at early dawn and docks in Yokohama at 8 am. They receive a 21-gun salute numerous times from foreign and Japanese warships. The King and his suite had intended to travel incognito as "Alii Kalakaua" and never informed the Japanese government that they would be visiting. However, the Japanese government was already informed by San Francisco and welcomed him as King Kalakaua.

They are taken by horse carriage to nearby Iseyama Rikyu Detached Palace 伊勢山離宮 in Yokohama where they spent the first night in Japan. Armstrong describes it as "??" The Iseyama Rikyu Detached Palace was bought from the Mitsui group on May 24, 1875 to serve as a rest house for Imperial visits to Yokohama. In 1876, Emperor Meiji stayed at the Detached Palace before going on a tour of the Tohoku region. In 1881, it was renamed the Yokohama Guesthouse 横浜御用邸. On Feb. 25, 1885, it was sold to the Governor of Kanagawa. Today, it is the site of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ's company housing.

At 6:30 pm, a dinner reception was held at the Iseyama Rikyu Detached Palace attended by the Governor of Kanagawa and officials from the Finance Ministry, Imperial Navy, and Imperial Household Agency and Robert Walker Irwin (R.W. Irwin), Hawaii's Consul-General in Japan. After the dinner, citizens of Yokohama lined Benten-dori and streets adjacent to the detached palace and displayed fireworks.

March 5 - At about 10:00 am, the King and his suite left Yokohama via horse-drawn carriage and headed for Yokohama Station. They took a train and arrived in Tokyo at Shimbashi Station at about 11:50 am. The railway station was decorated with Hawaiian and Japanese flags. From there, they went by Imperial carriage to the Akasaka Palace where the Emperor was.

In the afternoon, they went to Enryokan 延遼館 which would be their accomodations. The Enryokan which was a state guesthouse for foreign dignitaries within the Hama Rikyu Detached Palace (now Hama-rikyu Gardens or Hamarikyu Onshi Teien). Built in May 1869, it was Japan's first Western-style building made of stone. It served as an office of the Japanese navy before it was refitted as guest house. Former U.S. President Ulysses Grant and his wife stayed there for two months in 1879 during their world tour. It was used as a guest house until 1883 when the new Rokumeikan 鹿鳴館 guest house was completed. Due to old age, the Enryokan was torn down in 1889. Today, in Hama-rikyu Gardens, it is a large, vacant lot. The garden is near Shiodome Station and Shimbashi Station, making it convenient for foreign guests to board the train.

At 3 pm, they meet Emperor Meiji and the Empress at the Akasaka Palace. The interpreter was the daughter of Foreign Minister Inoue Kaoru.

March 6 - At 9 am, they departed to attend an exposition at Ueno 内国勧業博覧会. Various arts and crafts as well as industrial machinery were exhibited. The King was very impressed. Armstrong did not go to this expo, and thus it is not mentioned in his book. Lunch was with Prince Higashi Fushimi-no-Miya 東伏見宮 and a few others. They returned to Enryokan at 3:20 pm. The dinner reception was attended by the Prince Higashi Fushimi-no-Miya, the Governor of Tokyo, and several others. After dinner, they saw a performance by a kabuki actor from Shin-Tomiza Theater 新富座.

March 7 - At 9:30 am, they departed to visit the Printing Bureau 印刷局 where money was printed. At 3 pm, they saw some kind of performance of foot tricks 足芸. For dinner, Prince Arisugawa-no-Miya 有栖川宮, Prince Higashi Fushimi-no-Miya, the U.S. Consul-General, and others attended.

March 8 - At 9:45 am, they left for Hibiya to attend a military review and parade 観兵式. After lunch, they watched 大神楽. After dinner, they watched 席画.

March 9 - At 10 am, they left to visit a Naval Academy. Then they went to Fukiage Palace where they had lunch. After dinner, they left at 7 pm to watch kabuki at Shin-Tomiza Theater.

March 10 - At 9 am, they departed Enryokan to visit an artillery factory 小石川砲兵工庁 小石川砲兵工廠 in Koishikawa (near Tokyo Dome). They also visited an army military academy 陸軍士官学校 where they had lunch with a few army officers.

At 2:45 pm, they left Shimbashi Station by train for Yokohama. The Governor of Kanagawa meets them in Yokohama. They left Yokohama Station at 10 pm by train to Tokyo. Famous photographer Uchida Kuichi (who was the first to take a portrait of Emperor Meiji) is ordered to produce enlargements of photos taken at Fukiage Palace.

March 11 - At 9:30 am, they departed to visit Kobu Daigakko 工部大学校, an engineering school. The school had many foreign teachers teaching in English to the Japanese who wanted to learn Western technologies. The school was the forerunner of the engineering department of the Univ. of Tokyo. The Naval Ministry also gave several textbooks as a gift to the King.

At 2 pm, the King visits the Imperial Palace in informal dress. After 5 pm, the King meets the U.S. Consul-General and the Hawaiian Consul-General R.W. Irwin.

March 12 - At 10 am, they left to visit the Oji Paper Co. 王子抄紙部 where they also had lunch. Afterward, they visited Mitsui Paper Co. 三井製紙場. On their way back, the stopped at Shibusawa Eiichi's villa to rest. Dinner was with two princes 東伏見宮, 北白川宮 and other officials. During dinner, an orchestra played. After dinner, they watched court music and dance.

March 13 - At 9 am, they left Enryokan and toured Ginza, Ryogoku-bashi Bridge, Mukojima, Azumabashi Bridge, Asakusa, and Ueno. They were accompanied by three officials. Lunch was hosted by Prince 東伏見宮 attended by 20 people, including Prince and Princess Arisugawa. Shibusawa Eiichi also sends a message thanking the King for visiting his villa the day before.

On the way home from lunch, they visited Koyokan 紅葉館 in Shiba Park 芝公園 to watch Noh Kyogen comedy drama 能狂言 and dances. This was arranged by Hawaiian Consul-General Robert Irwin. Opened in 1881, the Koyokan was an exclusive, members-only restaurant popular among high society. It was destroyed during WWII bombings of Tokyo.

Dinner consisted of Japanese food with the usual slew of officials.

March 14 - At noon, they left Enryokan to visit the Akasaka Palace. Emperor Meiji confers upon the King Kalakaua the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum 菊花大綬章 which was the highest decoration. (In his book, Armstrong says that the King received the Order of the Rising Sun, but this is mistaken.) And William Armstrong and Colonel Judd receive the 2nd Class, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star. The latter two received their decorations in another room from a Minister rather than from the Emperor himself.

The Emperor also gave valuable gifts to the King and Queen of Hawaii and his suite: Vases, silks, tablecloth, lacquered boxes, and embroideries. The Empress also met the King and his suite.

Dinner was at the Akasaka Palace. Word is received of the assassination of the Russian Tsar.

The King and his suite left Shimbashi Station by train at 8 pm for Yokohama. They left Yokohama Station at 12:30 am on a chartered train to return to Enryokan.

March 15 - Emperor Meiji leaves at 11 am to visit the King and his suite at Enryokan. The King greets him at the doorway. The King bestow on the Emperor the Grand Cross of the Order of Kamehameha, and a lesser Order on the Imperial Princes and Ministers.

Lunch is at Enryokan. Dinner was with Prince Higashi-fushimi-no-miya and government officials and included speeches.

March 16, Depart Tokyo - The King and his suite have lunch with Prince Higashi-fushimi-no-miya, Foreign Minister Inoue Kaoru, and other officials. They made speeches.

They leave the Enryokan at 1 pm dressed in full uniform. A chartered train was to leave Shimbashi Station at 1:20 pm. Due to the assassination of the Russian Tsar, the King declined any band music to be played. Farewell ceremonies were held on the train platform with members of the Imperial family and the government. They saw the train off.

The train arrived Yokohama and the King and his suite rested a while before boarding the Tokyo Maru (operated by Mitsubishi Steamship Co.) which departed at 4 pm. No gun salutes were given as requested by the King due to the assassination of the Russian Tsar.

March 17 - The King and his suite continue sailing to Kobe on the Tokyo Maru.

March 18, Kobe Arrival - The King and his suite arrive Kobe Port at 2:40 am. They are greeted by a naval captain and other officials who were onboard a navy vessel in the same port. The Governor Morioka of Hyogo Prefecture also boarded the Tokyo Maru. At 5:20 am, the Hyogo Governor and the King arrive on shore. They rest a while and proceed to Sannomiya Station. At 6:16 am, they depart Sannomiya Station by train (first-class car).

At 8:55 am, they arrive Kyoto Shichijo Station. They are greeted and escorted by local officials and get on a horse-drawn carriage to visit Nishi Hongwanji temple. Then they visit the Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace. They see some Nishijin fabrics and had lunch at the State Guesthouse with Kyoto Governor Kitagaki Kunimichi.

At 1:25 pm, they depart Kyoto Shichijo Station by train and arrive at Osaka Umeda Station in Osaka at 2:53 pm. Together with the Osaka Governor hey ride a horse-drawn carriage and arrived at the Japan Mint at 3:20 pm to see how money is made. William Gowland, a well-known British chemical engineer employed by the Japanese government to modernize Japan, explained things.

At 5 pm, they leave the Japan Mint as the Osaka Governor bid them farewell. The King and his suite got out of their rickshaws and took a walk around the city.

At 9:30 pm, they depart Osaka Umeda Station by train and arrive Sannomiya Station in Kobe at 10:40 pm.

March 19 - Set sail and departed Kobe at 2 am. At about 2 pm, off the coast of Hiroshima, they are greeted by a gun salute from a British warship as the Tokyo Maru flew the Hawaiian flag.

At 10 pm, they arrive at Shimonoseki (Yamaguchi Prefecture).

March 20 - At 1:30 am, the Tokyo Maru departs Shimonoseki and arrives Nagasaki Port at 2:35 pm. They are greeted by officials and meet various officials including US Navy officers at a ryokan inn. Foreign warships in Nagasaki Port also gave 21-gun salutes. Armstrong declined to go ashore.

March 21 - Very busy day as the King is visited by numerous Imperial and military officials at the ryokan inn. Consul Generals from the US, UK, Denmark, Germany, China, Russia, etc., also visited. At 3:50 pm, the King left the ryokan via rickshaw for a guided tour. Japanese cuisine for dinner. They returned to the ryokan at 10 pm.

March 22, Farewell to Japan - They left the ryokan at 2 pm and attended a ceremony at a park. A Russian warship gives a farewell gun salute as the King and his suite leave Nagasaki Port slightly after 5 pm for Shanghai, China

King Kalakaua went on to China and the rest of the Orient. In Siam, they saw coconut trees and became very nostalgic about their homeland. They relished drinking coconut milk, "the wine of the coral reef." In June, they reached Europe where the King had an audience with the Pope and enjoyed opera in London, Vienna, and Paris. On the U.S. East Coast, he went to Washington and met President Chester Arthur. By rail, they traveled across the U.S. and left San Francisco on Oct. 22, arriving Honolulu on Oct. 29 when they received a joyous welcome home.

While the King was away, his sister Princess Liliuokalani was regent. There were also rumors about the trip that the King was out to sell the Hawaiian Kingdom to a European power or to offer some territory as collateral for a loan. Even the U.S. government started to believe this and told its American ministers in Europe to watch the King closely during his trip and warn any nation against striking any deal.

Today, it is unthinkable for any head of state to take a trip around the world for 10 months. It could be done in a much shorter time, but still