The Bonin Islands Colony: Hawaiian Settlers in the Western Pacific

photo: Bonin Islands settlers

This photograph, taken sometime before 1915, shows five Bonin women of Hawaiian ancestry wearing typical Japanese hairstyles and clothing of the day. The text below the picture reads: “The Kanaka women of Ogasawara (the adult and child in the front right are Japanese).”

The little-known story of the pioneering group of Hawaiian Islanders who established the first permanent colony in the Bonin Islands will be the topic of the program at the May 15, 2014, annual meeting of the Hawaiian Historical Society. The Bonins, also known as the Ogasawara Islands, lying a thousand kilometers south of Tokyo, were first settled in 1830 by a group of pioneers from the Hawaiian Islands whose their descendants still reside there as Japanese citizens.

The Native Hawaiians who brought civilization to the Bonin Islands did so through the transplantation of Hawaiian customs, language, and technology. Port Lloyd, the archipelago’s principal anchorage, became a well-known stop for nineteenth-century whalers in need of solid ground and fresh supplies.

Scott Kramer and Hanae Kurihara Kramer will look at the early history of the settlement in a lecture titled “The Bonin Islands Colony: Hawaiian Settlers in the Western Pacific, 1830,” based on their research in Japanese and Western sources. Of particular interest are the repatriation interviews of Japanese sailors who became castaways for several months on the Bonin Islands in 1840.

Scott Kramer received his master’s degree in history from the University of Hawai‘i and is currently writing a book on the Bonin Islands. Hanae Kurihara Kramer is an assistant professor at the School of Communications, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she teaches intercultural and global communication. Their article, “The Other Islands of Aloha,” appears in the 2013 issue (volume 47) of The Hawaiian Journal History. Copies of the journal will be available for purchase at the meeting.

The Kramers’ lecture will follow the Society’s business meeting and election of a new president and trustees. The business meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. with the lecture to follow at 7:30 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public and will be held at the Kana‘ina Building (Old Archives Building) on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace. Free parking is available on the palace grounds. For further information, telephone the Hawaiian Historical Society at (808) 537-6271.

Story of the 1830 Hawaiian Migration to Japan’s Bonin Islands to be featured at May Meeting

The fascinating account of early Hawaiian immigrants to a group of sub-tropical islands south of Japan will be the subject of our annual meeting in May. Our featured speakers are researchers Scott Kramer and Hanae Kurihara Kramer, who authored the cover story of the current issue of The Hawaiian Journal of History.

We are still making arrangements for the date and place, so stay tuned for more details.

Presentation: “Up In Arms! The Struggle to Preserve the Legacy of the National Park Service During Wartime”

Jade Moniz Nakamura program“Up In Arms! The Struggle to Preserve the Legacy of the National Park Service During Wartime,” was presented by Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park archaeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz Nakamura on Thursday, March 13, 2014.

Focusing on the challenges faced by the National Park Service before, during, and after World War II, the illustrated lecture was well attended by HHS members and guests. She elaborated and expanded upon her research, which was published in The Hawaiian Journal of History, Vol. 47, 2013.

The Queen and Lydia K. Aholo

image: Lydia K. Aholo

Lydia K. Aholo at nineteen. Detail from photo of first graduating class of Kamehameha School for Girls, 1897. (Courtesy Kamehameha Schools Archives.)

The Hawaiian Historical Society members and friends heard the story of a remarkable woman who lived for more than a century and knew Queen Lili‘uokalani “as the only mother I had.” The woman—Lydia K. Aholo—was the subject of an illustrated talk presented by Sandra Bonura at the Society’s membership meeting on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at the Kana‘ina Building (Old Archives Building) to a standing-room-only crowd.

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