On display June 5, 2018 – Feb. 24, 2019,

in the historic Picture Gallery of the Hawaiian Hall complex

Exhibit honors pioneer Japanese plantation workers on the 150th anniversary of their arrival in Hawai‘i

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum presents a new exhibit to honor the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese plantation workers to Hawai‘i – known as the gannenmono.

Illustration of the sailing ship Scioto. Bishop Museum Archives.

The gannenmono sailed from Japan to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi aboard the Scioto. Leaving Yokohama on May 17, 1868, and arriving in Honolulu about a month later, on June 19, there were approximately 150 of them in all, including six women and a child.


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Drawing from Bishop Museum’s rich plantation-era collections, Gannenmono: A Legacy of Eight Generations in Hawai‘i will use first-hand accounts, historic illustrations and authentic cultural objects to unfold the harrowing tale of the first approximately 150 Japanese workers to cross the vast Pacific from Japan to Hawai‘i, and how their trials, perseverance and victories shaped the history of the two island nations.

Guided tour: Please enjoy the “Gannenmono” Japanese language guided tour in the Picture Gallery of Hawaiian Hall, daily at 12:45 p.m. June 5, 2018-Feb.24, 2019.



集合場所・ハワイアンホール ピクチャーギャラリーエレベーター側入口

Matsugorō Kuwata, his Hawaiian wife Meleana, and their six children, ca. 1899. Bishop Museum Archives.

Gannenmono Matsugorō Kuwata chose to remain in Hawai‘i, supporting his family with work as a tailor. He was nicknamed ʻUmiʻumi Matsu—Matsu-the-Beard.

Katsusaburō Yoshida, Yonekichi Sakuma, Sentarō Ishii, and Hanzo Tanagawa, four gannenmono who made Hawaiʻi their home, 1922. Bishop Museum Archives.

The gannenmono were the “People of the First Year” of Emperor Meiji’s reign, arriving in 1868. By 1885, less than 50 of them remained in Hawai‘i, most married to Hawaiian women.

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