Singer- J.P. Hale. Hilo, Hawaiʻi.

[Photo: ‘Ōla‘a Hongwanji, ca. 1905; Hawai‘i. SP_85921.] (Mele translation by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Kaulana mai nei Iāpana,

Famous is Japan,

‘O kahi aupuni a ka wiwo‘ole.

The kingdom without fear.

‘Aʻole āna mea e maka‘u ai,

It is afraid of nothing,

[‘A‘ole] kaʻulua iho ka manaʻo.

Nor does it hesitate to push on.

E ‘i‘ini ana i ka pono kaulike,

It desires to have equality,

E noho ku‘ikahi me Lusia.

And to live in peace with Russia.

E aha ia ana Kenelala Nochi,

What a man is General Nochi,

Ke ‘ahi kananā o Iapana,

The mighty warrior of Japan!

Ua pau ‘ē ka pono a Port Arthur,

Nothing is left of Port Arthur,

Ke o ehu nei na Iapana.

Japan gave it a clean sweep.

‘O Kulupakina kaʻu aloha,

For Koropatkin is my pity,

Kenelala o ka ‘ao‘ao Lusia.

The general on the Russian side.

Ua pau ‘ē ka pono a ia hoʻokele,

That pilot’s strength is gone,

Ha‘ina ‘ia mai ana ka puana,

This is the end of my song,

Ua aʻo i ke koa aʻo i ka holo.

He has learned to fight and then to run.

Kaʻu mea “tulu tulu sayonara.”

For the person with whom I “tulu tulu sayonara.”

[Call number: MS SC Roberts 5.4, Pg. 149d-150a]

[Call number: MS SC Roberts 5.4, Pg. 149d-150a]

Mele are an invaluable primary resource for Hawaiian scholarship and cultural connection. The Welo Hou: Building Connections to the Roberts Mele Collection project, funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, will improve the digitization, indexing, and accessibility of a unique and treasured collection of mele dating from pre-Western contact to the early 1900s. This pilot project will serve as a model for improved access to and increased engagement with the Bishop Museum Library & Archives’ other mele collections.

Welo Hou, or to unfurl once again, aims to provide more opportunities for researchers of all levels of Hawaiian language and cultural fluency to access the Roberts Collection with ease, and honors the connections between Hawaiian voices of the past and our community of the present.


This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services NG-04-17-0218-17