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Princess Kaiulani, Emperor Meiji

I have always been interested in the Japan and Hawaii connection. Hawaii is such a beautiful place to visit and has a fascinating history. This video talks about how history could have been so very different for the two countries.

This footage is from YouTube by sigall

In 1880, Hawaii King David Kalakaua visited Emperor Meiji of Japan. He proposed an alliance, sealed with the proposed marriage of Princess Kaiulani to Prince Komatsu Akihito. They declined. But if it had happened, would Japan have attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, when members of the Imperial Family were part Hawaiian? It’s possible the US might never have entered World War II. Story by Bob Sigall, author of “The Companies We Keep” books. Air date: July 16, 2009.

I visit Hawaii about twice a year and enjoy the tropical environment in a friendly and safe place that has a mix of many cultures including Japanese.

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whipcracker July 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm

RT @Shibuya246: Princess Kaiulani, Emperor Meiji | Japan | Shibuya246 wasn't this article ran once before? It sure looks familar. It's hard to tell the difference with the asian and Hawaiian culture,to me they sometimes look the same.

Shibuya246 July 24, 2009 at 1:28 am

yes, I tweeted about it before, but because it was so interesting I decided to make a 'video discovery' post about it on the site. That way later I can go back and find it again 🙂

whipcracker July 24, 2009 at 2:30 am

Thanks for the clarification. It is an interesting article. After listening to it again, I also wonder would Pearl Harbor have been bombed if the marriage proposal would have gone through. Never thought of it that way, interesting piece of history.
Btw, I now have TweetDeck:)

Shibuya246 July 24, 2009 at 2:47 am

Tweetdeck is a very handy tool. I am going to be putting up some more of these video discoveries in the future

moichispa July 23, 2009 at 10:55 pm

interesting video I didn never heared about this before

Shibuya246 July 24, 2009 at 1:28 am

I had read quite a bit of Hawaii history, but I didn't know this either. The story presentation is nicely done

Jamaipanese July 23, 2009 at 11:51 pm

interesting history lesson

Bob Sigall July 24, 2009 at 8:46 am

Aloha, all. I'm the person interviewed in the video. I thought you might want to know the background on it. I've written two book about Hawaii people, places and companies. Our top TV station interviewed me 2 weeks ago for a special celebrating Hawaii's 50th anniversary of Statehood, to air in August. One of the topics they asked me about was Pearl Harbor, but I began with the history of contact between Hawaii and Japan. By chance, the Emperor and Empress were in Hawaii last week, and the reporter decided to use some of the interview early, and that's the piece you see.

Shibuya246 July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am

Thank you Bob for stopping by. It's great to get a further insight into this interesting piece of history. Hawaii's history is so diverse for a relatively small place.

Would you like to introduce to us the 2 books you have written. Some readers may have an interest in those also.

Again, thanks. This is a great piece of history for Japan and Hawaii. 🙂

Hope it was ok to show the video here?

Bob Sigall July 24, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Yes, it's fine to show the video on your site. It's interesting to me how many great stories there are about Hawaii and Japan that the public is unaware of. I've covered several of them in my first two books and will have several more in the next.

The books are The Companies We Keep & The Companies We Keep 2. They're written with the help of my students at Hawaii Pacific University. They're available at most Hawaii bookstores and

A visitor from Japan came to my Rotary club and asked if anyone knew who the first person from Hawaii was to go to Japan. Several of us knew it was King David Kalakaua in 1881. It inspired me to look up more information about his visit and I put it in my second book.

I also wondered who was the first person from Japan to come to Hawaii, and learned about Manjiro, and his story is in the book as well.

I also wrote about Pearl Harbor: How Col. Billy Mitchell predicted in 1923 that the Japanese would attack PH on a Sunday morning at 7:30 (it was actually 7:55 AM); and Japan's fatal miscalculation in the attack – leaving our dry docks, ship yard, sub base and fuel depot untouched, which allowed the US to re-float and repair its ships, and turn the tide of the war just 6 months later at the battle of Midway.

The second book also talks about Seiichi Toguchi, a man who was interned during WWII because he had lived in Japan as a boy. He learned to cook there and opened Highway Inn when he was released, 63 years ago.

Additionally, it has the story of a replica of Iolani Palace, built at the Sapporo Snow Festival in 1982, a story about Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, Marilyn Monroe's honeymoon in Hawaii, Japan and Korea, where she entertained the troops, and Hitachi, using a monkeypod tree at Moanalua Gardens for its logo.

My first The Companies We Keep book talks about the dozens of Hawaii companies that have connections to Japan, such as Shirokiya, JTB, Kozo Sushi or Daiei. It has the meaning of Hawaii restaurants and shops with Japanese names, and stories behind the names.

I write about the Japanese Charity Hospital that became Kuakini Hospital. Emperors Taisho and Hirohito contributed to it.

Interestingly, over 250 Hawaii restaurants were started by people from Okinawa, including over 70 from just one village there.

My upcoming book will have several stories about Hawaii and Japan, including why some many people in Hawaii trace their ancestry to Kyushu and southern Honshu, and Okinawa's greatest cultural export. Developed in the 1600s, but first demonstrated outside Japan in 1927 at the Nuuanu YMCA – Karate.

My books are interesting stories about Hawaii people, places and companies, not just about Hawaii and Japan. If you know if any great stories I've overlooked, please ket me know. Aloha,

Bob Sigall


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