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King Kalākaua’s voyage around the world. 1881.

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa published on April 23, 1881.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

The Bicentennial of Printing exhibit on the third floor of Hawaiian Hall is coming down in a couple of weeks. The newspaper pages now on view are the second and third pages of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 23, 1881.

Some of the articles appearing on the two pages:

  1. Kuokoa moves their office to the second floor of the doctor’s office of Dr. Minuteʻole [Dr. Hugo Stangenwald] at the corner of Fort Street and Merchant;
  2. The death of a student of Wailiilii, famous medical kahuna from Molokaʻi;
  3. Letter from the three boys studying in Italy on Kalākaua’s Education of Hawaiian Youths Abroad Program;
  4. Reports of Kalākaua’s travels around the world.


Here is a letter from King Kalākaua to Curtis Piehu Iaukea. The King comments on his first impressions of Japan.

Image: “Ka Pulima Alii.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 23, 1881, p. 2.


[We are indebted to the generosity of Colonel Curtis P. Iaukea for this letter from our King to him:]

Japan, Mar. 9, 1881:—We left San Francisco on the 8th of the previous month aboard the Steamer Oceanica of the British White Star Steamship Line. While sailing for this beautiful land second to none, it was a relaxing trip over the Pacific Ocean. For nine days we encountered strong blustery winds beyond compare. But this was nothing for this terribly fine vessel—making one’s ocean voyage everywhere on the dark deep ocean pleasurable. At the conclusion of 24 days of travel, we landed here in Japan at 8:30 a.m. on the 5th of this month. We were thrilled to see Japan, and we were treated with great honor by the Emperor and his Government Officials.

We went sightseeing to several very famous places. Daibutsu is a very large statue, and it makes you wonder how much work it took to make and erect the statue, and how in the world it was made. Eight men can be lined up atop the fingernail of a thumb. Imagine, the entire body is so huge.

* * * * * * * *

Japan is truly an amazing land; seeing and traveling there is more valuable than other places in the world. If I were to describe what I saw, it would fill a number of sides of stationery. All that remains is from me: aloha for all of you.—Aloha!


(Kuokoa, 4/23/1881, p. 2)

Image: King David Kalākaua in Japan. Front (from left to right): Prince Yoshiaki, Lieutenant General; King Kalākaua; Tsunetami Sano, Minister of Finance. Back: Charles H. Judd, Chamberlain; Ryōsuke Tokuno, First Secretary of Finance; William N. Armstrong, Foreign Minister and Head of the Bureau of Immigration of Hawaiʻi. March 1881. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 111657.

King Kalākaua’s response upon his return from meeting with powerful leaders across the globe were these lines of poetry:

Ke Kaena a ka Mōʻī Kalākaua

Ua kaʻahele au ma luna o ka ʻili honua me nā moana,
A ʻĪnia mamao, a me Kina kaulana;
Hōʻea i na ʻae kai o ʻAferika, a me nā palena o ʻEuropa,
A hālāwai me ka ikaika o nā ʻāina a pau;
A iaʻu i kū ai ma ka ʻaoʻao o nā Poʻo Aupuni,
Ka poe mana ma luna o kā lākou, me ka hiehie Aliʻi;
Hoʻomaopopo ihola au i ka ʻuku iki, a nāwaliwali o Koʻu,
Me Koʻu Nohoaliʻi i hoʻokahua ʻia ma luna o kahi puʻu Pele,
A ma kahi he miliona i hoʻokō i kā kēia mau Mōʻī,
He mau tausani wale iho nō ma lalo o Koʻu malu;
Akā, ke ʻupu nei loko, Naʻu ke Kaena hiki,
Aia he mau nani ma loko o nā pōʻai o Koʻu mau ʻae kai—
I ʻoi aku ka makamae i kā Oʻu mau hoa Mōʻī,
ʻAʻohe Oʻu kumu hopo ma loko o Koʻu Aupuni,
He hiki ke hui me Koʻu lāhui me ka weli ʻole,
ʻAʻohe makaʻu Noʻu iho, me ke kiaʻi pili paʻa ʻole ʻia,
A Naʻu ke Kaena, he momi i hoʻouna ʻia mai luna mai Naʻu—
Eia iaʻu ke aloha ʻoiaʻiʻo o Koʻu Lāhui.

(Hawaii Holomua, 1/18/1893, p. 3)

King Kalākaua’s Boast

O’er land and sea I’ve made my way
To farthest Ind, and great Cathay;
Reached Afric’s shores, and Europe’s strand;
And met the mighty of every land.
And as I stood by each sovereign’s side,
Who ruled his realm with a royal pride,
I felt how small my sway,—and weak:—
My throne based on a mere volcanic peak,
Where millions do these Kings obey,
Some thousands only own my sway.
And yet I feel that I may boast,
Some good within my sea-bound coast,
Richer than those of my grander peers,
That I within my realm need have no fears:—
May mingle with my people without dread:
No danger fear for my unguarded head,
And boast a treasure, sent me from above
That I have indeed, my people’s love.

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 8/27/1881, p. 1)

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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