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Hawaii: 150 Years of Japanese Migration and Histories of Dream Islands: UL Remarks

Photo footage: the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library's participation of the National Museum of Japanese History's Hawaii Japanese immigrant exhibit from October 29-December 26, 2019 at Sakura-city, Chiba-prefecture, Japan.
picture of Monica Ghosh at the Rekihaku October 28, 2019  

Aloha! Thank you to the leadership and staff at the Rekihaku Museum for their acumen  and foresight in organizing this outstanding exhibit on the Japanese Diaspora to Hawai’i. I also want to thank you for inviting us to the opening event of this exhibit – it is both an honor and a pleasure for me, as the Interim University Librarian, and Ms. Tokiko Bazzell, Japan Studies Librarian, to represent the Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) and our Libraries here today. 

Although I have studied Japanese history, as an undergraduate and graduate student, and appreciate Japanese aesthetic and food – natto and miso are a staple in my home – this is my first visit to Japan and I am very happy to be here to reinforce UHM Libraries’ many partnerships with academic and research institutions in Japan -- none are more important than the collaboration we have with Rekihaku, which began almost 10 years ago in 2010 with the scroll restoration dated from 1710 from our collection. The Rekihaku generously contributed to 50% of the restoration costs and commissioned their conservator to restore 2 volumes of the scroll – this specialized and delicate work took almost a year to complete!

In Hawai’i, Ms. Bazzell held a celebratory reception to mark the completion of the scrolls’ restoration on our campus. For this occasion, Dr. Harayama hand-carried the scrolls back to Hawai’i from Japan. This event was attended by UHM leadership – the Chancellor, Center for Japanese Studies Director, Mary McDonald, and faculty – Robert Huey and Lonny Carlisle. Also, among the distinguished guests was the late Mr. John Hawley, accompanied by Mrs. Hawley. Frank and John Hawley have a special place at our library – their materials make up our renowned Sakamaki-Hawley Special Collection to which the family have just added two rare scrolls on whaling in Japan.  

In 2012, Dr. Kurushima invited Ms. Bazzell to a curated exhibit and the UHM Library gave on loan to Rekihaku a 1671 scroll and Ukiyo-e or woodblock prints from the library to be displayed in a huge show case made specially to display the entire scroll for the first time in public. It was indeed a shared moment of tremendous achievement and pride for both institutions – for us to lend the items and for the Rekihaku to display them. 

Next, in 2013, Ms. Bazzell organized an international symposium (sponsored by 10 public and private groups, including the Consulate of Japan in Honolulu) where Dr. Hiroshi Kurushima (the current Museum Director-General) presented his memorable research paper titled “Interpreting Early Modern Japanese Society as 'The Age of Parades' Yields a New Image of Early Modern Society,” and Dr. Manabu Yokoyama’s presentation was titled, “Relations between Japan & Kingdom of the Ryukyus: Roles of Ryukyuan Envoys.”  Both Dr. Kurushima and Yokoyama met with students at UHM to have conversations about the representation of parades and their significance as a record of Japanese history (

Two years ago, in 2017, in yet another collaboration with Rekihaku, the Library again gave on loan several items from the Takazawa Special Collection to be displayed at Dr. Harayama’s curated exhibit on Social Movements in Japan -- at this very location.

And here we are today, in this unique collaboration of our two institutions – Rekihaku and UHM Libraries – for the opening event of “Hawai'i: 150 Years of Japanese Migration and Histories of Dream Islands,” a groundbreaking exhibit for which about 50 items of rare materials selected from three departments at the UH Mānoa Library – University Archives & Manuscripts, Hawaiian and Asia Collections – that provide a rich record from the first organized voyage that brought Japanese labor to Hawaiʻi, known as the ‘Gannenmono,’ in 1868 and throughout the 20th century, including drawings (MacLeod’s art), a wide range of archival documents and records, maps (neighborhoods of the community), and photographs (from the Stanley Kaizawa Collection) – all of which depict the early experience and lives of Japanese immigrants to Hawaiʻi. The heritage community of Japanese in Hawaiʻi (and in other parts of the U.S.) have and continue to enrich the communities in which they live by making major contributions in all spheres of life that runs the gamut across the social, political, and cultural – two such individuals that come to mind are former Governor of Hawaiʻi, George Ariyoshi, and the late Senator, Daniel K. Inouye.

From the scroll restoration in 2010, and our collaborations in 2012, 2013, 2017 and now in 2019 – we have laid a strong foundation of relationships with the leadership at Rekihaku and UHM Libraries – I expect our partnerships to strengthen and grow as we all collaborate to share and showcase our respective collections to increase understanding and knowledge about the significance of relations between Japan and Hawaiʻi.

Mahalo nui loa to Ms. Bazzell and Congratulations to everyone at Rekihaku for your outstanding work in curating this extraordinary and memorable exhibit! We are proud to partner with you on this occasion and hope for many more in the future.

October 28, 2019
Monica Ghosh, P.h.D.
Interim University Librarian
University of Hawaiʻi. at Mānoa Library