The “People of the First Year” Were Hawai‘i’s First Japanese Immigrants

Kei Suzuki
Re-edited from “Hawai‘i’s AJA Pioneers”

Editor’s note: The year 2018 marks 150 years since the Gannenmono, or “First-Year People,” arrived in Hawai‘i in June 1868. This first group of immigrants planted the seeds of today’s Japanese community in Hawai‘i.

This milestone anniversary will be celebrated statewide throughout the year, with the Kizuna Group and Gannenmono Committee taking the lead in organizing events and activities, a few of which are listed at the end of this piece. The committee is led by tri-chairs Tyler Tokioka, Christine Kubota and Sal Miwa. The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i’s New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival on Jan. 14 will kick off the celebration year.

The following historical profile of the Gannenmono by researcher Kei Suzuki was published in “Hawai‘i’s AJA Pioneers: One Hundred Profiles Commemorating the Centennial of Hawaii Hochi.” The book was published in 2012 by Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. to commemorate the newspaper’s 100th anniversary.

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