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King Kalakaua in Japan with entourages

8. King Kalakaua’s royal journey

Kalakaua decided to go on diplomatic trips all over the world. To gather support against any opposition faction that may overthrow the monarchy, it was imperative to make strong ties with other independent countries. It was his official objective of the journey. At the same time, Kalakaua was scheming another plan for the trip.

9. Japan in Kalakaua’s eyes

In 1881, King Kalakaua arrived in Japan. In his mind, Japan also being an island nation would have similar situation as the kingdom of Hawaii. For instance, Japan is a small Asian island country surrounded by large continental countries such as China and Russia, just as the Hawaiian Kingdom is overshadowed by the United States. His Majesty was wondering why Japan was able to exist independently despite having large neighboring countries. The answer was beside him.

10. The emperor’s hospitality for the Hawaiian suite

The Emperor of Japan welcomed the Hawaiian royal family. The Japanese Diplomatic Corps in full-uniform were presented to the king and entourages. The king was presented with horses decorated in gold cloth. His Majesty was pleased with his gift and mounted the horse, giving him a higher perspective of the country of Japan (Armstrong, 1977, p. 56). After the welcome parade, Kalakaua was impressed with the military of Japan. He saw an alliance with Japan as a way for Hawaii to stand up against Western pressure (Linnae, 1999, p. 139). “The military made the country independent,” the king thought.

11. Kaiulani’s fiancé in Japan?

If Princess Kaiulani had been in Japan with Kalakaua, what would the princess’ impressions of Japan have been at that time? Would she have felt at home in Japan? Or, would she have been bored by the diplomatic events?

With Her Highness traveling at King Kalakaua’s side, His Majesty proposed a royal marriage to the throne of Japan. The proposal was a matrimonial relationship between Princess Kaiulani and a young Japanese Prince, Komatsu, during a private meeting. At that time, the offer was neither accepted nor rejected. Prince Komatsu himself had written King Kalakaua, formally thanking him but at the same time, stating that a marriage had already been arranged for him when he was very young (Linnea, 1999, p. 139). The prince implied, however, that engagements sometimes could be broken. Events in Hawaii since the royal journey had not lent themselves to further discussions with Japan (p. 139). Perhaps, the beautiful princess could be attractive enough to the Japanese prince even though Kaiulani was only five years old at the time.

Pictures of the people

  Princess Kaiulani as a young girl(p. 22).
  MMC 5015 Survey of Electronic Publishing, Prof. David E. Carlson
College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida
2003 Spring Semester Project by Yucca Shimizu
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d. E-mail: yucca@ycbs.com