July 12, 1907


Honolulu Letter.


Honolulu, H. I., July 12.--


The most striking feature of Honolulu to one who has previously visited the somnolent city is the fact that its population has been most markedly changed in the past six years. When I was here that long ago the native Hawaiian was in preponderence everywhere, whites were in the commercial parts of the city, Chinese had their section and there were a few Japanese down in the lower part of town. Now all this is changed. Everywhere one goes he runs into Japanese, and these little brown men seem to feel that the city and all the islands of the group belong to the Mikado's empire. Their signs are everywhere, and they have taken actual possession of nearly every business. On plantations and in every business they are in evidence; the natives taking a back seat in all occupations requiring physical exertion, and leaving the field to the Japanese. An investigation shows that fully seventy per cent of the population of the islands, which now are a part of the United States, are Japanese. This is bad enough in itself, but there is an even worse feature to this possession of American territory by the subjects of a foreign power. A large majority of these Japanese are veterans of the Russo-Japanese war and are trained soldiers. Whole regiments, fully officered and armed are said to be on the islands, and it is an open secret here that were a war to come between the United States and Japan the Hawaiian islands would be taken with scarcely a struggle. It is true there is a body of United States troops on the islands, and also a few forts with proper artillery, but these could not hold out against the horde of Japanese who are ready to take possession at a moment's notice.

I have talked with a number of prominent citizens of the islands and find that while there is a certain element, unfortunately including a number of government officials, who think the Japanese good citizens, the general feeling is that it will be but a matter of a short time until the whites will have to make way for the browns. On one plantation on this island there is said to be two fully armed, equipped regiments of Japanese soldiers whil on the island of Hawaii three more regiments are said to be ready. These five regiments have five thousand fighting men ready to turn the islands over to the Japanese government.

While all this possibility hangs on a contingency, it is believed by the Japanese here that these soldiers sent here under quise of laborers have been sent here by the Japanese government in order that it may be prepared for any trouble that may arise.

The peaceful conquest of the islands, hovever, is something that is more to be feared than that of armed conquest, for every American knows that it would be simply a matter of a short time until the islands would be retaken. The invasion of Japanese workmen, merchants, artisans, farmers and all other classes means that these islands will soon become unfit for white habituation and will have all its commercial trend turned toward the Orient instead of toward the United States. I do not want to pose as an alarmist, but the situation seems so grave that it should be plainly set before the American people.

The whole appearance of the outlying portions of Honolulu is taking on a decided Japanese character, and one could imagine himself in the heart of Japan rather than in an American territory. While the Japanese can take no part in law making it is said they are getting an influence of many of the native Hawaiians who can make laws, and they are thus influencing legislation to such an extedt that they will soon have everything their own way unless there comes a radical change in conditions.

The editor of a Japanese newspaper with whom I have become acquainted, told me yesterday that this country is especially suited to the disposition and activities of the Japanese, and he thought his government would eventually buy the islands from the United States. Of course this is but a dream of the Japanese editor, but at the same time it shows that the little brown men are doing a lot of thinking about possession of this ocean paradise.

C. E. E.


Source:  Crittenden Record-Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1907-1918, October 17, 1907, Image 7 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.


[My comments are in brackets.]