"From the 'Illegal Travelers' to the 'People of the Founding Year:' The Gannenmono and the Tokugawa-Meiji Transition," by Dr. Mark McNally, Professor of History, UH Mānoa

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In June of 1868, a group of about 150 Japanese migrant workers arrived in Honolulu. This group is known today as the Gannenmono, meaning, “the people of the founding year [of Meiji].” However, this name wrongly leads people to associate them exclusively with the Meiji period. In fact, they were recruited in the waning months of the Tokugawa period, and so exploring the ways in which they reflected that era helps to deepen our understanding of them historiographically. At the same time, the Gannenmono were actually not the first Japanese people to arrive in Hawaii, as casta-ways and stowaways had been finding their way to Hawaii for decades prior to 1868. The earliest meaning of the term, Gannenmono, actually included both the group of about 150 arrivals in 1868 and those who were already living in Hawaii. The most prominent example of this was Ishii Sentarō, one of the Gannenmono who arrived before 1868.
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