1989 年 1989 巻 21 号 p. 91-111
Taizo Masaki is most prominently mentioned in “Yoshida Torajiro”, a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. After the Meiji Restoration, he was dispatched to Great Britain twice from 1871 to 1881, and became the first president of Tokyo Shokko Gakko (now Tokyo Institute of Technology). He worked earnestly for industrial education for nearly twenty years in the early years of Meiji Era. In 1890, Masaki was transferred to the Foreign Office, and went to Honolulu as consul in Hawaii. After one year, he was promoted to consul general. He stayed in Honolulu for 2 years and a half, however, his activities in Hawaii were not made clear yet. In this article, various kinds of documents between Japanese Foreign Office and Consul Masaki were studied, and the present writers tried to learn from them how he acted as Hawaiian consul.
The diplomatic relation between Japan and Hawaii Kingdom began in 1860. It continued only 40 years, because of the Hawaiian revolution in 1893 and the annexation by the U.S.A. The largest pending problem of both countries was the immigration for the sugar beet farms from Japan. As sugar was the main product of Hawaii, the sugar beet farms needed a large number of workers. On the other hand, Japanese agricultural villages were in a long depression after the Meiji Restoration. After short preliminary negotiations, both governments arrived at an agreement that Japan would supply round numbers of immigrants for Hawaiian sugar farms periodically. In 1884, the Japanese consulate was opened at Honolulu, and the first ship “the City of Tokyo” carried 948 emigrants to Hawaii in 1885. This emigration organized by the Japanese government continued for ten years, and 29, 139 Japanese emigrants voyaged to Hawaii as often as 26 times. As the government-sponsored emigration brought about many conflicts, various kinds of troubles occurred.
Taizo Masaki made a voyage to Honolulu as the fourth consul in May, 1890. It was the peak period of governmental emigration, and more than twelve thousand emigrants voyaged.
There are many documents, and correspondance archives referring to Hawaii in the Diplomatic Record Office. We can infer the activities of Taizo Masaki in Hawaii as consul. The most important business of the Hawaiian consulate was the remittance of immigrants to their family in Japan. Because there was no branch of a Japanese bank in those early years, it was very difficult. Masaki invited a new branch of Yokohama Shokin Bank to Honolulu for Japanese immigrants. The remittance to Japan became easier.
Masaki sent many formal annd informal reports which included important information. One of them referred to the suffrage of immigrants. The Hawaiian constitution amended in 1887, approved the right to vote of those other than American or European immigrants. Masaki gave a report on the historical situation and pointed out those problems. The other important reports were referring to the political change of the Hawaiian Government. In those days, the political situation in Hawaii was very unstable; therefore, coups d'état and reorganizations of the cabinet were done frequently. Masaki's reports described the circumstances of the changes of Hawaiian government and his opinions about them. His final report was dated Nov. 9, 1892, because he returned to Japan in December. It was only one month before the Hawaiian Kingdom collapsed and transferred to the republic form of government.
The analysis in this article is not enough; a more detailed examination will be reported in the following articles. The other documents of Taizo Masaki referring to many other items will be introduced, too.
In the meantime, Robert Louis Stevenson was making a tour of the islands in the Pacific Ocean, and visited Hawaii at least twice. We have much interest in the question whether the two old friends could meet again or not.