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Sun Yat Sen and Hawaii


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As every poster knows, Sun Yat sen is a very contradictory figure with one side advocating democracy and freedom while on the other side opposing western imperialism and foreign interference in China.

I just read an article that hypothesized Sun's thoughts might have been affected by his education in Hawaii.

Sun attended the Iolani School in Honolulu and graduated in 1882. By that time Iolani was an Anglican school which was founded by King Kamehameha V. The school was very political and it was pro-monarchy, anti-American and anti-annexationist. All the teachers in the school except one were Britons.

In fact, Sun graduated second in class in English reading and writing and was presented graduation certificate by King Kamehameha V and Queen Liuliokalani.

Sun's anti-western imperialism view took root during his Iolani years accordingly.

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Sun Yat Sen was taught by American Christian missionaries while at Iolani, which was founded by Kamehameha IV, not V. (Kamehameha V died in 1872.)

King David Kalakaua awarded Sun Yat Sen with a prize for learning English grammar, not a graduation certificate.

Al Castle (Hawaii historian) gave a presentation on Sun Yat Sen's Hawaii education last night at the East West Center in Honolulu. If you happen to be in Hawaii this week you can get a copy of his presentation.

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Thanks for the correction. I just recalled an article I read several days ago when I wrote the post yesterday. The information is a little bit off.

Anyway, Sun was very welcomed in the Hawaiian kingdom. Unlike his two-weeks detention when he arrived at San Francisco (I wonder how come US government was so mean to him), Sun made numerous revolutionary speeches in Hawaii and the overseas Chinese here (actually almost all of them were coolie workers that earned meager income) generously contributed to his cause.

And Sun's older brother, who was already very rich by that time by owing many parcels of land in Maui, sold all his belongings for funding of the 10-times revolution in China. (Just imagine how much those lands cost today in Hawaii's crazy real estate market!)

Today Sun's statues are still erected in Iolani School and Chinatown.

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