(tablet on back of base)
David Kalākaua was born on November 16, 1836. He succeeded to the throne on February 12, 1874, and ruled with his queen, Kapi?olani. King Kalākaua was the catalyst for the revival and flowering of Hawaiian intellectual and artistic traditions that took place in the last quarter of the 19th century.
He was an accomplished musician and, among other chants and songs, composed he words of "Hawai?i Pono'i," now the State of Hawaii's official anthem. His motto was "Ho?oulu lāhui" (Let the Hawaiian race flourish). He was also a skilled sailor and loved the sea. ?Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States and one of Hawai?i's most famous landmark, was built during his reign.
Thoroughly Hawaiian but also cosmopolitan, he completed a tour around the world in 1881, including a visit to the United States in 1874, the first monarch in the world to have done so. His coronation took place on the grounds of ?Iolani Palace on February 12, 1883. Kalākaua died on January 20, 1891. He was buried in the Royal Mausoleum in Nu?uanu Valley on O?ahu.
"Kukui ?ā mau i ke awakea."
(The torch that continues to burn in daylight.) —Kalākaua family motto.
(tablet on right side of base)David Laamea Kamanakapuu Mahinulani Naloiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalakaua, 1836-1891.
This statue of King David Kalakaua (1836-1891) was commissioned by the Oahu Kanyaku Imin Centennial Committee on behalf of the Japanese-American community in 1985 in observance of the arrival of the first ship carrying 944 Kanyaku Imin, or government-contract immigrants, from Japan to Hawaii on February 8, 1885, to work on the sugar plantations.
King Kalakaua visited Japan in May, 1881, on his trip around the world and appealed to Emperor Meiji to send immigrants to Hawaii to relieve the shortage of laborers on sugar plantations. This resulted in the signing of the Japan-Hawaii Labor Convention. Japanese numbering 220,000 immigrated to Hawaii from 1885 to 1924 when the Oriental Exclusion Act was enacted by the congress of the United States.
The Japanese-Americans, who are descendants of these immigrants, have been successful in numerous fields and prospered here in Hawaii. The King is honored as the "Father of Japanese Immigration to Hawaii." This statue is a symbol of appreciation and Aloha to King Kalakaua, a visionary monarch, for inviting their forebears to Hawaii.