Remembering Kalākaua

ebook Joseph Mokuʻōhai Poepoe's Ka Moʻolelo o ka Mōʻī Kalākaua I

By Joseph Mokuʻōhai Poepoe

cover image of Remembering Kalākaua

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Upon sighting the USS Charleston on January 29, 1891, hundreds of citizens of the Hawaiian kingdom to Honolulu Harbor to celebrate the return of King David Kalākaua. Just two months earlier, their beloved mōʻī had left the islands on a mission to save Hawaiʻi from the annexationist intentions of American businessmen and their sympathizers in Washington, DC. However, the king fell ill before he could complete his journey. The people watched in horror as the ship neared with its Hawaiian flag at half-mast: Kalākaua was dead.
Out of this moment of enormous grief and uncertainty emerged Ka Moʻolelo o ka Mōʻī Kalākaua I: Ka Hānau ʻana, ke Kaʻapuni Honua, ka Moʻolelo Piha o kona mau Lā Hope ma Kaleponi, ʻAmerika Huipūʻia, nā Hōʻike a ʻAdimarala Baraunu me nā Kauka, Etc., Etc., Etc.: Hoʻohiwahiwa ʻia me nā Kiʻi (The History of King Kalākaua I: The Birth—The Journey around the World—A Full Record of his Last Days in California, United States of America—The Reports of Admiral Brown and the Doctors, Etc., Etc., Etc.: Illustrated with Pictures). Written in Hawaiian by the esteemed intellectual Joseph Mokuʻōhai Poepoe, this seventy-four-page publication sold for $1 at the mōʻī's funeral on February 15 and provided crucial answers for a citizenry in mourning.
In death as in life, the popular narrative of Kalākaua was largely defined by western conspirators who sought to discredit his leadership to justify an illegal overthrow, as well as by generations of English-only historians who relied on these revisionist accounts. With Remembering Kalākaua, Native Hawaiian scholar Tiffany Lani Ing has produced a complete English translation of Poepoe's legendary pamphlet. This book restores to public discussion a record of Kalākaua's endeavors to preserve Hawaiʻi's independence and corrects 130 years of misrepresentation.
Presenting Poepoe's funerary narrative in Hawaiian and in English, this work features a kanikau (mourning chant) by Poepoe, Poepoe's biography of the king from Kalākaua's birth through his expansive reign, and a collection of correspondences that detail Kalākaua's declining health and final days—an in-depth accounting that puts to rest rampant speculation about the nature of his passing.

Remembering Kalākaua