Eugene Van Reed

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Eugene Miller Van Reed was the first consul general representing the Kingdom of Hawaii in Japan, serving in that post from 1866 until 1873.

Originally from San Francisco, Van Reed first traveled to Japan in 1859, where he established his own trading company, dealing in arms among other goods. Named Consul General of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1866, he played a key role in organizing for the first Japanese immigrants to travel to Hawaii in 1868. This first group of 148, known as the gannenmono, encountered severely harsh working conditions on the sugar plantations, leading to considerable tension between the governments of Japan, Hawaii, and the United States, resulting in official Japanese immigration to Hawaii not beginning until 1885, after lengthy negotiations.

Van Reed died in 1873, aboard a ship called Japan, which he had been taking home to San Francisco from Japan.