Modern China was born here (Honolulu Advertiser)

Hawai’i tourism is due to benefit from the appeal of a new wrinkle in “Washington Slept Here.”

However, it’s not the father of our country who slept in Hawai’i but the father of modern China, Sun Yat-Sen. The first Chinese visitor to see where Sun Yat-Sen hung his hat will be Huang Hua-Hua, governor of Guangdong province.

This week, Huang will go to where Sun went to school, Iolani and Punahou. He will meet descendants of people who gathered with him in a house on Queen Emma Lane to form his first revolutionary organization.

“Most people in China know that Sun Yat-Sen is the father of modern China,” said Warren Luke, chief of Hawai’i National Bank and president of the Sun Yat-Sen Foundation. “But they don’t know that he grew up in Hawai’i. Our foundation will show Hawai’i’s role in this history of China.”

Luke pointed out that many people in Hawai’i gave money to support Sun. There are Sun Yat-Sen sites all over Honolulu; where the father of modern China lived, went to school and to church.

The foundation intends to give the people of China a reason to visit Hawai’i besides beautiful scenery, Luke explained. So the foundation is arranging to start with the governor of Guangdong, although the official reason for his visit is to celebrate the 20-year sister-state/province relationship between Hawai’i and Guangdong.

Many ties exist between Hawai’i and China through Sun Yat-Sen that would attract Chinese visitors, Luke said. K. Russell Ho is a great-grandson of Ho Fon, in whose house on Queen Emma Lane the first revolutionary meeting took place. Luke said his grandfather donated to the revolution.

Attorney Frank Damon is a descendant of Francis W. Damon, who permitted followers of Sun to hold military drill in his yard. Raymond Lum, co-author with his wife of a biography of Sun, is the son of Lum Chee, one of Sun’s most active supporters. Steven Ai, president of City Mill, is the grandson of C.K. Ai, who was a classmate of Sun at Iolani and who contributed to his causes.

Eighty-eight N. King St. was the site of the Kwang Cheong Lung Store, owned by Yang Kwong-Tat, who permitted Sun’s supporters to hold meetings there. And 177 N. King St. was the address of a store where Sun lived on the second floor. Store owner Ching Chow became Sun’s sworn bother.

The Ket On and See Dai Doo Benevolent Societies, still in existence, are clubs to which Sun belonged. The Maunakea Market Place was the site of the American Theater, where Sun spoke about the revolution. Sun Yat-Sen’s brother, Sun Mei, owned a ranch on Maui where Sun’s wife and family lived from 1896 to 1907.

Reach Bob Krauss at 525-8073.

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