Table of Contents
Conference Proceedings

List journal issues




Vessels of Exchange: the Global Shipwright in the Pacific

Hans Konrad Van Tilburg
University of Hawaiêi at Manoa


            Trans-oceanic exchanges feature the flow of goods and ideas and people across the ocean to societies on distant shores. This process includes many sorts of decisions and modifications in the littoral zone.  Some exchanges are accepted, some modified, and some rejected.  Broad statements such as these are hard to refute.  This paper will attempt to narrow the focus to two case studies of a single type of artifact, and seek the ways in which nautical exchanges are transmitted.  The artifact is the vessel itself.  Ships, which carry numerous items of exchange, can themselves be exchanged, selected, and altered.  The ship as the central cultural artifact approach provides two examples of cultural exchange in the Pacific region: Chinese-built junks from California and Japanese-built sampans from Hawaii.  These are representative microcosms of a larger sample.  Were these vessels accepted as viable designs?  Physically altered in their unfamiliar homelands?  Did cultural exchanges take place?  Chinese junks have long vanished from the California coast, but Japanese sampans, in a much altered form, are still celebrated in Hawaii.  Why is this so?  What are the similarities and differences between these two examples?

            The ship, in its many regional variations, is the material record of seafaring traditions. Vessels are signposts of seafarers and shipwrights on the move. It may be only natural that processes of cultural exchange alter the tool of that exchange itself, redefining its physical shape or its cultural identity.  The transoceanic exchange in this case is the adoption and continued use of nautical technology.  As these examples make clear, this process of nautical exchange involves questions of national identity not only for the migrants, but for the ships.  The question of a vessel's nationality is bound to the concept of cultural exchange.


            The first example comes from the West Coast of the mid-19th century.  Overseas Chinese laborers, most often credited with mining operations and railroad construction, also opened the fishing industry on the California coast.  No one knows who the first shipwrights or fishermen were in this case, but junks were being constructed overseas as early as the 1860's.  In San Diego and Roseville, where fishermen sailed the open sea between abalone camps, the two or three-masted hong xian tuo style predominated.  In the San Francisco Bay area, where the shrimp grounds were within the close protection of the bay, the single-masted cao chuan style was more familiar.1  Like most fishing vessels from Southern China, the bows of these types were pointed, and transoms round.  Solid watertight bulkheads divided the interiors of vessels into separate compartments.  All hull planks were edge-joined by iron nails, and all holes filled with a material known as chunam, a mixture of lime and fiber and tung oil.  Sails were lug designs with bamboo battens.2  These were the same vessels the shipwrights in China were used to building, the only difference was in the type of material (redwood) used in construction.  Iron wood for masts and rudders, and other implements such as anchors and nets, were imported directly from China.  Of course, their builders would not have referred to them as junks, but as specific regional types of fishing craft or fanchuan, sailing vessels.  What is a junk?  The term junk may be a derivative of jong, a Southeast Asian word for small craft recorded in the 16th century by European sailors. 


            Operating from small fishing villages and camps, the Chinese exploited the relatively untouched and abundant squid, abalone, fish, and shrimp resources in California.  Much of the product was sent back to China, as American tastes at that time did not tend towards such items. Instead of competing for diminishing resources in crowded Guangdong Province waterways, California's Chinese migrants found themselves amidst a fortune of some of the most prized delicacies of the Asian market.  No doubt the work was hard, and immigrants missed their homes and families, but one can only imagine what the transition from China to the untapped riches of California's shores was like.  One author attributes the rapid success in the new fishery to the fact that fishing represented the one sector of the economy where there were few race-based restrictions and only minimal competition with white Californians.3 

            In 1897 there were 26 separate Chinese shrimp camps circling San Francisco Bay.4 These camps, early in the history of this industry, mainly benefited the Chinese homeland. Thousands of tons of dried fish and abalone and shrimp, and the shells of the shrimp for fertilizer, along with abalone shells for beads and buttons and jewelry, were exported to China by the fishermen and their agents in San Diego and San Francisco.  Products flowed from the junks to the camps to the agents in the city and then across the Pacific on steamships, many of which were crewed by Chinese sailors.5  The California junks were the physical end of a very long trade diaspora, an economic link, and a very Chinese one at that.  Madeline Hsu has addressed this organization, finding the process highly organized.  Remittances from the minefields and railroad gangs, along with the dried fish and shrimp and squid, were shipped back to Hong Kong via the jinshanzhuang, informal business associations which assured that profits returned to villages on the mainland.6 Was the edge of maritime China, as far as fisheries were concerned, really the Sacramento delta?


            Chinese junks were considered alien vessels, and by maritime law were not required to be registered, inspected, or otherwise documented by anyone.  This was most troubling to immigration officials in San Diego, where the junks plied the waters between California and Mexico.  San Diego and nearby Roseville were centers of major junk construction, supplying some of the largest and fastest vessels in the vicinity.7  And between international borders there was a need for speed.  Junks could out sail Mexican patrol boats.  Abalone camps on California's Channel Islands occasionally served as way stations for Chinese immigrants being smuggled into the state.8

            Discrimination against Asians on the West Coast has been the subject of numerous other studies, but it also spelled the end of the Chinese fisheries in California.  The Scott Act of 1888 prohibited types of Chinese laborers from returning to the United States.  The amendment to the Geary Act of 1892 specifically named anyone "taking, drying, or otherwise preserving shell or other fish for home consumption or exportation" as a laborer banned from reentering the country.9  This included vessels crossing the three-mile territorial limit.  In short, Chinese fishermen were forced to sell, and many of the junks were given new identities as American vessels.  Ships which previously had no name became known as the Acme, the Chromo, the Alta and the World.10  Such American-owned vessels finally became eligible for regular documentation and formal inclusion in the Lists of Merchant Vessels of the United States.  Officially they were described as either sloops or schooners by the inspectors, not junks.  And many continued operation, not as fishing vessels, but in the niche occupation of smuggling cargos such as guano between Mexico and California. Opportunities for smuggling shellfish and guano across the border with Mexico did not diminish, but increased when American ownership caught up with the Chinese junks. 


            Some of the reaction to Chinese junks might be attributed to the general antipathy towards the Chinese sojourners themselves.  Local observers did not find junks quaint and exotic (see sampans), but objects of ridicule and contempt.  In 1886 a local newspaperman found them to be "a cross between the Puritan Mayflower and the recently demolished Sea Nymph Bath House on one side, and a pile driver and Noah's Ark on the other."11  Junks in general were seen as misshapen, ancient or evil things.  One 19th century writer found Chinese ships to be:

...typical of a class of devil ships, because to the student of folk tales there can be no more significant symbol or embodiment of evil than the dragon or serpent. The the very spirit of evil moving upon the face of the waters, a terror so real that it conquers even cupidity and curiosity.12

            Chinese fishing practices were also called into question.  Intensive marine exploitation by a small group was seen as a threat, and cries that the "Mongolians" were devastating the resources joined the chorus of anti-Chinese agitation on the West Coast.  Similar movements targeted Chinese crews on American and Canadian transoceanic steam ship lines.

            The story of the California junks is only one part of a wider phenomenon, that of junk construction in the Pacific.  On Matupit island of New Britain during the mid-19th century, the Chinese merchant Lee Tam Tuck, known locally as Uncle Ah Tam, established himself as an shipwright.  He worked alongside the German colonial authorities, serving as a conduit for migrant southern Chinese in search of overseas opportunities.  Many Chinese worked at Ah Tam's shipyard before moving on and finding work with the German companies or branching out and becoming independent traders.13  By 1910, Ah Tam's empire included a wholesale and retail store, one hotel, several plantations, a gambling den, a brothel, an opium house, and two shipyards.  Chinese shipwrights also built and operated junks on the beaches near Darwin, Australia.  These were used in the lumber trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.14  The annual reports of the Government of the Northern Territory include some brief information on their registration and tonnage.  It's likely that these junks, and those from Ah Tam's shipyards, reflected specific regional designs from China.  So these Pacific junks were Chinese junks?

            Construction of junks in California stopped with the anti-Chinese Exclusion Acts.  The vessels passed into American hands and shortly thereafter vanished from the maritime scene.   Only in the past few decades has interest in the California junks been rekindled.  Traces of vessels have been found near China Camp in Marin County, and the remains of fishing camps on San Clemente Island have been recorded.  John Muir of the National Park Service is planning to construct a replica of a Bay Area shrimp junk during the summer of 2003, but for the most part these vessels have slipped from memory.


            In 1899 Gorokichi Nakasugi, a shipwright and fisherman from Wakayama prefecture in southern Honshu, arrived by steamer in Hawaii. He was part of a wider labor migration to locations all around the Pacific.  In this case, Mr. Nakasugi brought with him an artifact which would open the commercial tuna fishery in Hawaii.  On the deck of the steamer was a traditional 34-foot Japanese sailing sampan. 

            What is a sampan?  Unfortunately, this word is rather vague.  Originally, this term comes from the Chinese language, meaning three (san) boards (ban), describing a small simple skiff.  The textual definition has it that these craft are "typical small and light boats of oriental waters and rivers...The harbor sampan usually has an awning over the center...the coastal sampan [is] fitted with a single mast and junk-type sail."15  But this term has always been fairly loose.  One source makes the claim that if a water buffalo could go on board athwart ships, then the vessel in question was a junk; but if the animal had to lie down fore-and-aft style (or perhaps couldn't board at all), then it was probably a sampan.16  Interestingly, the only thing that can really be said about the term sampan in Hawaii is that it usually implies some kind of Japanese, rather than Chinese, influence.  Sampan, like the terms junk and dhow, is a cross-cultural hybrid, a word that implies familiarity by mixed groups, one not attributable any longer to a single culture. 

            To be more specific, then, the sampan brought to Hawaii in 1899 was a wooden hull square-sailed boat reminiscent of traditional designs hundreds of years in age.  The 1899 sampan possessed elements of the Yamato-gata style Japanese fishing vessel, a distinctive and historic Japanese craft.17  The light square sail rig was common on traditional Japanese craft.  The wide keel and tall stem and diagonally nailed edge-joined planking and prominent bulkheads were Asian features more indicative of maritime traditions hundreds of years old.  Large-scale Japanese shipbuilders had been encouraged by the Meiji government to reform their construction practices post-1868 and adopt western construction techniques in order to build larger vessels, but the older traditions lived on in small beach-built fishing craft of the southern Japanese islands.  Mr. Nakasugi's sampan was a surviving relic. 


            Traditional Japanese ship features were thus imported from southern Honshu to the rough open waters around the Hawaiian islands.  With continuing labor migration, Japanese vessels and Japanese sailors soon found employment in the offshore fishing industry.  Kewalo Basin on Oahu began to see larger amounts of ahi (yellowfin) and aku (skipjack) unloaded on the docks. The picturesque setting inspired more than a few paintings and poems dedicating to the bright blue hybrid boats of the exotic local fishing fleet.  One report states that Mr. Nakasugi was so successful that he actually received death threats from other local fishermen.18  Japanese fishermen opened the commercial tuna industry in Hawaii in conjunction with the innovation of modern packing plants.  It was the ability to can tuna for the distant market which really made possible the expansion and modernization of the fishing fleet.  The industry benefited American canneries, not a link to Japanese villages.

            Vessels began to change with time as well.  Gasoline engines were fitted into boats beginning in 1905, and more suitable marine diesels by 1927. Shortly thereafter the prominent deckhouse made its appearance.  The Sampans became perfectly adapted to the rough waters between the islands.  These modifications were not planned, but were incorporated on an individual basis by Japanese trained local shipwrights.  Other boat builders immigrated to Hawaii and formed profitable local or family shipyards.19  Men like Gorokichi Nakasugi, Seichi Funai, Joichi Tanimura, Mankichi Murakami, and Kametaro Nishimura continued in the trade practiced by their fathers, while finding room for certain modifications in Hawaii.  Some of these changes were learned while repairing "haole" or western vessels visiting from the mainland.20

            By 1940 there were over 450 sampans in the Territory of Hawaii, making the commercial fishery the islands' third largest industry behind sugar and pineapple.  At this point the larger aku boats ran into certain operational limitations.  These sampans relied on live nehu or anchovies for bait, only a percentage of which survived the tossing and rolling bait wells.  Canneries on the Mainland had already switched to purse seining for tuna, eventually bringing in 20 times more fish than the Hawaiian industry.  Since schools of tuna in clear water can see better and thus avoid the huge nets, the aku sampans were stuck with the traditional pole-and-line method.21  But there were other problems in store for the Japanese sampan fleet. 


            It was not social tension over jobs, but the growing international tensions between Japan and America in the 1930's that brought increased scrutiny to the fishing fleet in Hawaii.  Military planners feared that Japanese nationals, many of whom were illegal immigrants smuggled on board steamships from Wakayama prefecture, had almost complete control over a wide-roving fishing fleet.  Many of the larger powered sampans were over 80 feet in length, with ranges as high as 1,500 miles.  These vessels observed few, if any, regulatory restrictions. U.S. law at that time required that only American-made and American-owned vessels be documented, and foreign fishing vessels below five net tons operated with impunity.  Thanks to certain loopholes in shipping regulations, sampans and other powered wooden vessels were allowed to deduct 75% of their machinery spaces from their calculated net tonnage.  Thus long range sampans could qualify as minor five ton craft.  Sampans filed no clearances for any destinations, nor any paperwork regarding their crews.  They were not crossing any boundaries into foreign waters.  This is indeed a kind of gray zone, where "foreign" vessels operated in a domestic fishery. 

            Establishing control over the Japanese fishermen and their fleet was a major issue for the U.S. Navy.  Were these vessels spying for an increasingly aggressive Japan?  Were they supplying submarines?  Changing crews at sea and transporting agents to the islands?  One secret document sent from a planning committee to the Commandant of the 14th Naval District stated that the sampans were:

manned in large part by alien Japanese whose loyalty to Japan as opposed to the United States is a practical certaintyÄTheir personnel would, in time of war, serve to provide Japanese vessels with a sufficient number of able, competent pilots thoroughly familiar with all local watersÄThey can obtain exact soundings by means of weighted fishing linesÄThey would serve as a means of secretly landing intelligence or sabotage agents shortly prior to war.22 

            Such fears developed into near hysteria in Northern Australian waters, where aerial patrols were discussed as a way to keep track of the sampans and "how evil has grown in and around the Torres Straits."23  The immigration service in Hawaii stepped up its operations, and by 1940 most of the Mikkosha (illegal crew) had been deported back to Japan.24  Confiscation of fishing sampans by immigration officials began long before the December 7th attack. 


            World War II had the single largest impact on the sampan fishing industry.  The restrictions on the overseas Japanese during wartime have been documented elsewhere; the fishermen were only one group of many that suffered.  The local fishermen, those that survived accidents during and after the attack, found the going quite difficult.  On December 7th American fighter planes intentionally strafed several sampans.  At least three landing parties on sampans were confirmed between Barbers Point and Nanakuli on Oahu. Planes engaged these targets "returning fire" as stated in the report.25  Again on December 12th sampans were strafed off of both Kailua and Kohala coasts.  There was no real cause for these attacks as there was no invasion of the islands.  The landings were fishermen fleeing for their lives by grounding their vessels.  But economic sanctions played a greater role in the demise of the sampan fleet. 

            During the war, the fleet was immediately limited to operating only during certain narrow hours in a few selected near shore areas.  This, of course, was devastating to the fishery.  By the end of 1942, the annual yield was down by a staggering 99%.26  The larger aku boats requisitioned by the navy following confiscation underwent stability studies and modifications carried out to make the vessel more suitable for armament.  They were to be used in a number of capacities.  "Until the need for offshore sampans is satisfied, every craft capable of mounting depth charges must be acquired for that use."27  The traditional blue paint was changed to white, and the sampans began to patrol island waters.  Sampans like the Fuji Maru became the YP-183.28  Frequently they received newer, more powerful three-cylinder diesel engines and depth-charge racks. The identification and control problem for these foreign-built sampans was solved: they were "enlisted" in the U.S. Navy. 

            Like the junks, sampans in Hawaii were only a part of a larger Pacific story.  Japan pursued the deliberate mechanization of its fishing fleet prior to World War II, increasing the tuna catch to about 200,000 tons by 1940.29  War damage affected sampans throughout the Pacific, but certain locations recovered following their decline.  The Japanese commercial tuna fishery in Chuuk boomed in the 1930's.30  Following the War and the lifting of the MacArthur Line in 1952, Japan again pursued the development of the tuna fishery in Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Philippines.  Fleets were quickly rebuilt, except in Hawaii.

            In the islands the fishing fleet never recovered following World War II.  Today there are only a handful of pre-war sampans remaining, all now known by non-Japanese names (Kula Kai, Neptune, Orion, Corsair, and Sea Queen). There are few Japanese today left who still go to sea in sampans.  The owners and crews are mostly Hawaiians, local Koreans, and Micronesians.31  Yet, the image of the Japanese sampan in Hawaii, unlike the junks of the West Coast, has achieved a certain lasting fame. 


            The sampans in Hawaii have always evoked interest.  Anthropologists from the Bishop museum sailed the South Pacific on sampans; President Roosevelt, while on vacation in 1934, did all his deep-sea fishing on board local sampans.32  Jack London traveled inter-island on sampans.  Elvis swung his hips and entertained the local crew on board a pre-war sampan in his 1962 movie "Girls! Girls! Girls!"  Today the older wooden sampans show up on napkins from Waikiki's Fisherman's Wharf.  They also make a colorful appearance in the margins of tourist maps of the islands.  Artists continue to depict them in watercolors.  One vessel graces the interior of Sam Choy's local lunch restaurant.  A portion of another projects into the second floor of the local maritime museum.

            Their construction, on a very limited basis, continues.  A local shipwright has created a fiberglass sampan with the lines similar to the older wooden craft.  The steel fishing vessel Nisei, launched in 1996, features certain traditional design elements alongside duel Detroit diesels and full electronics.  The National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed that the multipurpose sampan design be officially promoted for use by local Pacific island fisheries.33  Though not as numerous as before, the sampan remains as a distinctly recognizable type. 

            Importantly, all of these post-war incarnations among the Hawaiian islands are known not as Japanese sampans, but as Hawaiian sampans.  Their adaptation to the multicultural society in Hawaii is complete.


            In one case we are left with the Hawaiian Sampan, a vessel survivor in terms of image and actual examples.  On the other hand we have the story of the vanished junks, once a familiar sight on the West Coast but now the subject only of relatively narrow research and certain archaeological projects.  Some exchanges are apparently more successful than others.  Both sampans and junks were the familiar designs of Asian seafarers transplanted to foreign shores.  Both were central to the commercial exploitation of marine resources to the point of organized resistance by other groups.  Both were classified as foreign vessels, though built locally, and were therefore capable of evading regulatory measures.  Chinese and Japanese fishermen were both artificially forced from their occupations by direct action.  At some indefinite point, though, Japanese sampans became Hawaiian sampans, though Chinese junks never became California junks.34 

            Junks arrived too early.  There were no modifications for them to undergo, no canning plants which would boost the fishery beyond its 19th century limits.  Drying the products and shipping them to China via steamer was the mode of operation throughout the junk period.  By the time transportation and marketing technologies had changed, Chinese ownership, and the construction of junks, had ceased.  And Hawaii in the 1930's was not California in the 1880's.  Though the U.S. Navy was nervous enough about the Japanese fishing fleet, the dynamics of labor migration, the social setting and ultimately the acceptance of cultural imports differed between the two locations.  The Territory of Hawaii proved more culturally flexible than the State of California.  In short, Hawaii has Aloha.  


            These individual case studies raise the broader question of ships and national identities.  National recognition of foreign local vessels proved to be concern in each case.  Under established international law, all commercial vessels must have a single national identity, in other words they must operate under a single flag.  The concept of the "genuine link" is usually central to the granting of this recognition.  There must be some tangible national (not just economic) connection between a state and a ship in order for status to be granted.  Eligible vessels are 1) owned by nationals, 2) national officers, 3) national crew, and/or 4) national build.35  Flag states are then responsible for all internal organization and control of the ship no matter where it may be, and no other nation may exercise authority over it.  Flag vessels are elements of sovereign territory. Where then do these foreign-built local fishing boats fall in the question of nationality?  Could America complain to either Japan or China that their fishing vessels were operating beyond all control?  The home countries had perhaps an economic link but no national connection with these sampans and junks.  The solution in both cases was to forcibly acquire the ships and complete the paperwork, and this was done.  Foreign sojourners and their vessels existed in a tenuous position.  People were sent back but ships could be relabeled.  The navy redefined sampans as patrol craft.  The Merchant List redefined junks as schooners or sloops, according to the number of masts.  The vessels were renamed in the fullest sense of the word.  In both cases this brought the fisheries to a quick end as American citizens, who could own but not rebuild the artifacts, replaced the original immigrants.  The sea may be a highway, but the need to nationalize inanimate objects in the effort to maintain boundaries at sea worked against the overall cultural exchange.  

            The question of identity provides a rich category for historical and cultural interpretation. What is the identity of a ship?  Ships have a birth or launching, a life span, and a death or final disposition.  Ships have documents of registry or enrollment depending on whether they are in the foreign or domestic service, along with an operating license or certificate specifying the nature of their trade.  These have been compared to a combined birth certificate, health certificate, and passport.36  Under admiralty law, ships themselves may be arrested, a legal action taken against an object itself rather than an individual or personal property.37  American vessels have official home ports.  Some have ships' husbands or managers.  As artifacts they are some of the most anthropomorphic items known, replete with a rich body of folklore and superstition.38  The list could go on. Vessels are complex cultural artifacts, and they are firmly bound to their culture of origin by use, by design, and by documents expressing their nationality.  The vessel/citizen analogy shouldn't be stretched too far, though, for vessels are not people.  Immigrants cannot walk on water.  What's more, they cannot walk on water and carry their friends as well possible contraband to land on unpatrolled shores.  The barrier that impedes national guards from boarding foreign vessels is not any special status of a certain crew member, but the sovereign nature of the ship itself.  

            Ships cannot easily be divorced from their cultural context, meaning their identity.  Ships that are separated from their identities become objects without official recognition, without national status.  This can be threatening to the state.  Stateless vessels on the high seas have usually been associated with pirates, with enemies of all nations.  The definition of modern piracy is based on the question of national jurisdiction.39  Though certain circumstances did once exist wherein vessels at war were allowed to deceive the enemy by use of false flags, these situations were clearly defined and limited to a specific and short interval within the chase.40  National status has never been taken lightly on the high seas.  Flags are all the more important on the mobile and fluid surface of the sea. The sea is a poor barrier; porous at times, making necessary special efforts on national and international levels to plug the gaps.  Special efforts had to be made to nationalize junks and sampans.


            Were these permanent cultural transoceanic exchanges of ships in the Pacific?  In the case of Japanese sampans, a qualified yes; ships and crew had to undergo considerable modifications in the process, but the vessels managed to shift their context and, to a certain extent, survive.  The Hawaiian nature of the sampan can be a matter of creation or creolization instead of inheritance.  Benedict Anderson, author of Imagined Communities, might agree.  According to Anderson, the nation or state defines itself in a variety of ways, not all of which are so strictly predetermined by the distant past.  Why keep them at all?  The sampan shared in the economic and maritime lives of two worlds, the Japanese fishermen and the Hawaiian canneries.  Their local usefulness was apparent immediately.  What might Nicholas Thomas, author of Entangled Objects: Material Culture and Colonialism in the Pacific, think?  In Thomas' view, cultural meaning stems from the original society, and is not easily transmitted by the mere exchange of the actual object.  Modified sampans can find new meaning.  Some might argue that the Hawaiian sampan is something new, not the continuation of a cultural tradition.  It is an engineered cultural hybrid. 

            In the case of the Chinese junks, no; such vessels or their partial remains are the items for museums now, and not found in shipyards and boat harbors.  Junks were not modified but only changed ownership.  They were used mainly for the benefit of the Chinese and shared little with local organizations, before they were seized.  They played no role in the Imagined Community of the West Coast.  On the popular front they met with little praise or even comprehension.  Only now are we beginning to understand what they even looked like. 

            These two examples have raised certain issues regarding ships and oceanic exchange.  The tools of exchange themselves can be interpreted as cultural items, as records of the past.  They themselves can be traded, sold, modified, renamed, given new identities, cherished or forgotten. Unfortunately, as far as ships are concerned, most maritime histories are constrained by grand narratives of western technological achievements, with little room for cultural interactions.  The story of the ship is usually presented as a tunnel history which runs on narrow gauge rails from Egypt to Greece and Rome, and then on towards the Mediterranean with a brief interlude for the Viking vessels.  The Portuguese caravels and ships of discovery are followed closely by the Royal Navy and the transition to steam.  It is a one-way western ticket, culminating in aircraft carriers and container ships.  This narrative leaves out most of the world.  This will change, for ships are both unique and appropriate symbols of maritime cultural exchanges. 


1 G.R.G. Worcester, A Classification of the Principle Chinese Sea-going Junks (Shanghai: Statistical Department of the Inspectorate General of Customs, 1948).

2 Archaeological investigation confirms construction details; see John C, Muir, One Old Junk is Everyone's Treasure: the Excavation, Analysis, and Interpretation of a Chinese Shrimp Junk at China Camp State Park (Thesis Sonoma State University 1999). 

3 Donald H. Estes, "Silver Petals Falling: Japanese Pioneers in San Diego's Fishery," in Mains'l Haul 35: 2&3 (1999): 29.

4 Robert Nash, presentation notes, collected documents Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.

5 Robert J. Schwendinger, Ocean of Bitter Dreams: Maritime Relations between China and the West (Tucson: Westernlore Publishing, 1988).

6 Madeline Hsu, "Trading with the Gold Mountain: Jinshanzhuang and Networks of Kinship and Native Place, 1848-1949," presented at the Maritime China symposium, Center for East Asian Studies (UC Berkeley) March 13, 1998.

7 Linda bentz, "Redwood, Bamboo and Ironwood: Chinese Junks of San Diego," Mains'l Haul 35: 2&3 (1999): 16.

8 Mark Allen, editor Mains'l Haul 35: 2&3 (1999): 27.

9 Murray K. Lee, "The Chinese Fishing Industry of San Diego," Mains'l Haul 35: 2&3 (1999): 13.

10 Not all shipwrights name their ships, nor ascribe them specific gender.  Chinese junks often carried characters referring to good luck or profit, but these were not names as such. 

11 Linda Bentz, "Redwood, Bamboo, and IronwoodÄ" 16.  For detailed discussion of American commentary on Chinese junks, see Hans Van Tilburg, "Misunderstood Junks: the Western View of Chinese Maritime Technology" (Ph.D. dissertation, department of history, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2002).

12 Wilbur Bassett, Wander-ships: Folk-stories of the Sea, (Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 1917), 92.

13 David Y.H. Wu, The Chinese in Papua New Guinea: 1880-1980 (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1982), 21. 

14 Nick Burningham, Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation, personal communication with author, 14 July 1998.

15 Peter Kemp (editor), The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea (London: Oxford University Press, 1976), 748.

16 Co-Quan Nghien-Cuu, A Handbook of Junks of South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam: Combat Development and Test Center, 1962), iv.

17Basil Greenhill, The Archaeology of Boats and Ships (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995), 107.

18Rob Tomasetti, "Final Report: a Survey of a Wrecked Vessel at Kona Coast State Park" (unpublished report, Marine Option Program University of Hawaii, 1997), 2.

19Leslie Nakashima, "Sampan Boat Building," Advertiser, 10 March 1934, (Hawaii Maritime Center archives).


21Jesse Bowman, "The Trouble with Aku," Beacon 13: 11 (1973): 17.

22 RG 181 NARA San Bruno, 1 November 1935.  Declassified NND project number 803006.

23"Japanese Shell Poachers," Pacific Islands Monthly 4 no.8 (1934): 18.

24Tadao Yamamoto, unpublished manuscript 1986 (Hawaii Maritime Center archives) 2.

25 War General Staff Journal, HQ 25th infantry division, 8-9; loose-leaf notes (Hawaii Maritime Center archives).

26Rick Gaffney, "History of the Hawaiian Sampan," Hawaii Fishing News 2: 3 (1979).

27H.K. Lewis, US Navy Yard, 14th naval district (Pearl Harbor) declassified manuscript, file no. S82/sampans, 2.  (Hawaii Maritime Center archives)

28 The wreck of the YP-183 was surveyed by a UH field school in 1997.

29David J. Doulman, Tuna Issues and Perspectives in the Pacific Island Regions (Honolulu: East-West Center, 1987), 58.

30Mark R. Peattie, Nanyo, the Rise and Fall of the Japanese in Micronesia, 1885-1945 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1988), 139.

31Robert P. Chenoweth, "Hawaii's Aku Sampans: Historic Treasures Still at Work," unpublished report, anthropology department University of Hawaii, 1990.

32Robert Lau, "Iron Men on Wooden Ships," Paradise of the Pacific 48: 8 (1936), 23.

33Robert T.B. Iversen, "A New Use for an Old Idea: a Small Multipurpose Hawaiian Style Fishing Boat for Developing Fisheries in Island Areas," in Small Boat Design, Johanna M. Reinhart editor, Manila: ICLARM Proceedings, 54-61.

34 The vessel associated with fishing in the San Francisco Bay area is the low-sided felucca.

35 Louis B. Sohn and Kristin Gustafson, The Law of the Sea (St. Paul: West Publishing, 1984), 5.

36 Carl E. McDowell and Helen M. Gibbs, Ocean Transportation (New York: McGraw Hill, 1954), 326.

37 William McFee, The Law of the Sea (Philidelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1950), 15.

38 Such traditions are now changing.  The U.S. Navy has recently switched to the neutral "it" rather than "she" for all ship designations.  

39 Jack A. Gottschalk and Brian P. Flanagan, Jolly Roger with an Uzi: the Rise and Threat of Modern Piracy (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000), 34.

40 Donald A. Petrie, The Prize Game: Lawful Looting on the High Seas in the Days of Fighting Sail (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999), 148.


Copyright Statement

Copyright: © 2003 by the American Historical Association. Compiled by Debbie Ann Doyle and Brandon Schneider. Format by Chris Hale.

Previous Table of Contents Next