In 1841 a 14-year old Japanese boy went to sea to fish with four friends. Their boat crashed on an island in a raging storm. Months later the “John Howland” whaling ship from New Bedford rescued them. Due to the “closed door” policy of Japan at that time, the Captain of the ship, William Whitfield, was not allowed to take the men back to Japan. He left the oldest four in Hawaii but the youngest, Manjiro, accepted the Captain’s offer to return to the USA with the ship in order to acquire some education.

Thus, Manjiro (Nakahama) became the first Japanese person to live in the USA. In the following years the young foreigner became well known to the townspeople as Captain Whitfield treated him like a son. He went to his first school ever (the Old Stone School) after being tutored by Miss Allen, a local teacher and neighbor of the captain. He later learned higher level math, navigation and surveying at the Bartlett School. After returning to Japan Manjiro was instrumental in bringing the country into the modern world after its long isolation.

Herein we urge you to visit those local sites which were pertinent to his life in this area. It was here that the strong ties between Japan and the USA were initiated.

NOTE: The Millicent library is not open on Sundays

To follow in the footsteps of Manjiro in English,