The Story of Joseph Heco, First Naturalized American from Japan: His Hawaii Connection -and the Perry Expedition (1862)
Rev. Samuel C. Damon, publisher of the Honolulu based monthly newspaper, The Friend, published an interesting article in the July 1862 edition about a Japanese national named Joseph Heco. At the time of the news story Heco had been appointed interpreter to the U.S. Consul at Kanagawa. He was in Honolulu on his way back to Japan to begin his duties.
who found themselves swept out to sea due to typhoons, only to find himself and the crew of his “junk” rescued by an American ship. They were taken to San Francisco. That was only the beginning of a colorful life for young Joseph Heco. His future would include an American education, an American government service position, voyages on the Black Ships Powhatan, Susquehanna among other vessels, and an act of diplomatic mediation that saved Yokohama from destruction by the Russian fleet –leading to the ceding of the northern section of Sakhalin Island to the Russian Empire.