Japanese Castaways of 1834: The Three Kichis – HistoryLink.org

Japanese drawing of the Morrison, anchored in front of Uraga in 1837. via Wikipedia

 

Interesting bit of sailing and international history from the early 1800s. Three Japanese sailors shipwrecked on the Pacific NW coast. Their ship and a crew of 14, on a short trip along the coast of Japan, were caught in a storm. The ship was dismasted and the rudder damaged. They drifted in the current for a year, living off their trade goods. Only three were still alive when the ship came ashore.

Japan was completely closed off to the outside world for centuries by the Shoguns. If you left, you could not return, so the sailors had no knowledge of any other place, or people, than their home.

The three “Kitchis” were taken as slaves by the local tribes, then traded and shuttled between various groups, shipped to London, then China, but never home again. One eventually became a well off translator for the British.

 

Link to full story:
Japanese Castaways of 1834: The Three Kichis – HistoryLink.org

Monument to the Three Kichis, Fort Vancouver, Washington, 2009 Photo by Glenn Drosendahl

 

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