Friday, July 27, 2012

Great Figures in Kochi - Manjiro Nakahama (1827-1898)

   When he was 14 years old, Manjiro Nakahama was shipwrecked on his first fishing trip. He was rescued by a passing American whaling ship, and was taken to America. He learned English and the art of navigation in America and later returned to Japan. He became a bridge of communication between these two countries. There is a statue of Manjiro at Ashizuri Promontory.

   His great grandson Takehiko Nakahama says:“He was a very positive character, and laughed off accusations that he was a spy. He wanted to pass on the spirit of democracy and the idea of contributing to society. He is remarkable, for at the age of 15, he eagerly agreed to travel to America, and at 21 resolved to return to Japan via Guam in order to open the country to its future.”

Ashizuri Promontory

   Another of his great grandsons, Yoshikazu Nakahama, says: “Manjiro learned something from the sea. He dreamed of the sea and Captain Whitfield was ‘man of the sea.’ This first Japanese-American encounter between a young boy and a captain was the first contact between these two countries. What an important accident! It makes you understand the breadth of the sea.”

Taken from vol.26 PDF

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