Many Japanese have forgotten the disaster of the Turkish warship “Ertuğrul” that occurred 125 years ago.
This accident seems to be one of the reasons why Turkey is so pro-Japanese. I want to know more about this story!
I will answer these questions.
History of the Ottoman Empire (Republic of Turkey), Miracle of Warship Ertuğrul
The Ertuğrul story that connected Japan and Turkey
An attack approaching in 48 hours during the Iran-Iraq War. 215 Japanese left behind. At that time, everyone escaped from Iran by two rescue planes rushed from Turkey.
This article introduces the story of bonds, starting with the tragedy of the Turkish warship Ertuğrul in 1890.
Turkey is a pro-Japanese country
The year 2020 marks the 130th anniversary of the friendship between Japan and Turkey since the disaster of the Turkish warship Ertuğrul in 1890.
I think most Japanese people don’t know about it. In fact, the Japanese “Yamato mind” had a lot to do with the start.
Although most Japanese have already forgotten, it is said that the people of Turkey, a distant foreign land, still remember that time.
In the middle of the night on September 6th, 1890, a lone Turk, bleeding, barely managed to reach the Kashinozaki lighthouse on Oshima, which floats off the coast of Kushimoto Port in what is now Kushimoto-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture.
On the way home, the Turkish warship crashed into a reef due to a violent typhoon, and the steam engine exploded, splitting it in two and sinking.
I couldn’t understand the language, but apparently the ship ran aground in the storm and sank…
Later I learned that this ship was the Ottoman warship Ertuğrul (2,344 displacement tons) of that time. At this time there were over 600 people on board.
This warship was dispatched the previous year by the order of Emperor (Sultan) Abdulhamid II, carrying envoy Osman Pasha, in return for a friendly visit to Turkey by Imperial Prince Komatsunomiya Akihito, a member of the Japanese royal family. First visit to Japan by the Turkish delegation…the catastrophe occurred on the way home.
The Tragedy of the Turkish Warship Ertuğrul
At this time, the people of Oshima immediately left the island and began rescue operations without sleep.
Rescuing survivors, searching for missing people… The men on the island washed the blood of the injured in seawater, covered the wounds with bandages, carried the Turkish people crying in pain, and carried them on their backs for about 60 meters. I climbed the cliff and did a desperate rescue work.
69 Turks were rescued. It is said that 587 people died without being rescued.
This tragedy was reported in newspapers all over Japan, but all the Japanese people who heard about it cried because of the grief of the Turkish people.
The Meiji government immediately dispatched the warship “Yaeyama” to conduct funerals and burials for the deceased. I called.
Saneyuki Akiyama, who is famous for Ryotaro Shiba’s novel “Saka no Ue no Kumo”, and other students from the 17th class of the Naval Academy were on board as second lieutenant candidates. The two ships arrived safely in Istanbul in January 1891, and the Turkish people welcomed the Japanese navy party with gratitude.
An unknown young man in Japan = Torajiro Yamada
At that time, an unknown Japanese young man learned of this tragedy in Tokyo.
“It’s so sad that he passed away while visiting Japan, which had no diplomatic relations, across the sea. Can’t we somehow comfort the bereaved family?”
A 24-year-old young man who speaks a little French and English, worked hard to collect donations, and was able to collect 5,000 yen in a short period of time. (equivalent to 30 million yen from the current value)
The young man delivered this donation to Foreign Minister Shuzo Aoki. Then Aoki said, “You take it to Turkey.” With the support of the government, the young man set sail from the port of Yokohama in January 1892, sailed north through the Suez Canal, passed through Port Said, the port of Egypt, and arrived in Istanbul, the imperial capital.
At this time, the young man, apart from his donation, personally presented the Myochin helmet, armor, and battle sword passed down from his family to the emperor.
The emperor said to an unknown young man in Japan. He asked me to teach Japanese to the officers of our Imperial Army and Navy. Instead, he asked me to learn Turkish.
An unknown young Japanese man, Torajiro Yamada (1866-1957), stayed in Turkey for four years, and after that spent his life in private diplomacy with Japan.
The devoted rescue and support activities shown by the Japanese eventually led to the fostering of a great deal of pro-Japanese sentiment among the Turkish people.
It is said that the Turks came to laugh, saying, “It was the Turks who headed west from Central Asia, and the Japanese who headed east.”
Japan and Turkey cut off diplomatic relations for a period of time due to World War II, but even after the war, the people of Turkey looked at the Japanese people warmly.
Turkey gives back to Japan
In 1985, the Iran-Iraq War broke out. During that time, 215 Japanese were staying in Iran, mainly in Tehran. Air raids were predicted, and airlines from each country gave priority to their own citizens and took off from Tehran one after another.
However, at that time, Japan’s law did not allow the Self-Defense Forces to be dispatched overseas, and Japan Airlines refused to even dispatch a rescue plane, saying that the safety of the return trip could not be guaranteed.
Two planes landed there. Just before the air raid, the two planes flew to Istanbul with the trembling Japanese on board. It was a special aircraft from Turkey.
Even at this time, the people of Turkey did not forget the kindness they received from the Japanese in 1890. The Turkish government clearly responded to the words of gratitude from the Japanese residents.
“We have not forgotten the kindness of the Japanese people 95 years ago.”
It was immediately conveyed to the Turkish people and is still passed down through generations. This historical story of “friendship and bond” was released in December 2015 as a Japan-Turkey co-production movie “Kainan 1890”.
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