- 社會勞働研究 (ISSN:02874210)
- vol.40, no.3, pp.234-270, 1994-02
This article concerns the murder of a Japanese castaway named Denkichi (伝吉) who was born in Shiotsumura in the county of Kamo, Kishū province (紀州加茂郡塩津村), (the present-day Shiotsu, Shiotsu town, Wakayama prefecture).His background is obscure, but it seems to me he suffered many vicissitudes during his life.About 7 months after returning home, he was killed by the two samurais in Edo.He was then working for the British Legation in Edo as an interpreter.He was formerly one of the crew of the Eirikimaru (英力丸), a ship owned by Hachisaburo Matsuya (松屋八三郎), a resident of Ōishimura in Setsunokuni (摂津国大石村). In the early winter of 1850, the ship was on its way home from Edo, carrying a cargo of soybeans, wheat, walnuts and sardines pickled in sake lees.On the night of 2nd of December, however, she was overtaken by a storm and began to drift at the mercy of the waves.Seventeen men on board the ship prayed for divine protection, cutting their own topknots and sawing down the mast.Thereafter the dis masted ship continued drifting on and on to the southeast.Since the ship was carrying enough provisions, there was no fear of starvation.The drifting continued for about 53 days during which the Enrikimaru encountered great storms 9 times.Three of these storms were beyond description. However, the Enrikimaru was lucky enough to encounter and rescued by an American sailing vessel, the Auckland.On the 5th of march, 1851, after voyaging for 43 days, the ship finally pulled into the port of San Francisco.Soon after, the Auckland began unloading goods from Kwangtung (広東).The seventeen Japanese were, thereater, ordered to board the Polk (600t.), a steel-bound ship used by the U.S. custom house and they lived on the ship for about a year. On the 11th March, 1852, all Japanese castaways were ordered to board the St.Mary, a U.S. warship, and to start on their journey home.The U.S. Government had intended the rescued Japanese to accompany Commodore Perry's Japan expedition.The St. Mary arrived in HongKong on the 20th of May, 1852, dropping off en route at Hillo in Hawaii island where Manzo, a boatman, died of sickness and was buried there.Four or five days after their arrival in HongKong, the sixteen Japanese were ordered to embark on the Susquehanna (2450t.), the flagship of the U.S. East India Sqauadron.It was in the Susquehanna that the castaways met by accident another Japanese, Rikimatsu (力松), who had been shipwrecked in the autumn of 1834, and was then a resident in HongKong.The Japanese cantaways lodged in the Susquehanna towards the end of June during which she stopped at Hoang-pou (黄埔), in Kwangtung and Amoy (厦門), before returning to HongKong. As time went by, however, as the Japanese had no chance to return home, they decided to divide themselves into two parties.Seven men made up their minds to stay on the Susquehanna and the rest resolved to leave for Shanghai (上海) by land via Kwangtung, Nanjing (南京).Nine men (including Denkichi), who disembarked from the Susquehanna left HongKong for Kwangtung, were waylaid by footpads on a mountain path in Kieou-long (九龍) and robbed of everything they had.Consequently they had to retrace their steps to HongKong and they returned to the Susquehanna. In Septemher, 1852, the Susquehanna left HongKong for Kinxing-chuan (金星川) in Kwangtung, staying there until October.Thereafter three Japanese (i.e. Jisaku, Kamezo and Hikotaro alias Hikozo) left for America.In December of the same year, the Susquehanna left for Amoy and then headed for Manila in Luzon island, returning back to HongKong again. In the middle of January, 1853, the thirteen Japanese left HongKong for Shanghai on board the Susquehanna, arriving in Shanghai about one week afterwards.One day after arriving there a Japanese named Otokichi (乙吉) alias Ottosan had an interview with the Japanese on the Sasquehanna.He was also a castaway, who had been shipwrecked by a storm in November, 1830, then working for Dent and Co., (宝順洋行) as a clerk.Otokichi had been sent home once on the U.S. merchant vessel, 'Morrison', but had not been able to land in his native country.As a result he had long given up any idea of returning home and had resolved to help fellow countrymen wishing to go home.Both Otokichi and his wife (a Malayan?) showed every kindness to the thirteen Japanese when they received them. On the 8th of April, 1853, the thirteen Japanese left the Susquehanna through the good offices of Otokichi and they lodged in his house.Later they were hired by Dent and Co., as clerks and guardsmen. When the Mississippi (1692t.), under the command of Commodore Perry's Japan expedition landed at Shanghai, the Japanese tried to be get back to the U.S. warships.They thought it better to hide themselves somewhere for a while and if possible, they wanted to find a chinese junk which might take them to Japan. Not only Otokichi but the head clerk of Dent and Co., dissuaded them from going back to Japan, because it seemed still premature.However they stuck to their opinion.Otokichi was beaten and finally got permission to return home for them.In the meanwhile, three men (i.e. Ikumatsu, Kiyozo and Tomizo) ran away from Shanghai, proceeding to Zha-pu (乍浦), 108 km in the southwest of Shanghai in Tche-kiang province (浙江省). On the 27th May, nine Japanese, being accompanied by some officials, Otokichi and his wife, embarked in river boats, and made for Zha-pu.On arriving there, after a few days the Japanese were extradited by the authorities and were taken to a ship club, chuanhuisuo (船会所), where they met the three mates.The Japanese were confined in the club and had to put up with many inconviniences. It was on the night of 20th march, 1854, that Iwakichi fled from Zha-pu, leaving a note behind.His message was as follows; There was no hope of returning home.Since the food was poor, if lived there long how could they support their lives?So he wanted to escape from Zha-pu in order to find shelter in some country.His whereabouts remained unknown, though inquires were made. However it seems that he went first to Shanghai and later to Napha (那覇) in Lee Chew, in July, 1854."While the squadron was lying at anchor at Napha, a native of Japan, who was in Lee chew, in what capacity we know not, swam from the shore to the Lexington with a bundle of clothing, and begged to be received on board and to be brought to the United States"(1)The name of the Japanese is unkown, but he must have been Iwakichi.Though he had to land on shore again, however, he tried to be brought to the States again. When the flagship Mississippi was on her way home and at anchor at HongKong in July, 1854, Iwakichi begged to board the warship."On the return of the Mississippi to China, on her way home, another of the Japanese expressed a desire to visit the United States, and was gratified in his desire; this was the young man whom we have mentioned on a former page.This Japanese name is something like Dans-kevitch; but the sailors, with their usual fondnese for christianing those adopted into their loving family, soon called him Dan ketch"(2) On his return to China, Iwakichi betook himself to Kwangtung where he was hired as an interpreter by R.Alcock (1809-97), the first English Minister to Japan.On the 26th May 1859, Denkichi, R.Alcock and his suite arrived in Edo Bay.Denkichi was able to returm home after about 9years' absence.As regards his eleven mates left at Zha-pou, they left home on board the Chinese junk the Yuanbao (源宝), arriving safely in Nagasaki on the 20th August, 1854. R.Alcock established the British Legation at the Tozenji (東禅寺) in Edo.Soon after beginning to live in Edo, Iwakichi began professing to be a British subject, and conducting himself recklessly.He was short-tempered and arrogant, went on horseback, and dressed in foreign clothes.Sometimes his haughty attitude caused much troubles with auti-alienists and finally it cost him his life. It was on the 29th of January, 1860, that Denkichi was stabbed to death by two samurais wearing deep straw hats (worn by old-time Japanese to hide their faces) near the gate of the Legation. "On the 30th ultimo, between 4 and 5 o'clock in the alternoon, the Japanese linguist of this establishment (long absent from his country, wearing European costume), while standing at the gate, under the flag, was thrust through from behind with a short sword, which was left in his body buried to the hilt.The murder was committed in broad daylight, in a public place, with many people about, and yet the perpetrator escaped, nor has it yet been possible to obtain any trace of who it is".(3) Iwakichi was in fact the third victim killed by the anti-alienists, following the cases of killing and wounding three of the crew of the Russian squadron under the command of Count Mouravieff Amoorsky in August, 1859, as well as the murder of a Chinese manservant hired by José Loureiro, the French Consulate in Yokohama in November of the same year. It goes without saying that the perpetrators of the cases mentioned above were not arrested or punished by the authorities A few days after Denkichi's death, the funeral was held at the Korinji temple (光林寺) at Azabu in Edo, being attended by the legation staffs of the Powers and two Foreign commissioners of the Bakufu.The coffin of Denkichi was buried near at the grave of H.Heusken, the secretary and interpreter of Townsend Harris, the U.S. Minister to Japan.The inscription of the Denkicchi's gravestone reads illegibly as follows:DAN-KUTCI.JAPANESE LINGUISTTO THEBRITISH LEGATIONMurderedBYJAPANESE ASSASSINS.29th January, 1860.Notes:(1) Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to China Seas and Japan, A.O.P. Nicholson Printers, 1856. page 497(2) ibidem., page 486(3) Mr.Alcock to Rear-admiral Hope, Yedo, February 4, 1860.