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The sultan of the Ottoman empire awarded medals and other accolades to Imperial Japanese Navy officers 22 janvier 2008

Posted by Acturca in History / Histoire.
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International Herald Tribune (Herald Asahi)

21 janvier 2008

Over a century ago, the sultan of the Ottoman empire awarded medals and other accolades to Imperial Japanese Navy officers who helped return sailors shipwrecked off the coast of Wakayama Prefecture to what is now Turkey.

Two of those gifts are now being presented to the coastal town of Kushimoto, from where the rescue was mounted, by a nephew of one of the officers

Turkish marine archaeologists from a U.S. institute are now engaged in a month-long project to raise artifacts from the wreck

Lt. Eitaro Kishi was among the officers honored by Sultan Abdulhamid II after they brought back 69 crew members of the frigate Ertugrul to Constantinople, now Istanbul, in 1891

Kishi was awarded the silver Buyuk Imtiyaz Madalyasi (Imtiyaz medal) and the fourth-class Mecidi Nishani (Mejidie order)

Shigeo Sanada, Kishi’s nephew, plans to donate the two items to Kushimoto, situated at the southern tip of the Kii peninsula

« Eitaro would be pleased with the handover if the articles are properly preserved and exhibited in Kushimoto, where the sinking took place, » said Sanada. He kept the mementos at his home in Musashino, western Tokyo

The Ertugrul, a 2,344-ton wooden frigate, ran aground in a storm off Kushimoto on the night of Sept. 16, 1890. It was returning from a goodwill visit to Yokohama

Nearly 600 crew members died. Only 69 survived after they reached an island and local residents took care of them by sharing their meager food and clothing

In October that year, two Imperial Japanese Navy battleships, the Kongo and the Hiei, left Japan to transport the survivors home. They reached Turkey in January 1891, according to Imperial Japanese Navy documents

The rescue efforts contributed to friendly relations between Japan and Turkey

Kishi, later promoted to captain, always harbored fond memories of the visit, according to Sanada. He died in 1925

Sanada recalls Kishi’s wife, Miyo, reminiscing about her husband’s experiences during that trip

Kishi learned Turkish from the survivors as they sailed West aboard the Hiei, she said

« Eitaro addressed the sultan in Turkish. The sultan was surprised and asked him where he had learned the language, » Sanada quoted Miyo, who died in 1951, as saying. The survey, which began on Wednesday, is expected to continue through Feb. 13 off Kii-Oshima island. It is being conducted by Turkish researchers from the Texas-based Institute of Nautical Archaeology

Surveys were also conducted shortly after the accident and in 1978 and 1990. A preliminary sonar and visual observation a year ago found several items, such as a 40-millimeter shell casing bearing a Turkish crescent symbol and the Arabic numeral for six

No wreckage was located

Tufan Turanli, the survey team’s chief, said Kishi’s decorations have immense historical value.


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