In November 2012, the International School Network prepared an interview with Mr. Atakcan, the Turkish embassy counselor, at the Turkish Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. The embassy walls were delicately designed with elaborate Turkish tiles.
links to their websites
The relations between Japan and Turkey started in the 19th century. In 1890, the Turkish Ertugrul frigate had sank off the coast of Wakayama, Japan. The surviving sailors were treated with care by the Japanese villagers, and they were safely brought back to Istanbul. When the Republic of Turkey was founded, diplomatic relations were established, and the first embassies opened in 1925. 2010 marked the 120th anniversary of Turko-Japanese relations, which had been great celebration.
In October 1887, Prince Akihito of Japan had visited Istanbul and presented the Order of Chrysanthemum to the Turkish sultan, which was Japan's highest order. The government of the Ottoman Empire was very delighted by this order, and they decided to send a ship for a goodwill voyage to Japan in return.
It was at noon on September 15, 1890, when the Ship Ertugrul set off from Yokohama to return to Istanbul. The weather was in good condition during departure. However, from the next morning, a reverse wind started to blow against the ship, which grew stronger towards the evening.The crew attempted to stop the ship by emergency anchoring right before it hit the rocks, but unfortunately, the ship did not stop, and it hit the reefs and fell apart. This happened at around midnight on September 18, 1890. Because of this accident, about 533 sailors, including 50 officers and Admiral Ali Osman Pasha, had lost their lives. Six officers and sixty-three sailors survived; Six of them were uninjured, and nine were severely wounded, and the rest had light injuries. After the rescue operation by the Japanese villagers, two survivors were taken to Kobe by Japanese ships, two by a Japanese battleship, and sixty-five by German gunboats. In October 1890, all of the sixty-nine survivors were taken back to Istanbul from Shinagawa, Tokyo. The Ottoman sultan let in the Japanese battleships on January 5, 1892. He was very pleased with the arrival, and so expressed his appreciation by presenting medals to the Japanese crew.
This had created a bond between the Turkish and Japanese people, establishing a strong friendship basis.
A cemetery was made for 150 people found in the sea from the sunken ship, in February 1891. A memorial was also built near the lighthouse located in the town of Kushimoto, Wakayama.
On 3 June 1929, Emperor Hirohito visited the cemetery, and Turkey repaired it in 1939.
In 1974, the "Turkish Museum" was established in Japan. It consisted of a scale model of the ship, with photographs and statues of the sailors.
Every Five years of the anniversary day of the accident in Kushimoto is celebrated as the starting day of friendship between Turkey and Japan.
The Turkish children had wrote heartwarming letters and drew caring pictures for the children of Japan who have suffered from the tsunami and earthquake on March 11, 2011. These letters and drawings were collected into a book called “Bridge of Love”.
(Reported by Madoka Nishina)
Madoka Nishina 9th Saint Maur International School
Karen Nishina 3th Saint Maur International School