October 30, 2018

Japan: The search for the Kanrin Maru continues

This September, the Maritime Programme of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands is again joining forces with Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology for a new effort in the search for the wreck of the warship the Kanrin Maru.

In for a dive
Last year, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology conducted a land-based survey near Kikonai in Hokkaido, Japan. This year, the search will continue with a dive survey. The main purpose is to learn more about the shared past of Japan and the Netherlands that revolves around the Kanrin Maru. On behalf of the Maritime Programme, independent researcher Leon Derksen is participating in the survey. Additional support is being provided through funding and data exchange.

A shared history with an unsolved ending
The Kanrin Maru, constructed in 1856-1857, was the first steamship built in the Netherlands for the Japanese government. It represents the Netherlands’ guiding role in Japan's effort to catch up with the modern world after centuries of virtual seclusion. In September 1871, the ship sank near the town of Kikonai. Even though all of the crew and its 400 passengers survived, the cause of the shipwreck as well as the exact location remains a mystery to this day. With the dive survey, the participating organisations hope to get closer to solving this riddle. You can follow the project online.