The Ertugrul Disasters

HOME Turkey Memorial Hall

Kushimoto Town, Wakayama Prefecture

Date taken /Sep, 2015

A model of the Ertugrul and the inscription on the base placed by the pool of the Kushimoto Royal Hotel. The bow of the ship is pointed at Oshima Island where the ship was lost..

The Turkish Memorial Museum built near the site of the disaster.
The site of the Ertugrul shipwreck. The Ertugrul ran into a reef called the "Funa-Koura(ship shell)".
Photo of the Ertugrul taken before the disaster.
Artifacts excavated from the sea floor
fragments of Satsuma ware and bullets / decaying guns / sailors' buckles and buttons / shells and hand-held lamps
Captain Ali Ahmet, captain of the Ertugrul.
The photo on the right shows the handle of a bayonet that was salvaged.
The Ertugrul disaster and the kindness of the Japanese, introduced in Turkish elementary school textbooks.
The Ertugrul disaster to be made into a movie. "Sea Peril 1890, in theaters December 5, 2015.

It was about six years ago, when I went on a research trip to Kushimoto in Wakayama Prefecture. I stayed at the Kushimoto Royal Hotel.

In the garden of the hotel, there is an imposing copper model of a ship. This ship model, with its bow facing Oshima Island, was sent from Turkey to commemorate the Ertugrul disaster.

According to the hotel staff, the Ertugrul was a Turkish ship that came to Japan in June 1890 carrying a goodwill mission. After fulfilling its mission, the ship left the port of Yokohama on September 15 of the same year. In the midst of the typhoon season, the Japanese side recommended postponing the departure, but the Turkish side, in its haste, did not heed the recommendation.

案の定、エルトゥールル号は串本沖で台風に遭遇し座礁してしまったのです。 乗員656名のうち、助かったのは69名、実に587名が死亡するという大事故となりました。 そして、この救難活動に当たったのが、串本町大島の島民たちだったのです。
Sure enough, the Ertugrul encountered a typhoon off the coast of Kushimoto and ran aground. Of the 656 people on board, only 69 survived, and 587 died in the disaster. It was the islanders of Oshima Island in Kushimoto Town who were responsible for the rescue operation.
The kindness of the islanders who kindly took care of the victims was unforgettable, and since then, a long friendship between Turkey and Japan has been established.

And I arrived at the Kushimoto Royal Hotel on September 15, 2015. It was the same day, 125 years after the distress incident. And just like 125 years ago, I arrived in the middle of a typhoon. Looking back, I can't help but wonder why we visited Kushimoto in the middle of that typhoon.

それはともかく、ホテルの人からエルトゥールル号の遭難事件の顛末を聞き、しかも今日は、その記念日だといいます。エルトゥールル号の銅製モデルの銘板にも「殉難125周年 トルコの勇敢な将兵を追悼して」とあり、その下に「1890年9月16日」とあるではないですか! その不思議なめぐりあわせに、居ても立ってもいられず、翌日、その「トルコ記念館」を訪問しました。
Anyway, the hotel staff told me about the Ertugrul disaster, and that today was the anniversary of the disaster. The nameplate on the bronze model of the Ertugrul also read "125th Anniversary of the Martyrdom in Memory of the Brave Soldiers of Turkey," and below that, "September 16, 1890. I couldn't help but visit the Turkish Memorial Museum the next day, because of this strange coincidence.