|Ships:||Sailing ( 1)|
Count Katsu Yasuyoshi (born Katsu Yoshikuni; March 12, 1823 – January 21, 1899), best known by his nickname Katsu Kaishū, was a Japanese statesman and naval engineer during the late Tokugawa shogunate and early Meiji period. Kaishū was a nickname which he took from a piece of calligraphy (Kaishū Shooku) by Sakuma Shōzan. He went through a series of given names throughout his life; his childhood name was Rintarō. He was often called Awa from his title Awano-kami during the late Tokugawa shogunate and later changed his name to Yasuyoshi after the Meiji Restoration.
Katsu Kaishū eventually rose to occupy the position of commissioner (Gunkan-bugyō) in the Tokugawa navy. He is particularly known for his role in the surrender of Edo. (Source: Wikipedia)
Please, allow me to introduce myself. I am Katsu Kaishu, the captain of the Kanrin Maru. Please join me for a plate of sushi.
I heard you are an experienced captain and sailor. The Kanrin Maru is our first steamship and I am ashamed to admit, we Japanese don't have much experience with such vessels.
|3||Across the ocean|
Very humbly I ask for your help. I am going on an important mission to the United States of America, a great country across the ocean. We need more experienced sailors such as yourself.
|4||Shopping in Edo|
Thank you very much, captain-san. Japan will be forever in your debt. Please advise me what do I need to obtain for such a long voyage. We can go and buy materials in Edo.
We have many beautiful and precious things in Japan and we have already chosen some as gifts for the Americans. But maybe you know more about western culture. What would they like?
|6||Fuel for the voyage|
We make our sake from rice. It tastes a bit different than this wine. Now we need to get the fuel for the voyage across the Pacific. We don't have much deposits of coal in Japan so we will have to produce it.
We will be taking the personnel of the Japanese Embassy with us. These are important people and they need comfort on the ship, a soft bed and a warm stove in each cabin.
If you are interested, I can tell you a lot about Japan. Like our traditions, our ships, and our food. We can try catching a fugu fish. I know how to prepare it safely. You never tasted such a delicacy.
And like a dessert, we can have mochi. It's a pastry from rice flour. I like it most with cocoa filling, but it is very rare in Japan. If you don't have any cocoa, we will fill them with red bean paste.
|10||Back to the rudder|
Now we can sail on, captain-san. Our destination is Los Angeles. Have you been there before? No? Then we should take a compass.
I promised my wife to bring her some western clothing from America. Do you think I can buy it there for yen? I have no other money.
An American ship will be joining us. The Powhatan will show us the way to Los Angeles. We just need to have enough coal to follow her.
We are getting left behind by the Powhatan. There might be something wrong with Kanrin Maru. Can you inspect the engine room, captain-san? You surely know more about the steam machine than me.
We had too much cargo and it was slowing us down. We have taken too many statues and marble. Kanrin Maru was not built for such a heavy cargo. We need to deliver it separately.
Now we are sailing with good speed. We can invite the captain of the Powhatan to dine with us. We can ask him about his country and what we can expect once we get there.
Captain-san, can we speak in private? I have a problem. My formal kimono does not fit. I must have gained weight. Please, help me make a new one. I can sew it myself, I just need some cloth.
|17||I want to learn|
I am very much indebted to you. But let's get back to sailor's business. I am an experienced sailor in my country but I know little about the western shipbuilding. Tell me more about it.
|18||Future is in metal|
Yes, we still rely very much on wood in shipbuilding. But as you say, metal is the future. I will think about it. But it will make the ships much more expensive, won't it?
It's good doing business with you. We also hope to improve our knowledge with the treaty we are going to sign with the United States. We were isolated for so long it froze our technological development.
|20||Help from outside|
For a long time, we have sailed only in the coastal waters. We did not wish to make contact with other nations so we stayed on our islands. Now we need to accept the help of other sailors like you.
We are nearing our destination. We should prepare for the official welcome. I will need to join our ambassadors. Can you take care of the unloading of our cargo?
While the official negotiations are running we could stroll around the city. We are just the sailors, they don't need us there. Let's go inspect their shipyard first!
|23||The new fleet|
I see their ships are much more developed than most of ours. But Kainan Maru will be the first of many such ships in Japan. I will bring back materials which will help us build the new Japanese fleet.
Now we have time to taste some local food. I am not so brave in food tasting as I am in sailing so let's eat something familiar. Like fish. Maybe some local cook can prepare them for us.
Our ambassadors have successfully signed the Treaty of Commerce. They are having a celebration and we are invited. We can bring some cakes for the party.
That was a party! I am almost sorry to go home. But my job is sailing, so let's sail home. Oh, I almost forgot. I need to get those clothes for my wife. Help me choose something nice.
I am sure my wife will like this dress. Thank you for helping me choose it, captain-san. Now we check Kainan Maru if she is ready for the voyage home. And fill her up with coal.
The delegation has purchased many items to send back to Japan. They will help us learn about western culture and follow their technological development. Will you help me transport the goods?
|29||We will learn|
Let's not forget the steamship parts. We can't produce them in Japan yet, but we will learn. Even Kainan Maru was built by the Dutch. But don't tell that to the Americans.
We are ready to sail home. The shogun will be most pleased with what we will bring with us. We can build a mighty fleet for Japan with these materials and information.
We are missing a few sailors. They must be still wandering around the city. Let's go look for them. We will find them faster if there is more of us.
|32||Back in Edo|
Shogun wants to hear what we learned in Los Angeles. Only the samurai are allowed in his presence, so you can't come. But if you deliver food as a foreign merchant, you can enter the city.
|33||Trouble at home|
Shogun was pleased with the news I brought. But some unrest is brewing in Edo. It seems the Shogun has strong opposition. He plans to build a fleet which will help him suppress the rebels.
I am forever loyal to the Shogun even though I can understand the arguments against him. I must work on that fleet he wants to build. Will you help me, captain-san?
|35||Trading in Japan|
A few cities in Japan are open to foreign merchants like you. If you wish to stay here, you can trade with grapes. The Japanese have come to like the western wine. You can make good money with it.
I have been appointed as the head of the Naval Academy in Kobe. Will you go visit one of my lectures? And I also need some materials to build a new hall. I know you can get them for me.
I have some distressing news. We are close to a war. The Shogun's rivals are making their move. It might not be safe for you here anymore, captain-san.
|38||Admiral of the fleet|
Before you leave Japan, I have a last request. I am in charge of the shogun's fleet and the next few steamships are shortly before their completion. We just need a few more parts.
|39||Last bite of sushi|
It's time for the last bite of sushi and a cup of warm sake. Let's say goodbyes properly, like friends. It was good knowing you, captain-san. Arigato.
You should collect your sailors and leave Japan. After the war ends, I will be waiting for your visit. I hope we will meet again.