Ceremony to Remember Victims of Sunken Turkish Naval Ship Held in Japan’s Kushimoto; Ship Sank in 1890 During Storm

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Princess Akiko offers a bouquet of flowers at a memorial stone in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, on Monday.

WAKAYAMA ― A ceremony to remember the victims of a sunken Turkish naval ship was held in the Kashino district of Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, on Monday.

The Turkish naval ship Ertugrul sank off the coast of Kushimoto in September 1890 during a storm, while returning from Yokohama after paying a courtesy visit to Emperor Meiji. A total of 587 crew members were killed in the incident, but 69 survived thanks to rescue efforts by local residents, leading to the foundation of friendly relations between Japan and Turkey.

The ceremony coincided with a goodwill visit from the Turkish naval ship Kinaliada, which docked in Kushimoto to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Princess Akiko of Mikasa, who is president of the Japan-Turkey Society, and Turkish Ambassador to Japan Korkut Gungen were among 130 who attended.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Turkish naval ship Kinaliada calls at Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture.

Following a moment of silence, Princess Akiko said “I hope the relationship between Japan and Turkey last for many more years to come.”

Attendees offered flowers to a memorial stone, and students from the town’s Oshima Elementary School who are involved in cleaning the stone sang a locally-known elegy.

Gungen said that the cornerstone of the relationship between the two countries is that they have come through difficult times by supporting each other, adding that he hopes to maintain a close relationship.