Otokichi Memorial and Recent Discoveries
Given the significance that Otokichi contributed to cultural and political relations at an international level, ORP would like to erect a memorial to mark a the location where Otokichi was rescued in what was the Oregon Territory.
Memorial - Washington State Coast
The first would be located off Flattery Rocks State Park, on the Washington State coast, where Otokichi, Kyukichi and Iwakichi first marooned in December 1833, after 13 months adrift.
This would be a simple stone-engraved marker in Japanese and English, denoting the historical significance of the beach.
Once official permission is granted, ORP expects the actual construction to cost approximately US$4,000. Maintenance costs to keep the area clear of debris will be covered by the National Park Authority.
Recent noteworthy discoveries
Setoyaki (Japanese ceramics)
In 2001, we made a breakthrough discovery. Descendants of those that met Otokichi appear to have what look to be remnants of Setoyaki passed down to them through the generations.
These are the Setoyaki pieces that were more ornamental than typical of the period and intended as gifts for the Shogun in Edo. The pieces were carried onboard the boat the Honjunmaru when it marooned on the coast of what is today, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. We only have photographs, but intend to one day verify their authenticity.
Chinese coins - carried by the castaways
Six perforated coins were found that may have belonged to Otokichi, as well as a fascinating story surrounding the coins.
Dutch Bottle - thrown to the sea
A untold story of the rescue note found in a bottle and tossed in the ocean that was found at the mouth of the Columbia River by Indian scouts.
Resting place of the marooned ship - The Honjunmaru
Actual point Oto in Oregon Territory Hojunmaru marooned. It was not Cape Flattery as many have believed. In fact, it was many miles south.
Commodore Perry inspiration from Otokichi found in Naval Logs
Commodore Perry made several historic visits to Japan in 1853 and 1854. His inspiration for coming was… Otokichi.
Godfather - Dr. Reverand Samuel Wells Williams
After being taken in by American missionaries in Macau, Otokichi was baptized as a Christian. His godfather was the famous missionary pioneer in Asia: Reverend Samuel Wells Williams.
1st Japanese in Canada
Otokichi was not only the first Japanese in America, but also Canada in 1835.
In 1985, Yuzo Igarashi was visiting government offices in Singapore, where he found an antique filing cabinet. Looking through the cabinet, he noticed a notebook had accidentally fallen behind the drawers and was actually underneath the cabinet and probably for many years. It turns out he found a small notebook indicating the burial map for Otokichi. Despite some minor water damage, he returned the notebook to its proper place in the drawer.
In the 1990s, a group had Otokichi's ashes exhumed from the Christian cemetery and placed into a Buddhist Mausoleum in the Japanese Cemetary in Singapore. Then, several years back, half of his ashes were brought to Japan.
A young Yuzo Igarashi in the early 1970s discovers the grave
of John Mathew Ottoson with Tan Bin Hua, an official with the