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音吉のここがかっこいい!

● ペリー提督に屈しなかった日本人
 嘉永3年10月29日(1850年12月2日)、摂津国菟原郡大石村の千石船「栄力丸」が紀州・大王崎沖から漂流し、太平洋上でアメリカ船に救助されサンフランシスコへ運ばれた。2年近く経ってようやく帰国を許されたが、アメリカには乗組員を日本に対する通商交渉に利用しようという思惑があった。
 1853年3月に栄力丸の乗組員を乗せたアメリカの艦隊が上海に着いた時(ペリーはまだ合流していない)、アメリカの意図を見抜いていた音吉が理詰めで艦長を説得し、栄力丸乗組員を下船させ匿った。上海に到着したペリーは激怒し、部下に乗組員を取り返すように命じたが、度重なる交渉に音吉は一歩も引かず、結局ペリー艦隊はそのまま日本へ向かわざるを得なかった。
● Otokichi said "No!" to Commodore Perry (1853)
On December 2, 1850, the freighter Eiriki-maru, on their way from Edo to home in Settsu (now Kobe), was wrecked in a severe storm off Enshunada in the Pacific Ocean, and after drifting for about two months, all the 17 crew members were rescued by an American merchant vessel Auckland, and taken to San Francisco arriving on February 3, 1851. There they remained on board the cutter for about a year, and had various kinds of new experiences, helping unload goods from the ship, meeting men of many colors and works, attending a party where dances and betting were done in the open.

The U.S. government had a plan to send them back to Japan when Commodore Perry, 'Commander-in-chief U.S. Naval Forces East India, China, and Japan Seas, and special Ambassador to Japan,' would visit Japan with the President's letter asking Japan, the inhumane country that in 1837 fired upon the unarmed American merchant ship Morrison carrying back the shipwrecked Japanese seamen, to open her doors to foreign countries. This time the Eiriki-maru crew were to be sent home by the armed fleet of Perry Expedition. So, on March 13, 1852 they left San Francisco aboard the St. Mary, dropped at Hawaii on April 3 (where Manzo, one of the crew) died and was buried, and arrived at Hong Kong via Macao on May 20, 1852. Next day they were transferred to the Susquehanna, where they waited for Perry for a couple of weeks, who didn't come as scheduled. He finally came to Hong Kong on April 7, 1853.

While they were in Hong Kong, one day Rikimatsu, one of the seven shipwrecked Japanese seamen aboard the Morrison, visited them and talked about the unsafe situation they were placed in, that they were to be carried by an American warship to Japan. Three of them left the group to return to the U.S. in the fall of 1852. Thus the rest of the crew, now 13 in all, were carried to Shanghai in March 1853, where they met Otokichi, who was working for Dent & Co. He advised them to get off the Susquehanna and offered to help them find Chinese ships legally visiting Nagasaki. However, Captain Adams did not allow them to leave the ship but upon Otokichi's persistent demand, he finally permitted them to get off the ship except for one named Sentaro. So, the twelve of them began to live with Otokichi, working for him carrying goods from the ship to the storehouse, or serving as guards against incoming Taiping revels.

On May 4, Perry finally arrived at Shanghai on the Mississippi. He became very angry to find the crew of the Eiriki-maru having left the ship, and sent a messenger to Otokichi aggressively demanding the return of the crew to the ship. Otokichi kept refusing the repeated demands of Perry, and finally the Perry squadron left Shanghai for Japan on May 16 with Sentaro already working as one of the seamen.

Perry simply mentions this incident in the Narrative of the Expedition to the China Seas and Japan, 1852-1854, Washington, 1856, p.340, that "...the Japanese all preferred to remain in China, left if they returned home they should lose their lives...." With the help of Otokichi, most of the crew returned to Nagasaki in 1855.
● 幕末の志士たちと交流。変わりゆく日本を陰でサポートした国際人
 福澤諭吉も一員であった文久2年の竹内下野守を正使とする幕府遣欧使節団がシンガポールへ寄港した際(1862年2月17日)、上海からシンガポールへ移住した音吉が使節団をホテルに訪ね、イギリスと中国の関係、アヘン戦争や太平天国など、激動のアジアで貿易商として生きてきた者だからこそ知り得た、現実の国際関係情報を教えた。
 続いて、約2カ月後にこの遣欧使節団の第二陣がシンガポールへ寄港した際も、森山栄之助(ペリー提督による日米和親条約交渉時の幕府側首席通訳)と淵辺徳蔵にシンガポールを案内し、当時イギリスの植民地総督官邸(現大統領官邸イスタナ)の向かいにあった広大な自宅に招き歓待したが、森山、淵辺両名は音吉の富裕ぶりに驚いている。
 さらに、1864年3月4日、池田筑後守が率いる横浜鎖港談判使節団がシンガポールへ寄港した際にも、外国奉行支配調役の田中廉太郎らと交流している。
● Otokichi Taught Young Japanese How to Make Japan a Modern Country
Otokichi moved from Shanghai to Singapore with his family on January 24, 1862 aboard the Aden. The Mission to Europe headed by Takenouchi Yasunori (Foreign Affairs Commissioner) stopped at Singapore on February 17, 1862, and Otokichi visited them at the hotel the next day and talked with one of the members, Fukuzawa Yukichi.

Fukuzawa wrote about this meeting in Singapore later that "I remembered seeing Otokichi before, when I was studying in Nagasaki in 1854." Fukuzawa, around 21 years of age, was there to study Dutch, and he must have been impressed with Otokichi, who, in white British naval formal attire, stood straight by Admiral Stirling, interpreting the conversations between him and Mizuno, Governor of Nagasaki.

Otokichi told young Fukuzawa about the current political relations between China and the Great Britain, and actual problems during the Opium War years (1839-42) and the Taiping Rebellion (1851-64).

About two months later, a part of the Takenouchi Mission dropped at Singapore. On April 25, Otokichi again visited them at the hotel, showed Moriyama Einosuke and Fuchibe Tokuzo around the city of Singapore, and took them to his mansion built on a large lot facing Orchard Road, opposite the Residence of the British Governor-General, now the Official Residence of the President.

Moriyama was the chief interpreter on the Japanese side when the U.S.-Japan Peace and Amity Convention was concluded in March 1854. The two Japanese were impressed with the wealthy life of Otokichi.

Again on March 4, 1864, the second Mission to Europe, headed by Ikeda Chikugonokami, stopped at Singapore. The main purpose of this mission was to ask European treaty governments to agree to postpone for a few years for Yokohama Port to deal with foreign trade. Otokichi went to see Tanaka Rentaro, head of the investigation section at the Foreign Office, and must have talked about little feasibility of getting approval of their request from European countries because Yokohama was closer to Edo and more convenient for foreign traders than Nagasaki and Kobe. The mission returned to Japan in vain.
● 英国海軍の通訳として2度日本へ
 幕府の鎖国政策により砲撃を受け日本への帰国を断念した音吉だったが、後に1849年5月及び1854年9月の2回、いずれもイギリス海軍の日本語通訳として日本へ来ている。
 1回目は、江戸湾と下田港測量の命を受けたイギリス東インド艦隊所属の砲艦マリナー号に乗船し、林阿多(リン・アトウ)という中国人であると名乗った。その時の音吉の姿と特徴が日本人画家によって記録されている
(詳しくは、ホームの音吉の謎をご覧ください)。ただし、さすが勝海舟は、この中国人は日本人であると見抜き、後援者への手紙で述べている。
 そして2回目は、日英和親条約締結交渉のため長崎へ来たイギリス極東艦隊の旗艦ウィンチェスターに、艦長であるスターリング提督の通訳として乗船していた。
 その際、音吉がイギリス人に伝えた日本に関する情報はまさに驚きの一言で、音吉は一体どうやってこのような知識を得たのか?(1855年4月28日付けイラストレイテッド・ロンドン・ニュース及び金井圓氏の翻訳をご覧ください)
 いずれの場合も、音吉は結果として日本の不利益にならないよう努力しており、日本の開国にも大きく関わっている。

金井 圓『描かれた幕末政治 イラストレイテッド・ロンドン・ニュース 日本通信1853-1902』株式会社雄松堂書店 昭和48年4月30日
● Otokichi as Interpreter for the British
Otokichi was not allowed to return home under the severe policy of seclusion in 1837, but he later visited Japan twice as an interpreter aboard the British warships.

Captain Matheson of HMS Mariner with a crew of 110, who had received orders to proceed to Japan by the British Navy to do a survey of Japanese seas, asked Otokichi to accompany him as interpreter. The ship left Shanghai on May 14, 1849, visited seas and/or bays around Uraga and Shimoda, and returned to Shanghai on July 2.

While they were doing surveys near Uraga, Japanese officials with a Dutch interpreter visited the British ship. Otokichi introduced himself in Japanese saying, "I am a Chinese named Lin A-tau and live in Shanghai." Though the Matheson's request to land and meet the Governor was refused, they did not regard the visitors as enemies, but simply wanted the British to leave the place as quickly as possible. It was at this time when Otokichi's physical features were described and his figure wearing the British clothes was drawn by the Japanese side. This is so far the only image we have of Otokichi. After visiting Ohshima and Shimoda, the Mariner left Japan and returned to Shanghai on July 2, 1849. Otokichi was called by the British on board the ship as Otosan at that time.

The second time Otokichi visited Japan as interpreter was from September 7 to October 20, 1854, when Admiral Stirling visited Nagasaki and Hakodate, originally with a purpose to ask Japan to let the British ships enter Japanese ports during the Crimean War years (1853-56) to look for Russian warships. However, both Stirling and Otokichi knew that the U.S. had concluded the Peace and Amity Treaty with Japan earlier in March, and the Japanese government also suspected that Britain came to Nagasaki with the similar purpose in mind.

Thus, while both sides met and talked about the opening of Japanese ports, the discussion changed its direction towards opening a few specific ports to exchange shipwrecked seamen and/or provide foreign ships with their necessary supplies. Otokichi was mainly involved in verbal exchanges to help clarify the details of the written treaty articles. Finally after three formal meetings, on October 14 around 2 in the afternoon, the first Anglo-Japanese Convention, similar in content with that of Perry, was agreed and signed by both sides.

The chief representative of Japan Mizuno Chikugonokami, Governor of Nagasaki, wrote in his report to the Central Office in Edo about Otokichi (by Soho Tokutomi, 1979, Kinsei Nihon Kokuminn-shi: Kaikoku Nihon, Vol. 4, pp. 278-337):

A Japanese person is on board, and he interprets everything. We don't need a Dutch interpreter (Sept. 7).... As I wrote before, everything is interpreted by this Japanese. He was from Nagoya, Owari, shipwrecked at age 16, and, and has been working for a British merchant company in China. This time he was asked to come to Japan on board the British ship (Sept. 28).

The Illustrated London News, dated on Jan. 13, 1855, reports the arrival of the British Squadron at Japan and the conclusion of the Anglo-Japanese Convention of October 14, 1854, and again the same paper, dated on April 28, 1855, prints an article by a British reporter as told by the Japanese interpreter Otokichi: three religions of Japan and the port of Nagasaki, how and where the guards are placed around the port, how foreign ships are led to the city of Nagasaki, etc. These descriptions show Otokich was extremely knowledgeable about Japanese culture and political situations at the time.

Otokichi's work as interpreter in both cases proves, though he was working in Shanghai, he was always thinking of his family and his country in those turbulent years in the 19th century. In both times, though Otokichi was working as interpreter for the British side, he did his best for the good of both countries, and thus helped greatly in making Japan move into a modern and open country to the wider world.
● デント商会の中国語表記を「宝順洋行」に
 音吉は日本への帰国を断念してマカオへ戻った後、空白の7年間を経て1844年頃、上海のイギリス系商社デント商会に就職した。デント商会は上海の開港当初から進出し、規模においてジャーディン・アンド・マゼソン商会と並ぶ大手であった。一漂流民であった音吉が、なぜデント商会のようなイギリス系の大商社に職を得ることができたのかは、空白の7年間とともに未だ不明である。
 ただ、デント商会の中国語表記が当初の「顛地洋行」から途中で「寶(宝)順洋行」へ変更されたという事実がある。通常、外来語の中国語表記においては、人名の場合ほとんど音訳して元の発音に一番近い漢字で表記する。ちなみに顛地はデントと読む。
 一方、企業名の場合は音だけでなく英語の意味を中国語に置き換えることもあるが、デントはもともと人名から来ており、「宝順」をデントとは読まない。
 これを実行したのは、千石船「宝順丸」に乗っていた音吉以外には考えられない。中国語圏における会社の顔とも言える社名表記を変更させてしまう、デント商会における音吉の地位の高さがうかがい知れるとともに、故郷への想いが絶えることのなかった証明ではないだろうか。
● Otokichi named Dent & Co. as Hojun yoko(宝順洋行)in Chinese
Thomas Dent came to Canton in 1823 and joined as co-manager of Davidson & Co., but when Davidson left the company in 1824, its name was changed to Dent & Co. His brother Lancelot joined the company in 1826 and Thomas left the company in 1831, leaving the company to Lancelot. In 1841 Lancelot moved its headquarters to Victoria City in Hong Kong after it was ceded to Britain. In those days its Chinese notation was 顛地(<pronunciation of Dent)洋行.

『近代上海大事記』(1989)(History of Modern Shanghai)lists names of foreign companies founded earliest in Shanghai after it was officially announced as an open port for foreign trade from November 17, 1843 (p.19). Dent & Co., with its Chinese name as 宝順洋行, was one of them, which set up Shanghai offices at 14 the Bund with "its main trades are silk and tea" by the end of 1843. The same source writes that there are only 25 British merchants and missionaries listed under the British Consulate.

Otokichi must have been associated with Dent & Co. even when it was doing business in Canton. And when he was asked to work at the newly established Shanghai Branch, Otokichi must have offered its Chinese name to be written as 宝順洋行, taken from the name of the very ship he was on board as a young boy and was wrecked, 宝順丸.The North-China Herald, dated Sept. 9, 1854, prints Otokichi as 'Otoson, J. M.' on the 'List of Renters of Land' under the British Consulate (No. of Title Deed 87, and No. of Lot 96).

During the years working for Dent & Co., one of the largest trading companies in China, Otokichi helped at least seven groups of shipwrecked Japanese return to Japan. One of the last who met Otokichi in 1857 was a seaman called Hichisaburo from Handa village, Chita, Owari (Aichi Pref.). When interviewed by an official after he returned to Japan, he described that Otokichi lived like a Japanese lord of 10,000 koku of rice (as a kind of income) by working as a manager of a British house with 70 people working under him.
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