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Chronology of SHIPWRECKED! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy
by Rhoda Blumberg
Ages 8 Up [Additional resources below]


1836 Manjiro's father dies, forcing him (age 9) to become the only support for his mother and siblings

January 5, 1841 Manjiro (age 14) and four crew members set sail aboard small fishing boat; they encounter a terrible storm and are marooned on a small deserted island

June 27, 1841 Manjiro and castaways are rescued by Captain William H. Whitfield and the seamen aboard the John Howland, an American whaler. However, because of strict isolationist laws in Japan, they cannot return to their homeland.

November 20, 1841 The John Howland docks in Honolulu, Manjiro's crew mates decide to stay in Hawaii

January, 1842 The John Howland sets sail from Honolulu; Manjiro (age 16) is now a full crew member

May 7, 1843 The John Howland arrives at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Manjiro becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the U.S. He attends school-for the first time in his life-in a one-room schoolhouse, among thirty children ages four to sixteen.

September, 1848 Manjiro reunites in Honolulu w/his castaway friends 1848 Gold is discovered in California; Manjiro sails aboard a lumber ship heading to the West Coast to f-ind his fortune and earn enough money to return to Japan

December 17, 1850 The merchant ship Sarah Boyd docks in Honolulu; Manjiro and two of his former castaways join the crew w/the agreement to be dropped off in Japanese waters

February, 1850 Manjiro and his two friends are lowered (in a small boat) into the waters off Okinawa; upon reaching shore, they were arrested within 30 minutes, even though Manjiro carries with him a letter from the U.S. consul in Honolulu. The castaways were on trial eighteen times and endured prison for six months.

June 1852 Manjiro and his friends were released and allowed to visit their families.

October 5, 1852 Manjiro finally reaches his homeland-almost twelve years since he had last seen his village

July, 1853 Commodore Matthew Perry drops anchor in Edo Bay (Tokyo), causing a national crisis in Japan foreigners were not allowed in the land, following strict isolationist laws. The shogun commands Manjiro (the only man in Japan with firsthand knowledge of the U.S.) to come to Edo to act as adviser to the Council of Nobles.

February, 1854 Manjiro argues for an end to the nation's isolationist laws to the members of the Council of Nobles. Although he was not permitted to meet the Americans, he played a vital behind-the-scenes role.

March 31, 1854 Treaty of Peace & Amity with the U.S. is signed (with the assistance of Manjiro)

1859 Manjiro establishes a profitable whaling industry in northern Japan, using Western advanced technology to build typical New England whale ships and whaleboats.

1860 Manjiro joins the first Japanese embassy to the United States as an interpreter

1898 Manjiro dies at the age of 71.

Additional links:

The John Manjiro Trail

Interrogation of Manjiro

New Bedford Whaling Museum

History of Whaling