Past to Present Lecture Series - Astoria
During travels to Tohoku, Japan's ravaged tsunami coast in 2012, the survival of the replica ship San Juan Batista inspired the author's interest in early Japanese maritime history and the little known story of the construction of the Japanese built "Manila Galleon" that sailed in 1613 across the Pacific from Japan to Mexico. This Japanese expedition following the Kuroshio current arrived off the west coast without making landfall in Oregon but demonstrated the possibility of trans-Pacific passages originating from Japan, and it preceded by 80 years the ill fated voyage of the Santo Cristo de Burgos thought to be the "Beeswax Wreck" at Manzanita. This voyage was a rare but not the only early Japanese maritime expedition that took place as Japan's Tokugawa period was beginning to encapsulate Japan in isolationism that lasted until the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1853 and opening of Japan to the modern era.
The lecture will conclude with a brief segue to the role of Astoria born adventurer Ranald MacDonald (1824-1894) as the first native speaking teacher of English in Japan in 1848-1849 as the country prepared to meet the English speaking world.