Tale of samurai and pirates proved

UK-Japan News June 2017

A British teacher in Japan has found evidence of a visit to the country in 1830 by a ship from Australia, then a British colony, The Guardian reported on 28 May. The visit came at the height of Japan’s sakoku, or isolationist, policy, and was long dismissed as fiction by scholars.

The episode saw British convict pirates land on Shikoku, one of Japan’s main islands, aboard the Cyprus. There they encountered local samurai, who attacked and also helped the pirates.

Nick Russell, who made the discovery, came across it after examining a record of an encounter between samurai and non-Japanese.