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Students trace MacDonald back to Astoria

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Japanese teens learn about famous resident’s birthplace ~ By Edward Stratton, The DAILY ASTORIAN,  Oct. 9, 2013

Ranald MacDonald, an Astoria native born at Fort George, landed on the Japanese island of Rishiri 165 years ago, and became the first English teacher in Japan.  During October 2013, two students from Rishiri Public High School visited Astoria to improve their English skills and understanding of MacDonald’s birthplace. They departed for other locations in Washington before heading back to Japan.

Tatsuya Koujiya and Yuuki Komatsu, both 17, arrived in Astoria Oct. 6 with their principal, Hiroyuki Tsukamoto.

“The purpose of it is to encourage the students to learn English and nurture international-minded youth,” said Masaru Yatabe, chairman of the 25-year-old Friends of MacDonald and host and interpreter for the students during their visit to the U.S.

The Japanese newspaper Daily Souya reported Dec. 11 that the communities on Rishiri Island, namely Rishiri and Rishirifuji, established the MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund, encouraging students to learn English. One or two top students will be chosen each year from their English-language class and travel to Oregon and Washington to experience American life and encourage their English-language skills.

Tatsuya and Yuuki are the first recipients of the fund. They passed a standardized English test, wrote theses in Japanese about what their goals were during the visit and were interviewed by their principal, vice principal and English teacher.

Tatsuya, a senior at Rishiri, said he was hurt and unable to play for his school’s badminton team. So he looked into the study abroad fund and thought it would contribute to his future. Yuuki, who had never left Japan before, works part time at a restaurant and wants to improve his language skills for when he helps foreign customers.

Yuuki and Tatsuya moved in with the families of 15-year-old sophomores Clay Williams and Ben Williams, respectively (they are not related). They’ve been shadowing their hosts in class, visiting local tourist attractions and the MacDonald monument near Fort George. They also attended a 15-6 AHS junior varsity football victory in Tillamook.

Rishiri’s high school has 96 students compared with AHS’ more than 600. Yuuki said at first it was overwhelming, but that over time Ben and Clay have introduced him and Tatsuya to other students, and that they’ve been enjoying the last couple of days despite the language barrier.

“Anyone going to a new place would feel kind of … nervous and quiet,” said Ben Williams, who along with Clay Williams said their Japanese peers are particularly polite. “The language sometimes is a little bit of a problem.”

The relative freedom and individuality of AHS was something new to Tatsuya and Yuuki, who said their high school environment in Rishiri is much more controlled with a focus on group action.

“Sometimes we feel like we lack the structure, so it’s the meeting of the minds,” said AHS Principal Lynn Jackson about the differences.

The two students and their principal left for Spokane, Wash., this morning, bound ultimately for Republic, Wash., where MacDonald died in 1894. Yatabe said they’ll shadow more students at Curlew High School in northeastern Washington, pay respects at MacDonald’s graveside and visit Mukogawa Women’s University in Spokane, Wash.  Then they will spend two days getting back to Rishiri, traveling through Spokane, Seattle, Tokyo, Sapporo, Japan, and finally home.

***

Happy 2014 A Little Bit Late

Friday, January 31st, 2014

2014 is already approaching February! I sincerely hope the beginning of everyone’s year has been smooth and that you all are in good health and that the year ahead will be everything you want it to be.

2014年ももうじき2月を迎えようとしておりますが、FOM会員の皆様にとり、健康でスムーズな年初めであった事、そして残り11ヶ月余が充実した時になる事・・・を念じて居ります。

At 3:00 p.m. on October 6th, 2013 three Japanese – along with several Americans – were at Fort Astoria (Ft. George) National Historic Site. The three were gazing at the stone monument entitled “The Birth Place of Ranald MacDonald”. The scene was not unusual, but it was quite historic! 時は2013年10月6日午後3時、数人のアメリカ人に混ざって3人の日本人がFort Astoria 史跡公園を訪れていた。3人はその一遇に建つ「マクドナルド生誕の地」と刻まれた石碑に見入っていた。それ自体珍しい光景ではなかったが、それは大変歴史的な出来事であった。

Ranald MacDonald was born at Fort Astoria (Fort George) on February 3, 1824 the son of Archibald McDonald and Princess Sunday, a daughter of Chinook Indian Chief. In 1848, Ranald – a grown to be a strong 24 year-old sailor – succeeded in landing on an a small island in the Sea of Japan off northern- most Hokkaido. At that time it was generally regarded as an unattainable venture to enter Japan; however, with the careful planning of a “faked shipwreck”, Ranald was saved by Ainu people and the result was a successful landing onto Japanese soil. Soon after that, Ranald was arrested as an unlawful intruder and was transported to Nagasaki under “house arrest” at Daihian, where the translators of Dejima were taught English by Ranald. That is why Ranald is regarded as the first Native English Teacher in Japan. ラナルド・マクドナルドは、スコットランド人アーチボルド・マクドナルドを父に、チヌーク族族長の娘、プリンセス・サンデーを母とし、ここFort Astoria (Fort George) で1824年2月3日に産声をあげた。そして1848年、24歳のたくましい船員に成長したラナルドは北海道北端の日本海に浮かぶ利尻島への単独上陸に成功した。当時鎖国令を敷いていた日本への入国は無謀・・・と思われていたが、ラナルドは緻密な計画に従い遭難を偽装、かけつけたアイヌに救助され、結果的に目的を果たしたのだった。しかし、その後不法入国者・・・として幕府に捕えられ長崎へ護送された後、座敷牢大悲庵に幽閉されたが、そこで出島の通詞達に英語を教えた事が今日マクドナルドを「日本で最初のネイティブ英語教師」と位置付けている所以である。

The three Japanese at Fort Astoria were two students, Yuuki Komatsu and Tatsuya Koujiya of Rishiri High School and their principle, Mr. Hiroyuki Tsukamoto. The three had arrived at Portland International Airport a day earlier, October 5, 2013. So it was that 165 years since Ranald landed on Rishiri Island, three people from Rishiri came to visit Astoria, the birth place of Ranald MacDonald. There are only two towns on Rishiri Island: Rishiri-cho and Rishirifuji-cho. In December 2012 the citizens, the businesses and other groups in both towns got together and established “A Support Group for MacDonald Scholarship Funds” in order to support the only high school on the Island, Rishiri Senior High School. The objective is to send a few students annually to the US, in particular, to Oregon and Washington states, where Ranald had close ties – and thus encourage students to study English and assist students to acquire an International mind and etiquette”. The next few pages are copies of newspaper articles, photos and the comments by Yuuki-kun and Tatsuya-kun from Rishiri Senior High School:

Fort Astoria に居た3人の日本人は北海道利尻高校から前日(10月5日)ポートランド国際空港に到着した留学生の小松祐希君及び糀屋達也君と付添いの塚本宏之校長先生であった。オレゴニアン、ラナルド・マクドナルドが利尻島に上陸して以来、実に165年間を経た2013年に利尻島からの3人はラナルドの生誕地、アストリアへやって来たのであった。利尻島内には利尻町及び利尻富士町という2つの町が在るが両町の町民や企業、団体が島の将来の為協力し同島内唯一の利尻高校を支援し元気付けようと2012年12月に「マクドナルド奨学基金支援の会」を立ち上げた。その趣旨は毎年何人かの利尻高校生を米国(特にマクドナルドゆかりの地、オレゴンとワシントン州)へ短期留学させ、生徒達の英語学習欲を促し、同時に国際感覚養成に役立てるというものだった。 以下、小松君及び糀屋君のオレゴン及びワシントン州への第1回留学に関する新聞記事や写真、両君の感想等を掲載させて頂く:

ご報告: 2013年5月11日のFOM年次総会席上ご承認頂きました「FOMよりマクドナルド奨学基金    支援の会への寄付10口分として¥50,000」を実行致しました。

Report: We have donated 50,000 yen to The MacDonald Scholarship Fund in Rishiri Island from FOM General Funds per approval during the annual luncheon meeting in Astoria on May 11, 2013.

FOM Chairman 谷田部 勝/Masaru “Mas” Yatabe

* * * * *

朝日新聞 Asahi Shimbun

Asahi Shimbun

Our Overall Impressions

3年 小松 祐希/Yuuki Komatsu, Senior

僕は今回、アメリカ研修留学に行って本当によかったと思っています。 それは、たくさんの人に出会い、たくさんの事を学び、広く視野を広げることが出来たからです。ですが、1つ後悔をした事が在ります。それは「もっと英語の勉強をしておけばよかった」ということです。 アメリカでの生活の中で1番困ったのが「英会話」でした。あまり英語が話せなくても楽しく8日間をすごすことができましたが、ちゃんと英語が話せればもっともっと楽しく充実した8日間になったのかな。と思うととても悔しく思いました。来年度からもこの事業が続いて行くという事なので、次回の留学生には僕のように後悔をせず心からアメリカでの生活を楽しんできてもらいたいです。なので、学校での英語勉強の徹底をした方がいいと思いました。このような体験ができたのもマクドナルド奨学金支援の会の方々や利尻町、利尻富士町両町のご支援ご協力があったからです。今回学んだことを残りの高校生活、そして卒業後の学生生活に活かしていこうと思います。この度は、本当にありがとうございました。

I am truly glad that I went to America to study this time. It enabled me to meet many people, learn many things and gave me a broader perspective. However, I do have one regret: I should have studied English harder. The most troublesome thing for me was English conversation. It made me feel sorry when I realized the 8 days would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had had better command of English – even though those 8 days were fun days. I understand that this program will continue on to next year and beyond; I hope future participants will enjoy the experience fully and without regret. Therefore, it will be a good idea to make sure the student(s) study English seriously and with diligence. I was able to have this valuable experience because of the assistance and cooperation of the people of ‘MacDonald Scholarship Fund Support Group’ and the Towns of Rishiri and Rishirifuji. I intend to apply and utilize what I learned to the rest of my High School life and my life after graduation. Thank you very much.

2年 糀屋 達也/Tatsuya Koujiya, Junior

今回の留学研修は自分にとってとてもためになり研修となりました。初めてアメリカに行き、たくさんの驚きがありました。特に僕が印象に残っているのは、むこうの学校に行き、生徒と交流をした事です。言葉がなかなか通じない中、身振り手振りでコミュニケーションをとり、一緒に授業を受けたことが一番楽しかったです。又、ホームステイなどでは、一人で外国人の中に入っていって何日間か過ごしました。そのなかで困ったときにも自分でしっかり対処できたことにより、少し自信を持つことができました。今回の研修で日本とアメリカの文化の違いを体験したことで、日本にいただけでは感じることのできなかった世界観や視野をこれからの進路にいかしていきたいと思います。最後になりましたが、利尻町、利尻富士町のみなさん、そしてマクドナルド基金のみなさんには、ご支援いただき、このような機会を作っていただいたことに深く感謝します。来年ももし行く機会があれば、また行ってみたいです。

Studying abroad was a very good experience for me and visiting America for the first time gave me many surprises. I will always remember going to school in America and exchanging ideas with the students I met. The most enjoyable thing was to go to class together (with American students) even though we had language difficulty and had to depend on our hands and body gestures a lot for communication. I was alone among foreigners for a few days during the home stay, and I gained confidence in myself when I was able to work out a problem by myself. In the future I hope I can apply the worldwide perspective which I gained through experiencing the cultural differences between Japan and America during the study tour, experiences I could not have enjoyed had I stayed in Japan. Last, but not least, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the people of the Towns of Rishiri and Rishirifuji and the members of ‘MacDonald Scholarship’ funds. If I could go again next year, I would love to.

Ranald MacDonald’s World – Roots – Archibald and the H.B.C. Fur Trade

Monday, January 17th, 2011

The next  post will definitely take on an ‘academic’ tone, sort of like what you’d find on The History Channel, but I think it is important to be able to place oneself shoulder-to-shoulder with Ranald MacDonald before one can really appreciate what it was like to live as a Metis – a half-European, half-Native American — in 19th Century North America [and beyond].

Many of us at Friends of MacDonald are familiar with the biography of MacDonald and can recite a near-litany of his many accomplishments, most particularly those events leading up to and including his clandestine entry into Japan in July of 1848. Though celebrated among those of us who know about his history as a world traveller and quasi-diplomat, in regards to his DNA, Ranald MacDonald was in no way unique.

When celebrating the history of the Celtic peoples in the New World, one must include the descendants of their liaisons with the First Peoples, for here is where we find many of the greatest stories on this continent. The joining of these two tribal cultures resulted in some of the greatest warrior-heroes to walk the planet – just when their people needed them the most. The traditional powers of the Old World (Britain, Spain and France) were locked in mortal combat over the vast resources of the New World. These “resources” included the “Coilltich“, the Gaelic word for the “forest-folk” – the term the Highlanders had for the Red Man.(1)

From the Gaelic periodical, Cuairtear nan Gleann, 1840, translated:

“There is no People on the face of this earth who, in matters of war or hunting, can surpass the Indians who inhabit the region of America not inhabited by the white people. They are now (alas!) few in number compared to what they were at one time; for, as the white people become more numerous and powerful, the Indians are scourged backwards before them, from place to place; and are injured by every sort of the most merciless brutality and violence.”

“The American Indians are very refined in their language and they are eloquent and expressive in their manner of speaking.”

It is possible that the Gaels realized that Native Americans were the disposed and disenfranchised of America in the same sense that the Gaels themselves had become the subject race of Scotland, driven out of their home by Clearances that continued into the early twentieth century.(2)

It is no wonder then, that the Highlander would leave the English on the coast of America and settle on the frontiers of the 18th and 19th centuries, intermingling with the tribes and settling down with the women of the First Peoples. “Such unions enabled them to enjoy better relations with their wife’s tribe, gave them a partner with the knowledge and experience necessary to survive in the wild, and bestowed full “native status” to their children on account of the matrilineal reckoning of Native American society.”  Those children, who, having the bloodlines of two warrior tribes from different ends of the planet, made their indelible mark on history for both the Coilltich and the Ceiltich.(3)

To better understand Ranald’s story – who he was as well as his place in the history of this continent (and even in world history) it is important to understand and become familiar with what “his” world was like.  This article will be the first in a series of articles that will hopefully provide some meaningful background to help us all better empathize with the “Life and Times” of Ranald MacDonald.

Selkirk Landing 1812

Landing of the Selkirk Settlers, Red River, 1812, J.E. Schaflein HBC’s 1924 calendar illustration, H.B.C. Archives

The fur trade – and the subsequent arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company – had various effects on the northern First People [indigenous] populations from the Oregon Territory on the Pacific coast to the northwestern portion of the Northwest Territories and across South and Central Canada. The fur trade itself had already disrupted previous economic relationships between indigenous groups, and in some examples the presence of the Hudson’s Bay Company furthered tension between these groups as each vied for the control of fur-rich regions and sole access to specific Company posts. Though the Tribes may have competed with each other, due to the frontier nature of the region, the relations between fur trade companies and First Peoples was, by necessity, generally one of mutual accommodation. [This was in stark contrast to other European-First People relations.] The fur trade was dependent on indigenous trappers. This dependence resulted in a certain amount of respect for the ability of the indigenous trappers to locate fur-rich areas. Merchant firms such as the Hudson’s Bay Company were subject to market competition, and this in itself encouraged “fair behavior”. Another factor was that the White Traders and the First Peoples were too dependent upon each other to allow any type of extensive exploitation to occur.

The first large wave of Scottish immigration to Canada occurred between 1770 and 1815, when some 15,000 individuals moved to places like the Selkirk Settlement in current-day Manitoba, as well as to settlements along the East Coast and eastern Ontario. A significant number during the fur trade were men, and many of them would settle with Aboriginal women to create the Métis. During the great wave of immigration to Canada’s West during the 1800s and early 1900s, the Highlanders were the preferred group of immigrants because of their hardiness and their adaptability to farming, and these men were highly sought after. Archibald McDonald, Ranald’s father, was just such a man.

Winter Sunlight on Glencoe and Loch Leven

Winter Sunlight on Glencoe and Loch Leven ~ Copyright Jim Stewart

Archibald McDonald was born at Leeckhentium, on the southern shore of Loch Leven, Glencoe, Appin, in North Argyleshire, Scotland, on February 3rd, 1790. [His paternal grandfather, Iain (or John) McDonald, had been one of the few male survivors of the Massacre of Glencoe** in 1692.] It is said that Archibald was well educated and studied the rudiments of medicine at the University of Edinburgh before immigrating to Canada as a member of Lord Selkirk’s Colony(4) at Red River (Manitoba) in 1813, where he assumed a considerable share in the management of the Colony’s affairs, in part because he could act as an interpreter between the overseers of the colony, who spoke English, and the settlers, who, like him, were native Gaelic-speakers. [Thomas Douglas (June 20, 1771~ April 8, 1820) was the 5th Earl of Selkirk and was part-owner of the Hudson Bay Company.]

After Lord Selkirk’s death in 1820, his executors administered the colony, and sought to reduce expenses by ending settlers’ subsidies and refusing to recruit new European immigrants. Consequently, population growth came largely through the retirement of fur traders and their native families to the colony, encouraged by the newly-formed Hudson’s Bay Company’s reduction of the number of its employees. In the spring of 1820 Archibald entered the service of the H.B.C., shortly after the union of the H.B.C. and the North West Company; in 1821 H.B.C. Governor George Simpson sent McDonald to the Columbia district, on the Pacific Northwest coast, where he first served as accountant at Fort George [Fort Astoria].

It was at Fort Astoria in 1823 that Archibald was married “according to the custom of the country”, to the princess Koale’zoa (also known as Raven or Sunday) (d. 1824), daughter of Chinook chief Comcomly, with whom he had one son, Ranald McDonald; Archibald married a second time in 1825, also according to the custom of the country, Jane Klyne, a Metis [mixed-blood] woman with whom he had twelve sons and one daughter.(5)

McDonald was one very busy man; we might even be tempted to call him an ‘over-achiever’. At the very least his resume` is impressive. The following information is taken from Archibald McDonald: Biography and Genealogy, an article written by William S. Lewis and published in the Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 2, April 1918 : “In 1824 Archibald McDonald was one of the clerks in charge of posts in the Thompson’s River District, also known as the Columbia District. He succeeded John McLeod, Chief Trader, at Kamloops in the Thompson’s River District, in 1826.(6)  In July 1828 he accompanied Governor George Simpson of the H.B.C. on a canoe voyage from York Factory, Hudson’s Bay to Fort Langley, New Caledonia, where he succeeded James McMillan.(7)  He remained at Fort Langley until the spring of 1833. While stationed there he inaugurated the business of salting and curing salmon for market. In a letter to John McLeod dated January 15, 1831, McDonald wrote: “Our salmon, for all the contempt entertained for everything outside of the routine of beaver at York Factory, is close up to 300 barrels.”(8)

In 1833 he suggested the idea of raising flocks and herds on the Pacific Coast.

McDonald left Fort Langley for Fort Vancouver and on May 1833 selected the site and helped lay the foundation of Nisqually House [near present-day Tacoma, WA.] In July of that year he accompanied William Connolly up the Columbia with supplies for the interior, for the purpose of proceeding overland to enjoy a furlough. He spent 1834-35 in Scotland. Returning in the spring of 1835, he took charge of Fort Colville in 1836.(9)  McDonald was stationed at Fort Colville from 1836 to 1843. In 1842 he was promoted to Chief Factor. While in the Columbia River district, Archibald had charge of and was eminently successful in placing the land in cultivation, and acquiring and raising horses, cattle, sheep, etc. In a letter to John McLeod dated January 25, 1837, McDonald states, “Your three calves are up to 55 and your 3 grunters would have swarmed the country if we did not make it a point to keep them down to 150.”(10)

Writing in September, 1837, Rev. Elkanah Walker thus describes Archibald McDonald’s farming operations at Fort Colville:

“It was truly pleasing after being nearly half a year without seeing anything that will bear to be compared with good farming, to see fenced fields, houses and barns grouped together, with large and numerous stacks and grain, with cattle and swine feeding on the plain in large number. There is more the appearance of civilized life at Fort Colville than any place I have seen since I left the States, and more than you see in some of the new places in the States … Mr. McDonald raises great crops. He estimates his wheat this year at 1500 bushels and his potatoes at 7000 bushels. Corn is in small quantity in comparison with his other grains.”

While at Fort Colville, in the early forties, Archibald McDonald is said to have had many hundred acres under partial cultivation. His son, Benjamin, stated that his father had nearly five thousand acres of land under cultivation at one time in the vicinity of old Fort Colville. Mr. Jacob A. Meyers places the maximum of land in agricultural use by the Hudson’s Bay Company in the vicinity of Fort Colville at 2000 acres, including in this estimate hay lands some twelve miles distant in the neighborhood of the present town of Colville. The company also held six townships of pasture lands obtained from the Indians by treaty.(11)  [In his later years, Archie’s son Ranald panned the creeks flowing into the Kettle River and Boundary Creek in search of gold; Ranald died on the Colville reservation in 1894 in the arms of his niece, Jenny Lynch, the daughter of his half-brother Benjamin.](12)

At Fort Colville, Archibald supervised the reconstruction of the old sawmill, said to have been originally built in 1826-9, and the first sawmill on the Pacific Coast north of California. The original roof boards of the old fort buildings, of mill-sawn lumber, and lumber for company boats, bateaux and other purposes came from this mill. McDonald also supervised the rebuilding of the gristmill on “Mill Creek” (now Meyers Falls of the Colville River).

archibald-mcdonald

During Archibald McDonald’s many years in the Northwest he made no less than 15 trips across the continent between 1812 and 1845. He also kept very accurate journals, describing the country as regards to topography, soil, timber, rivers, climate, etc., through plains and over mountains, from Hudson’s Bay and the Great Lakes to the Pacific.

On his retirement from the H.B.C. in 1844 he moved overland with his family to Montreal, where he resided for two years. He then moved to St. Andrews on the Ottawa River, where he purchased a large tract of land and established a permanent home. He called his residence “Glencoe Cottage” and here he continued to live until his death on January 15, 1853, at the age of 62 years. Sadly, he may have died believing that his eldest son Ranald had perished at sea, though according to Fred Schodt in Native American in the Land of the Shogun, “ … this was unlikely. On April 3, 1852, the month before he removed Ranald from his will, Archibald wrote to a relative in Ft. Colville: ‘From Ranald, the Hero of Japan, I had several letters since his withdrawal from Jedo (sic) – He sticks to the sea, and last sailed from London for Sidney. But I trust now he will prefer digging for gold in Australia to the precarious and uncertain life of a sailor.’ ”

In the business of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archibald displayed great initiative and energy, and, possessing also considerable executive and business ability, he was unquestionably one of the most capable chief traders in the Columbia River District. Moreover, Archibald McDonald was a likeable character. He was naturally of a kindly nature, and a most agreeable companion. During his many years in the Northwest he maintained an extensive correspondence with his contemporaries in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s service. To visitors at his post he was a most courteous host. John McLean, writing in April, 1887, says, “We met with a most friendly reception from a warm hearted Gael, Mr. McDonald.”(13) Reverend Elkanah Walker, in his Journal, under date of September 17, 1888, writes of his arrival at Fort Colville, “Received a cordial welcome from Mr. McDonald and lady.” Subsequent pages of the Journal record many courtesies and kindnesses of the Hudson’s Bay Chief Trader.(14)

His family relations were ideal, and he at all times displayed a patient and earnest regard for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his children, to all of whom he gave such educational advantages as his means and the times permitted. “It is high time,” he writes, “for me to see and get my little boys to school – God bless them – I have no less than five of them all in a promising way.”(15)  A highlander born and bred, Archibald McDonald was in the best sense of the term “a gentleman of the old school,” a man utterly fearless, and of greatest personal integrity and honor. McLeod in his Peace River (pp. 117, 91) describes him as “a gentleman of utmost suavity of spirit as well as form.”

“As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” It seems that in this, Ranald MacDonald had a superior role model in the form of his father.

To be continued … ~A.M.Y.~~~

(1)The Legacy of Scottish Highlanders in the United States ~Michael Newton 2001 (2)Ibid. [3]Mike Dunlap, from the upcoming book, “New World Celts: Voyage to America”[4]Thomas Douglas (June 20, 1771 — April 8, 1820) was the 5th Earl of Selkirk[5]Jean Murray Cole, Dictionary of Canadian History On Line[6]McLeod’s Peace River[7]See Archibald McDonald’s Journal; McLeod’s Peace River[8]Washington Historical Quarterly, i, 265, July, 1907.[9]Washington Historical Quarterly/, ii, 254, April, 1908;[10]Ibid [11]Lieutenant Johnson gives the cultivated land in the immediate vicinity of the fort (1841) as but 130 acres. U. B. Exploring Exp., iv, 443.[12]Washington State History, Native Americans in Ferry County[13]John McLean, Notes of a Twenty-Five Years’ Service in the Hudson’s Bay Territory [14]Reports of the U. S. (Wilkes Expedition (1841), IV, 443, 454[15]Washington Historical Quarterly, ii, 163, January, 1908

Samurai in Washington D.C.

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

150 years ago, the world had yet to discover Japan, and the people of Japan had never seen America …

In the summer of 1860, before the Civil War erased all thoughts of international affairs from America’s mind, the Japan’s Tokugawa government sent its first diplomatic mission to the United States:  a group of 77 samurai whose purpose was to exchange the instruments of ratification of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (1858). The agreement opened the ports of Edo and four other Japanese cities to American trade, among other stipulations. In the years  before the Civil War, the Japanese visitors captivated the American people and the press.samurai-reception-in-wash-dc-1860 Landing of Japanese Embassy at Navy Yard in Washington, DC, May 1860

Throughout their seven-week tour, the guests from Japan were greeted with great excitement, if not outright curiosity given their “exotic” dress and demeanor. Everywhere they went, they were met by overflowing crowds, and impressive parades were staged in their honor. The historic visit was widely covered in the American press of the day, which relished recounting every detail of the visits made by these exotic visitors. In fact, these Japanese envoys from across the Pacific became celebrities who captivated much attention across a nation that had yet to experience the outbreak of the American Civil War. This remarkable encounter of cultures was described in the June 11, 1860 edition of The New York Times as “… an event which, if it have any significance at all, involves consequences the most momentous to the civilization and the commerce of the world for ages to come.”uss-powhatan-w-1st-japanese-embassy-to-us-circa-1860

USS Powhatan carrying the First Japanese Embassy to America, circa 1860. Woodblock print, ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA (The U.S. frigate Powhatan was the so-called “Black Ship” formerly under the command of Commodore Perry)

This momentous event was not only a first for Japan, but for the West as well. Before the Japanese Embassy’s arrival on American shores, no Western country had ever received a diplomatic mission from East Asia. The significance of this great honor was not lost on the fledgling American republic. Congress adjourned for their arrival at the Navy Yard, while a crowd of 5,000 gathered to greet the samurai at the docks. Another 20,000 Washingtonians – Washington’s population at that time was about 75,000 – cheered along their route to the Willard Hotel, where the samurai would lodge during their stay. Men and boys climbed trees to get a better look as ladies tossed flowers from crowded, second-story windows.

Vice Envoy Muragaki described the scene in his private journal:

“What immense crowds there were! The streets were like seas of human beings; the windows and balconies were thronged with people eager to get a glimpse of the procession. I could not help smiling at the wonder in their eyes, which reached a culminating point when they caught sight of our party wearing costumes that they had never seen before or even dreamt of. I might say that the whole procession seemed to the people of Washington to be a scene out of fairyland, as, indeed, their city appeared to us.

It was however, not without a feeling of pride and satisfaction that we drove, in such grand style, through the streets of the American metropolis, as the first Ambassadors that Japan had ever sent abroad, and that we witnessed the enthusiastic welcome accorded to us by the citizens.”

Herman Melville called Japan “impenetrable” in Moby Dick (1851), and predicted that “(if) that double-bolted land, Japan, is even to become hospitable, it is the whale-ship alone to whom the credit will be due; for all ready she is on the threshold.”  Less than three years later Commodore Perry’s steam-powered “Black Ships” [which included the U.S. frigate Powhatan] lowered their anchors in Edo Bay in 1853 and Japan’s official policy of national isolation, which had been followed for over two centuries, did indeed come to an end.

When I Googled “1860 Japanese ambassadors to America” over 90,300 results appeared.  Of course I did not visit each and every website, but I did peruse the first four pages totaling just under 40 links.  For Japanophiles the very idea that 90,000+ pages were devoted to one subject, e.g., the first Japanese embassy to visit America, is gratifying.   For Friends of MacDonald members, however, the sparkles of delight are definitely muted; nearly every web article I inspected lovingly pointed out that Commodore Perry had “opened” Japan a mere 7 years before the official Japanese embassy visit, but none – NOT ONE – made mention of the fact that it had been Ranald MacDonald’s efforts – his design, if you will -that had facilitated the success of America’s first official contact with Japan, but Ranald had clearly articulated his intent, to wit:

“Wonder in an ocean of wonders! – to us, on its opposite shore, gazing, searching into the far, far offing, it was ever an object of intense curiosity. What of such people? What of their manner of life? What of their unrivalled(sic) wealth with its gleam of gold and things most precious? What of their life, social, municipal and national? What of their feelings and tendencies – if any – toward association or friendly relations with other people, especially us, neighbors of their East?

These and such like questions and considerations ever recurring; the subject, oft, of talk amongst my elders … entering deeply into my young and naturally receptive mind; breeding, in their own way, thoughts and aspirations which dominated me as a soul possessed.  I resolved, within myself, to personally solve the mystery, if possible, at any cost of effort – yea, even life itself.

Satisfied in my own conscience with my purpose, I never abandoned it.  That purpose was to learn of them; and, if occasion should offer it, to instruct them of us.” ~~ Ranald MacDonald, The Narrative of His Life, 1824-1894; pg.131 (annotated and edited by Wm. Lewis & N. Murakami)

And so he did.  And if Ranald had not had the opportunity – and the audacity – to instruct several, bright Japanese students in the complexities of the English language – among them the Emperor’s eventual chief interpreter to Commodore Perry, Einosuke Moriyama – who knows how America’s initial foray into Japan would have turned out?

***


Apple Blossom Time, 100 Years Ago

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

~reprinted from Gates Ajar, Spring 1992

Almost (120) years ago, Ranald MacDonald took pen in hand to correct an article in the Spokane (Washington) Review. He sent his correction, however, [not to the Spokane Review but] to his local newspaper, The Kettle Falls Pioneer, where it won front page coverage on May 12, 1892.  This ‘letter to the editor’ revealed something of Ranald’s style (concerned historians will note that Ranald added his own disclaimer.)  The column was headed:  “HISTORIC APPLE TREES, A Few Facts Penned by Mr. Ranald MacDonald”.

Here is a portion of the “offending” story Ranald felt compelled to refute:

“The Washington State Historical Society is doing very valuable work, and has much more to do.  Among other things demanding its attention should be the removal to one of the public parks in Tacoma of those two old historic apple trees now growing at old Fort Nisqually.  Those threes are the first apple trees planted in the northwest, at least north of the Columbia.  On November 1, 1834 it was planted in a hotbed by Archie McDonald. Nicknamed “Sleepy” McDonald, and the following spring the twigs were transplanted to the ground where they now stand at old Fort Nisqually.  McDonald was one of the chief clerks of the Hudson Bay Company, and was sent from Vancouver by the good Dr. McLaughlin to found Fort Nisqually.  In England in 1833 the captain of an English ship was given a grand dinner on the eve of his departure for the wild wilderness of the northwest.  In eating an apple a lady carefully saved its seeds, presented them to the captain, and requested him to have them planted in the new world.  These were the seeds planted at old Fort Nisqually.  The two trees they produced stand about a mile off the main road between Tacoma and Olympia, the location of Nisqually having been changed from its original site …”   ~Spokane Review


And so Ranald wrote:

“OLD FORT COLVILLE

MARCUS P.O., WASH.

EDITOR PIONEER: –The above interesting paragraph, having the ring and spice of romance, I fear will not bear the cold facts of history.  I will be brief:  Mr. Archibald MacDonald, stationed at Fort Langley on the Fraser River, received his parchment or commission while there; was then assigned to Fort Colville; the family, I believe, left Langley in 1833 in a bateau to reach Colville for the second time; coasted down Puget Sound, going ashore every night to camp; in due course arrived at Nisqually and camped on the beach at the mouth of a creek which I suppose to be the Sequalichew; here we laid over, Mr. MacDonald, inspecting the country.  I remember (him) taking me and a younger brother to view the beautiful, park-like country covered with green and luxuriant grasses, and remember him saying is was just the country for cattle and sheep, and pointing to the running stream that could be utilized for milling purposes … Then Mr. MacDonald and the late Sir James Douglas and party was sent to build Fort Nisqually … with a view of making it the headquarters of the future Puget Sound Agricultural Company …

I have never heard Mr. Archie MacDonald called “Sleepy” or nicknamed; if so he must have slept with one eye open, for he was quick to see, act with energy and prompt to execute.  The mistake may arise from the fact that there were three Angus MacDonalds – one was called ‘Sleepy’, one ‘Holey’, and the other ‘Glencoe’ – this I have been credibly informed by satisfactory evidence now living; but this was a long time after the founding of Nisqually, so this Sleepy McDonald could not be connected with the “Historic Apple Trees”.

The first apple trees planted and bearing fruit was at old Fort Vancouver north of the Columbia (river), where the Hudson Bay Company had a large garden under the care and management of a careful and intelligent Scotsman by the name of Mr. Bruce, who sometimes would cut an apple and give the boys a taste …

What I have some doubt is with respect to dates not having the journals by me, but note this from memory.

~RANALD MacDONALD, a Pro-Pioneer”

[Editor’s note:  Although specific details vary, the story of apple seeds traveling from a London dinner party to Fort Vancouver is a well-known story.  Vancouver’s “Old Apple Tree” still stands today and bears fruit, as it has for more than 150 years (more than 170 years to date!), not far from the site of the restored Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River.]

Oldest Apple Tree at Ft Vancouver

The annual Old Apple Tree Festival is typically held on the first Saturday in October from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Apple Tree Park, located on Columbia Way, just east of Interstate 5 Bridge. The festival focuses on environmental education and historic preservation with Heritage Tree walks, Historic Clark County tours, Birds of Prey show, scavenger hunts along the waterfront trail, kids’ activities, and much more. As a bonus, the Urban Forestry Commission gives away state-grown apples, as well as tree cuttings from the Old Apple Tree to each visitor.

日本へ最初に行ったアメリカ人は誰?

Friday, April 30th, 2010

アメリカ大陸に最初に足跡を残した日本人は誰?・・・という事は、アメリカ大陸に立った最初の日本人は誰?・・・という質問になる。 多くのお方は土佐藩(今の高知県)出身の中浜 万次郎こと、ジョン・万次郎と答えるであろう。 それは1841年の出来事であった。 しかし、史実はこれを正解としない。 実はその7年前の1834年、愛知県知多郡小野浦から三吉と呼ばれる三人の船乗り(音吉、岩吉、久吉)が今のワシントン州オリンピック半島の海岸、ケープ・アラバに漂着しているのである。

1832年11月3日、三吉たち14人を乗せた千石船、宝順丸は米や陶器を積み込み、目的 地江戸へ向かって伊勢湾の鳥羽を出港した。しかし、その途中遠州灘で暴風雨に遭い、宝順丸の舵が折れ航路コントロールが不可能となる。14ヶ月間と言う長期にわたり太平洋上を漂流の末、宝順丸はやがてケープ・アラバに漂着したのであった。当初14人居た乗り組み員は、途中、飢餓や壊血病で倒れ、生き残ったのは音吉、岩吉、久吉の三人だけになってしまった。三人はそこで捕鯨部族として知られていたマカー・インディアンに救助され今で言う“ホーム・ステイ”を4ヶ月余体験、健康を回復した。その後、三吉達は、コロンビア河向こうのバンクーバーに在る(現在の国立史跡公園)フォート・バンクーバーへ連れて来られ、そこで約13ヶ月間過ごし英語のレッスンを受け、やがて英国経由鎖国令の布かれている日本へ・・・の送還を試みられるのである。【この史実、特に音吉の歩んだ道はこの後意外な展開を遂げる。ご興味をお持ちのお方は角川文庫の三浦綾子著“海嶺”をご一読されたい。】

さて、アメリカへ来た最初の日本人は誰だったかご理解頂いたと思うので、次に逆の質問、所謂、(日本行きを目的とし)日本へ最初に行ったアメリカ人は誰?・・・と、問うて見たい。

sankichi-monument-at-fort-vancouver-copy1853年、時の徳川幕府に「開国!」を迫り黒船を率いて浦賀港へやってきたペリー提督・・・?  答えは「No!」 正解はラナルド・マクドナルド(当時24歳)。 更に、驚く無かれ、彼はオレゴニアンであった。ラナルドは、コロンビア河の河口、アストリアのフォート・ジョージで1824年2月3日、スコットランド人アーチボルド・マクドナルドを父に、コロンビア下流地帯のインディアン、チヌーク族の大酋長コム・コムリの次女コアール・クソアを母として産声を上げた。ラナルドは、少年時代にフォート・バンクーバーに滞在していた日本人、三吉達の瞳、髪の毛、皮膚の色等、インディアンに似ているという話を聞き、(別な説は、少年ラナルドが三吉達を見た・・・とか、三吉達と短期間ではあったが交流の機会があった・・・とも言われているが、その史実は疑わしい)又、インディアン部族の長老間で、先祖達がアジアからアラスカを経てアメリカ大陸へやってきたという言い伝えを耳にした事もあった事から、彼らインディアンと日本人の先祖は同じかもしれない・・・と、少年ラナルドは日本、日本人に対する異常なほどの興味と憧れを抱き始めた。

1847年暮、23歳に成長したラナルドはハワイでアメリカの捕鯨船プリマス号の平船員となり、捕鯨船が世界中から集まっていた日本近海への出港の第一関門をクリアした。その後数ヶ月間、類の無いほどの大漁獲を収めたプリマス号での捕鯨の仕事に汗を流したラナルドは、報酬の代わりに小船と食料、水を事前約束通りエドワード船長から譲り受け、いよいよ単身日本上陸を目指すのであった。 それは1848年、ラナルドが満24歳の時であった。

MacDonald Monument at Nagasaki, Japan

彼は、鎖国令が布かれている日本に上陸するのは、命がけである事は十分承知していた。少しでもその危険性を和らげる為、ラナルドは万国共通の“人情”に訴える作戦に出た。 北海道利尻島の海辺の村落、野塚に近付いた海上で遭難を偽装したのだ。その作戦は見事功を奏し、案の定、海岸に居たアイヌ達が2艘の小船で救助に来てくれた。

こうして、オレゴニアンのラナルド・マクドナルドは鎖国中の日本への入国を果たした。だが、オランダ人と中国人、それも長崎の出島以外では交易を認めていなかった徳川幕府としては、ラナルドを密入国者として捕らえ約3ヶ月間掛け、船で身柄を長崎へ送り、そこの大悲庵と称する座敷牢に軟禁した。しかし、ラナルドの日本人や日本文化に対する尊敬の念と日本語を学ぼうとする誠意溢れる人柄が役人に認められ、出島のオランダ語専門通詞達14人が、大悲庵に通うようになった。そこで通詞達は彼に日本語を教え、彼から英語を学ぶ・・・という日常が始まったのだ。これは、ラナルドがアメリカへ強制送還されるまでの約7ヶ月間続いた。

これが日本での英語教育のはじまり・・・であり、現在ではオレゴン出身のラナルド・マクドナルドが“日本で最初の英語教師”として位置付けされている。 更に、その5年後、1853年にペリー提督が黒船を率いて徳川幕府に開国を迫る交渉に来る訳だが、その時日本側の首席通訳の大任を果たした森山 栄之助は、マクドナルドの大悲庵に通った14人の通詞の一人であった。

English Language textbooks from Japan

【 このマクドナルドに関する史実は、近年日本の中学及び高校の英語教科書でも教材の一部として取り上げられているばかりか、日・英両語で幾つかの本が出版されている。 その中で最も代表的な日本語の本は、文春文庫の吉村 昭著“海の祭礼”であろう。】

ここにラナルドが日本(大悲庵)で密かに纏めた和英語彙集の中から、幾つかを紹介する。ここで留意しなくてはならないのは、マクドナルドは、彼が耳にした日本語を英語の言葉の発音に置き換えて彼なりにメモした事である。所謂、ローマ字発音にこだわると、マクドナルドが意図した発音と異なるケースが多々あるので気を付けなければならない。 例えば、meme であるが、ローマ字発音ではメメとなる。しかし、マクドナルドが意図した発音はミミ〔耳〕なのである。英語でme〔私〕という単語があるが、マクドナルドが聞いた日本語はミミ、即ちme ミーを二度繰り返したmeme ミーミー(耳) であった。Keno も同様に、ローマ字発音ではヶノであるが、マクドナルドが聴いた言葉は、キノ、すなわちキノー(昨日)だったのである。 基本的に、eの発音は、エ ではなく英語ではイー。 アルファベットは A・B・C・D・E・F・・・と続くが、これは、エイ・ビー・シー・ディー・イー・エフ・・・と、発音するのはご存知の通り。

catana – 刀: sword

meme – 耳: ear

oy – 甥: nephew

nom – 飲む: drink

omereto – おめでとう: congratulations

beging – 美人: beautiful lady

sheo – 塩: salt

keno – きのう: yesterday

emoto – 妹: younger sister

sinara – さいなら: good bye

rogin – 老人: old man

eye-nose – アイヌ: Ainu

oboyewarii – 覚え悪りい: forgetful (bad at remembering)

この他にも簡単な日本語(長崎弁)会話を含んだマクドナルド自身による手書きの語彙集の現物は、カナダのヴィクトリアB.C.図書館に保管されている。

マクドナルド友の会* 会長     谷田部 勝

*マクドナルド友の会は、より多くの方々にラナルド・マクドナルドに関する素晴らしい史実を知ってもらおうとの主旨から、今から21年前、当時ポートランド商工会理事であり、エプソン・ポートランド社社長であった故冨田 正勝氏等が中心となり、クラッツァップ郡歴史協会の下部組織として創設されたものである。

My Own Trip to Rishiri

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

by FOM Chairman Mas Yatabe

After visiting Nagasaki in January of 2009 – where Ranald MacDonald first taught English – I had a strong urge to make my own pilgrimage to Rishiri Island, to the spot where Ranald first set foot on the soil of Japan. When an opportunity presented itself during a business trip in July, I felt that I could afford to take a side-visit to Rishiri, though I knew the time I could spend there would be very limited.

I left my hometown of Tatebayashi in Gunma Prefecture around 7:30 in the morning and after a couple of transfers I got on the Tohoku Line of the Shinkansen [bullet train] in Tokyo – which rather quickly arrived at its northernmost stop in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture. However, it was almost 7:30 pm by the time I finally arrived in Sapporo where I was met by my long-time friend, Katsu Yamazaki [one of the FOM’s charter members. Mr. Yamazaki became a member of the Friends of MacDonald when he was assigned to lead the Portland office of Itogumi Corporation of Hokkaido back in the 1980’s.] Even though the hour was late, because my time was short Mr. Yamazaki suggested that we drive north as far as we could that same night.

After driving several hours in the rain along a dark two-lane road, it must have been around midnight that we arrived at a little town called Teshio, and we were on the road again by 6:00 am the next morning, heading toward our destination of Wakkanai. [An interesting side note is that Wakkanai and Portland are on the same latitude.] We arrived early enough that we actually had to wait for the ferry, which was to leave the Port of Wakkanai at 7:50 am for Oshidomari, the only Port on Rishiri Island. We arrived at Oshidomari around 9:30 am, which gave us just about an hour and a half to explore before we had to catch our return ferry at 11 am. A very tight schedule, indeed!

rishiri-map

Map of Rishiri Island. Looks like a cartoon but it’s not.

Fortunately, Mr. Eiji Nishiya, Curator of the Rishiri Museum and Secretary of FOM Japan, would be waiting for us at the Port of Oshidomari, and was ready to take us to the monument commemorating the spot where MacDonald first landed on Rishiri Island. As we were approaching the island I was thrilled to see Mt. Rishiri appearing and disappearing in the clouds – the very same mountain peak that MacDonald saw almost exactly 171 years ago as he made his approach to Rishiri Island in July of 1848. I have heard it said that MacDonald had perhaps set his course for Rishiri Island [rather than the closer mainland] after sighting Mt. Rishiri, because its appearance reminded him of Mt. Hood – the mountain of his childhood when he was schooled at Fort Vancouver, WA. After viewing both peaks with my own eyes I could certainly understand his nostalgia.

mt-rishiri-july-2009

Mt. Rishiri, July 2009 ~~~  photo taken by Eiji Nishiya

I would have loved to have been able to stay for a few hours and explore before returning on the afternoon ferry, but since my schedule was so tight – and in order to return to Sapporo that same evening – we had no choice but to catch the 11:00 am ferry back to Wakkanai. It was a good thing that MacDonald’s monument stood only a few miles from the Port, so Mr. Nishiya was able to get us back to the ferry in short order.

nishiya-and-mas-at-monumentWith Mr. Nishiya at the MacDonald “landing site” monument

After taking a couple of photos at the stone monument, Mr. Nishiya drove us a few minutes down the road to a rocky cove where a couple of small boats were beached. It is Mr. Nishiya’s belief that this beach was actually the spot where MacDonald first set foot on Rishiri Island [as opposed to where the monument sits.] Though we were pressed for time, I wanted to put my feet on the rocks where MacDonald stood, so while Mr. Nishiya and Mr. Yamazaki watched and waited up on the hill, I clambered down to the beach, and, like MacDonald, I slipped and fell [and dislocated a finger, incidentally.] As I was climbing back up the hill, I remembered how Ranald had a problem “ascending the steep, rocky bank” in his ‘new’ zori sandals.

the-beach-where-macdonald-landed

The beach where MacDonald landed?

I can now say that I have stood in many of the key places that MacDonald himself stood – Astoria, Oregon, Ft. Vancouver, WA, Lahaina, Maui and now Rishiri and Nagasaki, Japan. I can better understand and realize what a significant impact this man had on US-Japan relations. If it were happening today, Ronald MacDonald would be a celebrity/hero and perhaps his photo would be on the cover of TIME magazine. Sadly, though, more people equate the name ‘Ranald MacDonald’ with hamburgers than History. Collectively, we at “Friends of MacDonald” must continue to work hard to educate people about the important historical significance of the Fearless Adventurer known as Ranald MacDonald.

rishiri-beach-rock-2009

**

January 2010

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Friends of MacDonald extends its congratulations to Fred Schodt ~~~~~


FOM extends its congratulations to Fred Schodt, whom we agreed most deservedly received a prestigious award from the Japanese government in 2009.  The presentation of the “Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Ray Rosette” was held in San Francisco at the Official Residence of the Japanese Consul General, Mr. Yasumasa Nagamine. The award is given on behalf of the Japanese government, and signed by the Prime Minister and emperor.  Read Fred’s speech here.

Photobucket

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FOM Donates 30 Books Unsung Hero: Ranald MacDonald Story to Elementary School Children of Nagasaki

As of this writing, there are over 80 elementary schools in Nagasaki, Japan.  To celebrate the Nagasaki-East Rotary Club’s 40th anniversary, the Rotary Club sponsored a gathering of elementary school children called “Let’s Talk English” on Dec. 19, 2009.  The coordinator was Mr. Minoru Maeda, a former English teacher and a current International Member of Friends of MacDonald.  It was Mr. Maeda’s idea for each participating student to receive a copy of the book Unsung Hero: Ranald MacDonald Story, a biography of Ranald MacDonald written for children by Atsumi Tsukimori McCauley of Spokane, WA and illustrated by Mariko King.  [Friends of MacDonald would like to thank Ms. McCauley for selling us copies of her books at cost.]

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Mihama Delegation Visits Makah Nation

Mr. Koichi Saito and his wife, Yuriko, led a “Goodwill” Friendship delegation of 28 Otokichi-no-kai members to the annual Makah Day Festival in Neah Bay, WA on August 29, 2009.  Mr. Saito is the former Mayor of Mihama (Aichi Prefecture).

2009-08-otokichi-tour-hojun-maru


The day began with a brief visit to the Makah Cultural Research Center in Neah Bay – which is recognized as the nation’s finest tribal museum – and the group was able to enjoy the replica of the Hojun-maru, donated by Hyogo Scout Council, Boy Scout of Nippon in 2006. It was the Makah ancestors who saved the lives of three sailors from Mihama who were washed ashore on Cape Alava in the disabled ship named Hojun-maru in the winter of 1834. The delegation from Mihama came to express their appreciation to the present day people of the Makah Nation for saving the three sailors from their hometown and to exchange goodwill with them by not only observing the parade, canoe racing, dancing, etc., but also actively participating in their day-long “Makah Day” festivities – the biggest annual event for the people of the Makah Indian Nation.

2009-08-otokichi-tour-gift-exchangeThe delegation was first treated to a traditional Baked Salmon lunch near the center stage of the festivities before Mayor Saito and Michael Lawrence, Chairman of the Makah Tribal Council, exchanged gifts. Some of the Mihama delegation members could not help but envy the scene where more than one hundred little boys and girls under the age of 12 dressed in their traditional costumes and danced proudly on the outdoor center stage. It was a beautiful sight that sent a message to everyone that the Makah Nation will continue for many more generations to come.

makah-childrens-dance

The next day the entire group from Mihama hiked through the Olympic National Forest for few miles to reach the shores of Cape Alava where the ancestors of the present-day Makah saved the three shipwrecked sailors, Otokichi, Iwakichi and Kyukichi in 1834.  Mayor Saito talked about how hard it must have been for the three sailors in the frigid weather, surrounded by strangers who wore ‘odd’ clothing and spoke an unfamiliar language. It was noted and stressed by Mayor Saito that the three sailors were able to regain their health under the care of Makah people and eventually they were able to sail to England.

What the Sankichi experienced with the Makah people then was what we call these days a true “home stay”. “We must not forget that!” former Mayor Saito stated – and everyone heartily agreed.

otokichi-tour-at-cape-alava-2009_0

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Membership

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Through your memberships and/or donations you contribute to the building of ties between American and Japanese citizens who have an interest in history, education and people-to-people exchange. Recent membership activities have included historical reenactments, tours of historical sites and exchanges between scholars, historians and writers.

FOM, through the story of Ranald MacDonald, encourages American students of Japanese and Japanese learners of English to engage in the adventure of cultural exchange. Foreign language and cultural studies enrich the citizens of both countries and further mutual understanding between peoples.

FOM provides a window to learning about a unique trans-pacific heritage by conducting lectures and seminar programs, exhibits at public libraries and museums, and participation in ongoing efforts to interpret and preserve the history of the Pacific Northwest.

We invite you to join us! Establish your new annual membership, gift membership or donation in the appropriate category:

Family or Individual Membership [$15.00 annual]
International Family or Individual Membership [$20.00 annual]
Corporate Membership [$100.00 annual]

Please contact:

Friends of MacDonald
c/o Clatsop County Historical Society
P.O. Box 88
Astoria, OR 97103

Or

amm@friendsofmacdonald.com

Gates Ajar – Spring 2009

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

A Pilgrimage to Nagasaki to Meet Obama-san

January 20, 2009 was indeed an historic day, not only for Americans, but also for many people all over the world.  On that day a “New Era” started with the inauguration of the new President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, in Washington D.C.  But where was I on that day?  I was sitting next to another Mr. Obama at a dining table in a Chinese Restaurant in the ANA Nagasaki Hotel in Japan. This white-haired gentleman – about 40 year’s Barack Obama’s senior – was Dr. Masami Obama (83), a gynecologist and obstetrician of Nagasaki City in Japan. Perhaps I need to, 1) introduce who this Japanese Obama-san is, and, 2) explain why I was meeting with him in Nagasaki on January 20, 2009.

Dr. Obama, Mas Yatabe, Mr. Maeda

[left to right: Dr. Obama, Mas Yatabe, Mr. Minoru Maeda]

Dr. Obama has been an active Rotarian for many years and was president of Rotary Club Nagasaki South Chapter in 1988. He was the first Chairman of FOM Nagasaki as well, which was formed on March 6, 1998 [FOM in America’s official organization date was May 20, 1988].  Dr. Obama was the force behind the effort to erect the impressive granite monument of Ranald MacDonald not too far from Dejima in Nagasaki in 1994 as the commemoration of their 30th anniversary of the Chapter.

As I stood across from Ranald MacDonald’s monument in front of this rather large, well-fenced house where the make-shift prison “Daihian” used to be [the so-called jail house “Daihian” stood less than a 10-minute walk from Dejima Island on the way to Matsunomori Shrine near the famous Great Suwa Jinja],  I could not help but imagine Moriyama Einosuke [who would later become chief interpreter for the Tokugawa Shogunate] and 13 other native-Japanese Dutch/Japanese interpreters walking into the house to take English lessons from a native English speaker for the first time in Japanese history. What a significant event that was! The year was 1848 [a full 5 years before Commodore Perry of the East India Fleet of America came to the Uraga port with 4 black ships with a demand that Japan open its doors to American vessels] and a native Oregonian, Ranald MacDonald, was the teacher. Many historians, including Mr. Akira Yoshimura, the author of “Umi-no-Sairei” [Festival of the Sea)] believe the English lessons at Daihian influenced the outcome of the negotiations between the Tokugawa Shogunate and Commodore Perry of the United States of America, which took place several years later. The ability of the native Japanese interpreters to understand and speak English and their knowledge of the current events of the world impressed the American negotiators and raised their level of respect for the Japanese negotiators.

Along my journey to Nagasaki to meet with Dr. Obama and visit the Ranald MacDonald Monument, I met several other remarkable Friends of MacDonald in Japan, and I would like to introduce them to our members (in no particular order):

Mr. Yuji Aisaka of Kyoto is an ex-English teacher and an absolutely amazing person.  Mr. Aisaka was present at the dedication ceremony of Ranald MacDonald’s birth place monument in Astoria in 1988. He has also visited MacDonald’s grave in Toroda, Washington. He attended and observed the Shinto-style dedication ceremony of the Monument of Ranald MacDonald in Nagasaki in 1994.  Moreover, Mr. Aisaka searched out and visited the house where Ranald MacDonald’s father, Archibald McDonald, lived in Scotland!  Mr. Aisaka is perhaps the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic friend of MacDonald around. He has given me books, newspaper clippings, a DVD, a video, etc., all related to MacDonald – and even reference material of Otokichi of Mihama. He says he is in love with the Columbia River – and I believe him!

Mr. Tetsuya Sano of Kobe, a former Hyogo State Representative and one of the Executives of the Hyogo Scouts Association was a leader of the Hyogo Boy Scouts when they erected the Sankichi “Friendship” monument at Fort Vancouver in Washington State in 1989. He and I traveled together with Mayor Koichi Saito and 107 citizens of Mihama in 1997 to the Makah Indian Reservation at Neah Bay, Washington, to follow in the footsteps of Sankichi in the Pacific Northwest.  Mr. Sano presented me with a very interesting book written by the late Akira Yoshimura who authored a book about Ranald MacDonald’s venture into Japan called “Umi no Sairei” [Festival of the Sea]. The book I was given included the episodes behind the book and the research journals of the book Umi no Sairei.

Mr. Minoru Maeda, is a retired English teacher who lives in Nagasaki. Mr. Maeda was at the dinner with Dr. Obama on January 20th and he was the gentleman who kindly guided me around in Nagasaki to MacDonald’s monument, the historic Dejima, the China town and to the splendid Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture.  Mr. Maeda said that in 1988 he was inspired by an article about MacDonald written by Richard Reed of The Oregonian, who was at that time a staff writer for the Daily Yomiuri newspaper.   Mr. Maeda holds a Masters degree from University of Oregon and lived in the Eugene area with his wife and children for 2 and a half years in the 1980s and has many fond memories of Oregon.

Ms. Maiko Midorikawa had just returned from her honeymoon in Tahiti when I met her in Yokohama.  Maiko-san was the ‘go-between’ between myself and Dr. Obama prior to my visit to Nagasaki. She is a graduate of Nagasaki University and thoroughly enjoyed the 3 months she spent a short while ago in the Portland area as a Nagasaki Rotary Club exchange student.

A little more on  Dr. Masami Obama (83), the head of Obama Clinic, who is a true gentleman. He is quite active not only in his profession, but in Rotary club and other civic activities as well. I heard he is an avid golfer who just missed shooting his age by 1 stroke last year. I would like Dr. Obama to come and visit us and enjoy golfing in the Pacific Northwest in the near future.

Mr. Motohisa Shiota of Nagasaki, is another MacDonald enthusiast who was originally scheduled to be at the dinner with Dr. Obama and myself on January 20th, but his health did not allow him to come that day.  I hope he is feeling better by now and that I can meet him here or in Japan some day.

Mr. Eiji Nishiya, is an Executive Director of FOM, Hokkaido. I was only able to speak with Mr. Nishiya on the phone while I was in Japan, but on my next trip to Japan, I am hoping to visit him in Rishiri, Hokkaido and to see the monument that stands near the beach where young MacDonald set foot on Japanese soil for the first time in 1848.

Ms. Yumiko Kawamoto of Tokyo, a noted scholar of not only MacDonald, but of all the historical figures and events leading up to the closure of Tokugawa Shogunate era.

I saw Ms. Kawamoto in November, 2008, but regretfully, we were not able to get together this past January.  However, her advice on the phone prior to my pilgrimage to Nagasaki was invaluable.  Ms. Kawamura was a guest speaker at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland in 2004 along with Frederik L. Schodt who authored a book of Ranald MacDonald called “Native American in the Land of the Shogun”.

I might add that during my journey to Nagasaki I was able to recruit two gentlemen to join us as “International members” of our own FOM. They are Mr. Yoshio Kojima and Mr. Fuminori Marumoto. Mr. Kojima, a graduate of Portland State University in the early1970’s, is a retired English teacher living in Tatebayashi, Gunma.  Mr. Marumoto is president of Kumamoto Kenmin Department Store Ltd. and visited Portland twice in 2007. Kumamoto being not too far from Nagasaki, Mr. Marumoto was quite eager to learn more about Ranald MacDonald.

The most regrettable and truly disappointing thing during my trip to Nagasaki was during my visit to the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture. In this new, $86 million museum [which was completed in 2005] – a wonderful and first class museum by any definition – nowhere did I find even a single mention of “Ranald MacDonald”.  My feelings of disappointment in the Museum’s presentation [or lack thereof] were compounded when I had the opportunity to view a video of the dedication ceremony of the MacDonald monument in 1994 [given to me by Mr. Aisaka after I came back to Portland.]  The dedication ceremony was attended by many of the local government, educational and civic leaders of the Nagasaki area then. Even the Honorable Consul Donald Y. Yamamoto from the US Consulate in Fukuoka was there to give a congratulatory speech – because Ranald MacDonald was a significant figure in the early days of the US-Japan relationship.  How unfortunate that MacDonald’s contribution is completely overlooked by the Museum of History and Culture – a perfect stage to preserve the story of the first native-English-speaking English teacher to Japan if there ever was one.

The closest thing to any reference that the museum had was “… in 1858, the first English School was opened …”  But that event was a full 10 years after Ranald MacDonald was brought to [and subsequently left] Nagasaki!  I sincerely hope that Dr. Obama and other MacDonald enthusiasts can do something about this gaping hole.  My understanding is that the Tokugawa Shogunate had given official permission to have such a class at Daihian in Nagasaki.  It should at least be mentioned somewhere within the museum that in 1848, Ranald MacDonald of Oregon Territory taught the first English to the 14 professional Dutch/Japanese interpreters of Dejima.

I must say that the time I had allocated to spend in Nagasaki on this trip was far too short. My original intention was to meet with and pay my respect to Dr. Obama and to see the Ranald MacDonald Monument and then turn around and go back to Tokyo. I will know better the next time, for sure.