Home News Bio Membership Gallery Tour

Posts Tagged ‘Ainu’

A pilgrimage …

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

RISHIRI: A Pilgrimage … I want to say right now that I love Rishiri Island.  A few FOM members have already written about their visits to various ‘Ranald-related places’ in Japan, and I was thrilled that, late in 2011, I got to go, too. This was a trip nearly two years in the making in part because of the sheer number of people and places we wanted to see while in Japan, but thankfully everything came together more or less as planned, and in late October we arrived at Wakkanai on the north-western tip of Hokkaido where we were met by our friend and long-time FOM member, Yamazaki-san, who, though he lives in Ebetsu, a suburb of Sapporo and a good 6-hour drive from Wakkanai, insisted on driving up to join us on the first leg of our journey – a two-day stay on Rishiri Island. It was our intent to spend time exploring Rishiri Island before catching the ferry back to Wakkanai and returning to Sapporo via Yamazaki-san’s car.  [More about this later…]


Our passage from Hokkaido to Rishiri was uneventful – just the way most people like their ocean travel to be.  The Sea of Japan was calm as we stood out on the narrow, windy deck and watched the silhouette of Rishiri-Fuji grow larger and more detailed as we approached, commenting to each other that this was the same mountain peak Ranald set his sights upon as he struggled to maneuver his small, unwieldy boat closer to land on that long-ago July morning.  There are, in fact, real similarities between the appearance of Rishiri-Fuji and Mt. Hood – the mountain of Ranald’s childhood – although whether this had any effect on Ranald  [e.g., did he also see the resemblance between the two peaks?] only he himself could say.  In my own humble opinion, by the time he got close enough to Rishiri Island to make out the details, I would venture that Ranald really didn’t care what Mt. Rishiri looked like – he simply wanted to find a place to safely “castaway”.

Mr. Eiji Nishiya, the dedicated and enthusiastic curator of the Rishiri Town Museum, met us when we docked – camera in hand, of course.  [We know many good photographers, but I have to say that Mr. Nishiya takes his photography seriously, and I am always excited to open his newest emails to see what treasures he has sent us.]  Mr. Nishiya took us on a brief drive along the ocean before delivering us to our initial destination – a modest western-style, “beachside” hotel that served breakfast and dinner and had its own in-house ‘onsen’.  I’ve put the word “beachside” in quotation marks because, as far as I saw, there are no beaches on Rishiri Island, at least not the sandy kind; in fact, the shoreline reminded me very much of the Oregon Coast between the Sea Lion Caves and Seal Rock, where barely-eroded basalt flows meet the Pacific Ocean. Consequently, Rishiri felt very much like home to me [I grew up on the Oregon coast] and I spent much of the following days trying to convince Mr. Y. that it might be nice to immigrate to Rishiri sometime in the future.  Even the storm that moved in overnight could not change my mind . . .

We were awakened the next morning by the sound of wind and rain against our window, but we are Oregonians and a little wind and rain is nothing to us.  Mr. Nishiya was ready for us and by mid-morning we were happily rummaging through the Ranald MacDonald exhibit at the Rishiri Town Museum.  All three of us were impressed by the number and quality of the exhibits, ranging from artifacts of the Ainu First Peoples to the subsequent influence of the Japanese who eventually displaced them, a creditable natural history exhibit of common and indigenous flora and [stuffed] fauna, a section devoted to the local industry of fishing and sea-farming and – of course – a well-placed and very well organized area devoted to none other than Ranald MacDonald.  We could have easily and quite happily spent a few days examining Mr. Nishiya’s own private stash of MacDonald treasures, but arrangements had been made for Mr. Nishiya and Mr. Yatabe to give a brief presentation about Friends of MacDonald to the student body of one of the two island junior high schools – and we were all pleased and gratified that, once they had heard the incredible true story of Ranald MacDonald the First English Teacher in Japan, the kids were genuinely interested in and enthusiastic about “their” local hero.

Next we loaded into Mr. Nishiya’s car and drove around the whole, rocky island.  Except for the difference in temperature [and the lack of palm trees!] I could have almost imagined myself on Maui, again because of the abundance of basalt and ancient lava flows.  In fact, more than a few of the rocks had names – “Neguma no Iwa” [Sleeping Bear Rock] and “Jimmen Iwa” [The Rock Face] are just two examples. Mt. Rishiri is extinct – its last eruption is estimated to have been in 5830 BC – give or take 300 years – and erosion has produced an extremely rugged topography, but the wind and the waves have not yet been able to break all that basalt down into sand.  This includes Notsuka Cove, where it is believed that Ranald first set foot on Rishiri; marginally protected from the elements, it is still used today by local fishermen.  Like every other Pilgrim to that place, we stood and gazed out over the Sea of Japan and tried to imagine how it had been for him.  And then, again like the others before me, I bent down to pick up a rock – to bring back to Toroda as an offering, perhaps?  I found several, and even pocketed a couple, but something made me keep looking.  I was soon rewarded by a flash of turquoise between the wet stones – a piece of glass float, broken and tumbled by the waves.  Of course, Ranald never saw any glass floats while he was in Japan – Japan didn’t start using the glass floats until 1910.


Before visiting Notsuka Cove we went to see the monuments memorializing Ranald’s exploits.  The first has Ranald’s likeness and calligraphy of an excerpt from the novel “Umi no Sairei (海の祭礼)” (pub. 1986) by Akira Yoshimura (吉村 昭). The book became a sensation in Japan.  There has been some confusion about the larger of the two monuments: in photos it looks as though there are two separate stones, but it is an illusion created by the way the granite is polished.  This is, in fact, a single monument.  The second monument on the left in the photo has the following inscription by Professor Emeritus of University of Hokkaido, Jyukichi Suzuki (鈴木重吉名誉教授) [Prof. Suzuki was born on Rishiri Island]:

In 1848 ‘Kaei 1’ Ranald MacDonald born in Oregon reached ‘Notsuka’ pretending to be a shipwrecked sailar (sic). He felt deep racial connections with Japan across the Pacific although he knew of her total seclusion from the outside world.  Inevitable he was arrested and sent to Nagasaki via Soya and Matsumae.  During his imprisonment in Japan he did his best for mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples transcending the language barrier.  Five years later when Comm. Perry came to force open the closed doors of Japan, MacDonald’s former students at Nagasaki Einosuke Moriyama and others played an important role as interpreters. Thus Ranald enjoys the honor of being the first formal teacher of English and indirectly a father of modernizing Japan.

rishiri-lion-danceLater that evening we were treated to a very private practice session of  a Kirin Shishi-Mai (麒麟獅子舞) conducted by some local residents, including Mr. Nishiya – who plays the Japanese bamboo flute.  During a short break in the practice one of the men looked at us and grinned broadly. “No ferry tomorrow, too stormy!” he said with a laugh.  “100% no ferry!”  We all looked at each other in disbelief – would they actually cancel the only ferry back to Wakkanai?  We had a plane to catch in Sapporo, and a tight itinerary to follow!  Luckily we managed to get the last two seats in the very rear of the daily prop-jet flight from Rishiri Island to Sapporo [which, we later found out, is also frequently cancelled due to weather]. Sadly, we had to leave Mr. Yamazaki behind, promising that we would indeed drive down the western coast of Hokkaido with him on another day. . .


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。】


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)


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。