Kanrin Maru

The Kanrin-maru was a sail-and-steam-propelled warship built in the Netherlands by special order of the Japanese government. It was brought  to Japan in 1857. It was first used as a training vessel by Dutch navy personnel who were temporarily stationed in Japan to help build from scratch the forerunner of Japan’s present-day navy.

In 1860, the ship famously crossed the Pacific in support of a Japanese embassy to the United States of America, an event still commemorated today. There is even a Society of Kanrin-maru Crew Descendants consisting of people related to the crew who made the crossing.

The Kanrin-maru eventually wrecked in 1871 in the north of Japan. In the Kanrin-maru project, the International Programme for Maritime Heritage has teamed up with Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology in an attempt to locate its wreck and to collect oral history and information on memorabilia related to the Kanrin-maru and Dutch-Japanese maritime history. Overarching objectives include the exchange of knowledge and the involvement of Japanese students for capacity building.

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