Kansai Information

2010: “Japan Year in Turkey” – Friendship between Japan and Turkey began in Wakayama.

 On the stormy night of September 16, 1890, the Turkish warship “Ertugrul” stranded and sank off the coast of Kashinozaki in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, after being hit by typhoon winds and high waves with many passengers, including members of the first Turkish goodwill delegation sent to Japan by the Ottoman Empire. In this disaster, amidst the loss of many lives, 69 passengers were rescued by residents of Ohshima Island of Kushimoto, who ran to the site and worked strenuously to save as many lives as possible. This action on the part of Oshima residents moved the Turkish people; the story of self-sacrifice and lifesaving by those Japanese people has been handed down from generation to generation in Turkey. In 1985, Turks returned the favor by rescuing Japanese people who had been left behind in Tehran in the middle of the Iran-Iraq War: the Turkish government sent a Turkish Airlines plane to help Japanese nationals leave Iran. Thus, the Japan-Turkey friendship can be traced back to the shipwreck incident in Wakayama. (Photo: The Turkish Sailors Monument in Kushimoto-cho)
 This year, the Japanese and Turkish governments mark the 120th anniversary of the Ertugrul’s tragic voyage, and have designated the year 2010 “Japan Year in Turkey.” Various events introducing Japanese culture to the Turkish people are being held in Turkey throughout the year.
 On September 2, in Mersin, a sister city to Kushimoto a commemorative ceremony will be held for the repose of the souls of victims of the Ertugrul incident. Wakayama Prefecture is making a prefecture-wide commitment to ensure the success of this event; the plan is for more than 100 persons, including visitors, to attend the ceremony and further promote the friendship of the two countries.
 In addition to the ceremony, the Ertugrul Exhibition will also be held in Mersin, featuring artifacts recovered from the ocean near the shipwreck site during the five years from 2006 to 2010. This Exhibition, along with other exhibitions introducing Wakayama Prefecture to the Turkish people, is also planned for four or more cities in Turkey.
 
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Contact : Culture and International Affairs Division of Wakayama Prefecture
Phone or E-mail 073-441-2056
Website http://www.pref.wakayama.lg.jp/