George Lensen's "The Russian Push Toward Japan" says on pp. 261:

In 1815 the transport Pavel under the command of Navigator's Apprentice Srednii left Okhotsk with six Japanese castaways, three of whom had been shipwrecked off the Kuril islands, the others having been swept to California and brought from there by an English merchantman.

I've not been able to verify this story anywhere else. Did Japanese sailors really reach Spanish California?


This book on Japanese wrecks in the Pacific, from 1876 lists what may have been the relevant encounter:

  1. Captain Alexander Adams, formerly pilot at Honolulu, relates that March 24, 1815, in latitude 32° 45' N., longitude 126° 57' W., when sailing master of brig Forrester, Captain Piggott, and cruising off Santa Barbara, California, he sighted at sunrise a Japanese junk drifting at the mercy of the winds and waves. Her rudder aud masts were gone. Although blowing a gale, he boarded the junk, and found fourteen dead bodies in the hold, the captain, carpenter, and one seaman alone surviving; took them on board, where by careful nursing they were well in a few days. They were on a voyage from Osaka to Yedo, and were 17 months out, having been dismasted in consequence of losing their rudder.

The same page also lists a couple of other encounters you may find of interest.(Russian encounters).

By the way, to actually answer the direct question, it does not appear that they landed, but were rescued from a ruined ship offshore.

  • At a guess that position should actually be 32° 45' N, 126° 57' W. – Steve Bird Oct 11 '17 at 5:20
  • @SteveBird Thanks, I tried to catch the OCR errors, missed the numbers. – justCal Oct 11 '17 at 11:28
  • 1
    my, what a horrible outcome for a journey between two cities ON THE SAME ISLAND. – Aaron Brick Oct 11 '17 at 18:27
  • Yes, 17 months. – justCal Oct 11 '17 at 18:33
  • 1
    Interesting, so debris made better time than a broken ship. – justCal Oct 11 '17 at 19:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.