Nagasaki, 2 August 1893

In the morning there were heavy rainstorms from South-west and South-South-east. Due to the rough sea „Elisabeth“ was at times pitching up to 18°. In the late morning the island of Udsi was sighted for a short time. Towards noon we saw the group of the Koshiki islands. Then a heavy rains poured down on us that prevented sighting anything and only after 4 o’clock in the afternoon it cleared up a bit so that Nomo Cape came into view and we now could set the course for the harbor of Nagasaki.

Nagasaki lies on Kyushu (nine provinces), the most Southern of the large Japanese islands. The Empire of Japan, also known as Nippon or Nihon, of 382.412 km2 and 40.718.677 souls, contains, as it is well known, a number of islands of which four are of considerable size, namely Kyushu, Shikoku, Nippon or Hondo, the mainland that constitutes the actual Japan and finally to the North of it, Yezo. The rest of Japan’s surface is divided among a number of smaller islands.

A tall pillar of smoke revealed the small island of Taka at the entrance to the long-winded bay of Nagasaki, on which the sincerely bad fat coal is extracted with which the steamers entering Nagasaki usually are supplied.

The island of Kyushu or, more precisely, its Western heavily broken up peninsula of Hizen appears as a mountainous area fully covered by greenish vegetation. The coast and especially its offshore islands feature grotesque shapes in multiple places. In general, the entrance resembles that of a Norwegian fjord despite all the splendour of the harbor of Nagasaki as the about three sea miles long water strait leads in multiple turns between islands and land tongues until finally the harbor opens up and the city of Nagasaki — the „long promontory“ — becomes visible in a basin and and on the mountain sides in the background of the bay. A sharp division separates the clear European villa quarter out of which rise the signal masts of the consulates from the Japanese part of the city whose monotonous grey sea of houses extends at the North-eastern beach. At the entrance to the inner harbor are marine establishments, docks etc. of the Japanese naval station.

Already in the open sea we had been expected by the Japanese torpedo cruiser „Yaeyama“ and, having signalled its intention to serve as a guide, drove as a pilot ship in front of „Elisabeth“. From the deck of „Yaeyama“ the music band sent over sounds that apparently were intended to represent our anthem — a consideration we felt obliged to return by playing the Japanese anthem in reply.

I entered without standard into the harbor of Nagasaki which made the Japanese desist to fire gun and yard salutes from the numerous anchored warships for which all the preparations had already been made. A torpedo boat circled around us in the harbor at lightning speed and assigned us our anchorage that was marked by a flag in our colors swimming in the water. At the entrance of the harbor lay a larger English cruiser, „Leander„, that had been forced by machine damage to call here. Furthermore there was a squadron of Japanese warships in the harbor, that is namely:  the flagship „Itsukushima„, then the ships „Matsushima“, „Takawo“, „Takatshiho“, „Kaimon“ and „Katsuragi“, joined by our pilot ship „Yaeyama“. All these warships represent imposing beautiful ships that have been built based on the most modern models and have been armed with all innovations of maritime technology and arms as Japan sacrificed considerably to build its fleet and is quite a bit proud about its naval force that currently contains 55 ships with 55.053 t, 79.694 indicated horse powers and 439 guns as well as a complement of 6815 men.

Still during the evening our ambassador Rüdiger Baron von Biegeleben came on board in gala dress to inform me about the program of my stay in Japan about which I learned to my astonishment that my desire to drive on board of „Elisabeth“ up to Yokohama and only there officially start the journey could not be fulfilled. The preparations for the journey across the country had already been made and the representatives of the Japanese entourage whom I asked for to meet in Yokohama had already arrived in Nagasaki. Therefore I had to pass on driving on my dear „Elisabeth“ through the often praised inland sea and quietly visit at least a part of Japan in an unofficial capacity  and had to have me guided across the country by Japanese dignitaries already from Nagasaki in a festive procession, a sort of triumphal  cortege.

Links

  • Location: Nagasaki, Japan
  • ANNO – on 02.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Don Juan“.

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