Tokyo, 18 August 1893

A day of great joy for every loyal subject — the birthday of our much beloved most gracious Emperor and Lord! The heart of everyone was beating higher today, as even though we are separated by many thousand miles from our dear home, we still enjoyed the good fortune to spend this day of festivity on home ground. The first time in my life I was outside Austria on the birthday of His Majesty — all the more moved I thought about our all venerated ruler and with me all subject of His Majesty united on „Elisabeth“ whose deeply felt sentiment of  devotion to the beloved lord which is moving every son of the fatherland wherever he may be and results in the intense wish of „God preserve, God protect Our Emperor, our country!“

In the morning at 8 o’clock we hoisted the grand flag gala and on the grand topmast the standard while firing 21 shots, which was answered by all Japanese, English, American and German warships in the harbor with a salute to the standard. The festive mass, in which our naval chaplain gave a warm speech appropriate for the day`s festivities, was attended, besides me and my entourage, also by our appointed minister with the embassy personel, the consul general, ship staff and the whole crew. When the Te Deum was sung, another 21 shots were fired.

After the holy mass a reception of all present as well as the commanders of the foreign warships was given. They presented their felicitations about the birthday of Our Majesty. The landing of the dinghies of the commanders proved quite difficult as a very tough wind made the sea turbulent even in the harbor.

Just after the noon signal had been given, cannon thunder was heard again with which the warships and land batteries greeted our day of festivity.

At 2 o`clock in the afternoon there should have taken place a festive dinner on the iron deck that had been transformed into a garden with flags, flowers and garlands to which I had invited not only the ship staff but also the gentlemen of the embassy. Unfortunately just before the dinner an intense stormy rainstorm poured down that partially destroyed the decoration within minutes and inundated the set table and the iron deck. Overall there was bad weather during the day caused by a strong typhoon passing in the North of Yokohama that had caused quite some damage. When I wanted to send my most devoted telegraphic greetings to His Majesty, I was informed that the telegraph line had been destroyed by the typhoon. While the sea in the harbor was quite turbulent, the storm raged with full might on the open sea, piling up mountains of waves.

Finally the dinner could take place after the table had been set up as well as possible in the narrow but storm-safe rooms of the officer carré. With a one hour delay the dinner started. When I proposed a toast for His Majesty Our Emperor and three roaring Hurrahs were reverberating through the rooms of the ship and the guns joined in to the sounds of the anthem, there was nobody among us who was not deeply moved. We spent two comfortable hours together until it was time to go to Tokyo where I was to attend a dinner hosted by our ambassador and afterwards a soiree.

The wind`s strength had grown to a 6 and 7 and an intense rainstorm was pouring down when we set out from „Elisabeth“. Our barge was the last to still land, then the traffic in the harbor was closed down, so that the officers of the other ships could not arrive to the soiree later in the evening. Completely wet, as the water entered also into the barge, we landed at the mole and an hour later we were in Tokyo.

The dinner taking place in the large rooms of a club was attended, besides members of the court, also by foreign diplomats and high dignitaries. Prince Arisugawa gave a speech after the champaign had been tasted in honor of Our Majesty the Emperor in Japanese and offered a toast which war translated for us. In reply, I offered a toast to the health of the Mikado which was translated into Japanese by Coudenhove.

Right after the dinner followed a grand soiree to which the guests assembled on the first floor of the club building. On this occasion I was introduced to numerous personalities among the agents and attaches. Understandably I concentrated my interest on the Korean embassy party whose members had come in a very original national costume. It consisted of a kind of priest dress in colorful brocade and a headdress reminding me of one of our Tyrolean hats, made out of fine white horse hair, that the Koreans did not remove from their heads.

Despite the August heat a dance was organized during the feast to which the music invited the dancers. I however was unable to join this entertainment, being dressed in full gala dress and decorated with all grand crosses, and made do with a honor quadrille in which the princesses and some ladies of the diplomatic circle joined in. Especially worth a view was Sannomiya who with a tricornered hat in hand was constantly in motion and performed some kind of solo minuet  by his incessant bowing to all sides. The dance called for supper and thus the feast continued until late into the night.

Links

  • Location: Yokohama, Japan
  • ANNO – on 18.08.1893 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 „Das goldene Kreuz“.

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