Mauritius Augustus Count de Benyowsky

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Mauritius Augustus Count de Benyowsky, also known as Baron Moritz Aladar von Benyowsky, was a Hungarian adventurer who landed briefly on Amami Ôshima in 1771, and who presented Japanese officials with a fabricated warning that Russia was planning a serious naval attack against Matsumae han, in Ezo (Hokkaidô). Shogunate officials of course did not know that this report was a fiction, and it spurred, perhaps for the first time, concerns about Russian incursions into Ezo and the surrounding areas.

Benyowsky stayed only briefly in Japan on that one occasion, and never returned.


  • Robert Hellyer, Defining Engagement, Harvard University Press (2009), 102.