Kanko Maru

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  • Other Names: Soembing
  • Japanese: 観光丸 (kankou maru)

The Kankô Maru, originally known as Soembing, was a Dutch steamship sent by the King of the Netherlands to Nagasaki in 1854 and again in 1855, as part of arrangements by VOC factor Jan Hendrik Donker Curtius to provide naval and military training to Tokugawa shogunate troops as part of a broader set of treaty agreements.

The shogunate expressed to Curtius in 1853 interest in constructing a modern Japanese navy. Curtius corresponded with the Netherlands, and the Soembing arrived at Nagasaki the following summer captained by Gerhardus Fabius. There, its crew engaged in some limited training exercises. In July 1855, the Soembing returned to Nagasaki along with a ship called the Gedeh. Curtius announced that he had been ordered by King Willem III to present the Soembing as a gift to the shogunate. along with a portrait of the king, and to have its crew train some number of Japanese sailors more extensively in the operation of the vessel.[1] The ship was formally handed over to Nagasaki-based shogunate officials on 1855/8/25.[2]

Curtius made his formal proposal for a commercial treaty on September 7 (7/26), and by February the following year, the Dutch-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Amity had been concluded.

Renamed Kankô Maru, the ship became the first Western-style modern warship in the shogunate's fleet. The Kanrin Maru is generally considered the second, though the Shôheimaru was constructed by Satsuma han and gifted to the shogunate around the same time.

The Kankô Maru was used several times by US consul general Townsend Harris to travel between Edo and Shimoda in 1858.[3]


  • Mitani Hiroshi, David Noble (trans.), Escape from Impasse, International House of Japan (2006), 260.
  • Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 1 (1937), 622, 628.
  1. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 2 (1937), 78.
  2. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 2 (1937), 109.
  3. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 2 (1937), 490, 510, 517.