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The Lagoda was an American whaling vessel from which fifteen crewmembers abandoned ship off the Tsugaru Strait in 1848, and were ultimately confined in Nagasaki.

The fifteen crewmembers who fled from the ship and passed themselves off as castaways included seven (presumably white) Americans, and eight Native Hawaiians. As was standard practice for dealing with castaways from Western nations, they were rounded up by Matsumae han authorities and sent to Nagasaki to be repatriated via Dutch East India Company ships to Batavia. Because of their unruly behavior, the samurai authorities had the deserters forcibly confined in Matsumae, and then also in Nagasaki, to a stricter extent than how other castaways might have been treated. The sailors repeatedly tried to escape their confinement, and in despair at his imprisonment, one of the Hawaiians killed himself.

While in Nagasaki, they were for a time confined alongside Ranald MacDonald.[1]

Rather than put these whalers on the next Dutch ship, however, for some reason the Nagasaki authorities, on the grounds that they had no specific orders, held onto the thirteen crewmen (one more had died from illness), sparking the United States to send a mission to demand their release. The following year (1849), after calling at Naha, the USS Preble arrived at Nagasaki, took MacDonald and the thirteen surviving deserters aboard, and left for Shanghai.


  • Mitani Hiroshi, David Noble (trans.), Escape from Impasse, International House of Japan (2006), 93-94.
  1. Matt Matsuda, Pacific Worlds, University of Cambridge Press (2012), 233-237.