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The Morrison was an American ship which arrived in 1837, seeking to repatriate a number of castaways, and was driven away by cannon fire, in accordance with the Edict to Repel Foreign Vessels issued in 1825. This was the only time that Japanese took violent action in the name of this Edict.[1]

The ship, captained by D. Ingersoll, was operating out of Macao and carried a number of American missionaries, as well as three Japanese castaways. The Westerners included the American missionaries Samuel Wells Williams and physician Peter Parker, as well as German missionary Karl Gutzlaff.[2] The three Japanese men, named Kyukichi, Iwakichi, and Yamamoto Otokichi, had come ashore in the Pacific Northwest in 1834, where they were enslaved by a Native American group, then turned over to a captain of the Hudson Bay Company, who allowed them to make their way to England and to China before finally heading for Japan aboard the Morrison.

The ship made port first at Naha, in the Ryûkyû Kingdom, where the crew were granted provisions, and permitted to walk freely around the city before returning to their ship and heading for Japan proper. In 1837/6, they were fired upon at the port of Yamakawa in Satsuma han, and at Uraga, near Edo. Driven away, the Morrison never made port in Japan, and instead the three castaways settled in Shanghai, Singapore, and Macao, living out the rest of their lives there.


  • Robert Hellyer, Defining Engagement, Harvard University Press (2009), 150.
  • Matt Matsuda, Pacific Worlds, University of Cambridge Press (2012), 233-237.
  1. Constantine Vaporis (ed.), "Sizing up the Foreign Threat: Aizawa Seishisai's Shinron (New Theses, 1825)," Voices of Early Modern Japan, Westview Press (2012), 119.
  2. Yamaguchi Eitetsu, "Okinawa? Changing Times?" Plenary Panel, East-West Center International Conference in Okinawa, Pacific Hotel, Naha, September 18, 2014.