From SamuraiWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

The Normanton was a British cargo ship which sank near Kii Ôshima (Wakayama prefecture) in October 1886, while traveling from Yokohama to Kobe.

The 240-ton ship had 38 crew members and 25 Japanese passengers. When the ship sank, the British captain and 25 other British and German crew members used lifeboats and escaped to safety, while the twelve Chinese and Indian crew members, and all 25 Japanese passengers, died.

The Meiji government demanded a trial, but due to extraterritoriality rights, the British captain and his crew were exempt from Japanese legal jurisdiction. A trial was eventually held at the British consulate in Kobe, but the captain and his crew received no significant punishment for their discriminatory preferential treatment of the European crew over the Asian crew and passengers in terms of priority for lifeboats, and other aspects of how the evacuation was undertaken. The incident, and this judicial outcome, were reported in Japanese newspapers and reportedly inspired considerable outrage among the Japanese public, though the provisions of the Unequal Treaties prevented the Japanese government from taking much action.