A Japanese ship that saved the lives of hundreds of Armenians and Greeks from the Smyrna genocide in 1922

The ship’s name was Tokei Maru but I wonder who the ship’s captain was. In June 2016, Greek community organizations in Athens, awarded a shield-shaped plaque to Japan’s ambassador, Masuo Nishibayashi, in honor of his nation’s rescue efforts at Smyrna in 1922.

Moreover, an Armenian relief fund had been established in Tokyo after a visit by the Rev. Loyal Wirt, the international commissioner of the American Near East Relief organization.

The Armenian relief fund was headed by a prominent Japanese banker and diplomat, Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa.

Shibusawa asked: ‘Why did you not come to us with your appeal? Was it because we are Buddhist and you thought we would not help Christians in distress?

As reported in the Japan Advertiser, we have read your speeches and thought we would like to help, even if we have not been invited. Unknown to you, one of our Japanese papers published your appeal, and here is your result.”

Visc. Shibusawa handed over a check for $11,000- about $150,000 in today’s money and accepted the chairmanship of the Armenian Relief Committee of Japan, headquartered in Kajimachi, Tokyo.

by Mano Chil

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