Researching the Kanrin Maru – First Update

Research of the Kanrin Maru continues…

In mid-May, 2013, I receive a set of plans from the maritime museum in Rotterdam after more than 6-months of trying. It was a long process, and it ended up costing around $200 for the plans, bank transfer fees and “shipping,” which consisted of having digital copies uploaded to a file transfer site. But, I have them now. The plans are all digital copies and it took me a while to even understand the scale as the units were in Dutch. Also, I had to print out some of the drawings, adding to the total cost.

Kanrin Maru plans

Plans of the Bali and sister ship the Japan, which the Japanese renamed the Kanrin Maru.

One thing that was free was access to photos of a model of the Dutch ship Soembing in one of the Dutch museums. The Soembing was the ship that steamship that the Dutch first presented to the Shogun, becoming the Kanko Maru, Japan’s first steam warship. This one was a paddlewheeler launched in 1853 and the significance is in that she, like the Kanrin Maru, was Dutch built, and only a few years older than the Kanrin Maru. She had a similar rig to the Kanrin Maru, but the question for me is how similar? The Soembing also gives an example of Dutch naval cannon, providing a better idea of how the Kanrin Maru was armed.

Soembing Model

Model of the Kanko Maru, ex-Soembing

In addition to these sources, in early 2015, through the kind assistance of my contact at Woody Joe, I managed to acquire a copy of the book from the now closed Tokyo Museum of Maritime Science on the Kanrin Maru. The book has smaller versions of the plans I bought, plus some others that look quite helpful in understanding some of the details of the ship, like the use of turnbuckles instead of deadeyes, and layout of the ship. A nice feature is a copy of a cutaway illustration that I’ve seen on the Internet that shows the full length of the ship and it’s interior layout. But how much is actual detail and how much is artist’s rendering?

Kanrin Maru Book - Museum of Maritime Science

Maritime Science Museum Guidebook 7: Steamships of the Tokugawa Shogunate – Kanrin Maru

I have also found that there is a display dedicated to the Kanrin Maru at the Mare Island Museum, which is just a short drive from here. The woman in charge of the displays, Joyce Giles, collected as much information she could glean off the Internet on the ship and her crew. I recently had a chance to glean her files and I didn’t see much I didn’t already have.

But in talking with her, I have decided to build the Kanrin Maru model, based on the Woody Joe kit and the research I’ve collected, and give it to the Mare Island Museum for their display.

Inside the Mare Island Museum

Inside the Mare Island Museum

Now, between the Woody Joe kit, the Dutch plans, the photos of the Soembing model, and the booklet from the Tokyo Maritime Science Museum, Brooke’s notes, the Japanese painting of the ship, and a few bits of other information here and there, I have the basis for the development of my model:

  • Japanese Warship Kanrin MaruWikipedia
  • John M. Brooke’s Pacific Cruise and Japanese Adventure, 1858-1860, by John M. Brooke and George M. Brooke.
  • John M. Brooke, Naval Scientist and Educator, by George M. Brooke, Jr.
  • As We Saw Them: The First Japanese Embassy to the United States, by Masao Miyoshi
  • The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa, by Yukichi Fukuzawa and E. Kiyooka
  • Z.M. Schroef-Schooner Bali / Japan (Kanrin Maru) plans from the Maritiem Museum Rotterdam
  • Maritime Science Museum Guidebook 7: Steamships of the Tokugawa Shogunate – Kanrin Maru

Here’s a link to my first post on Researching the Kanrin Maru

1 thought on “Researching the Kanrin Maru – First Update

  1. Pingback: Researching the Kanrin Maru | The Ship Modeler

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