The memoirs of Masabumi Hosono, the only Japanese survivor of the ill-fated Titanic ship, will be displayed at the Yokohama Minato Museum this month, as part of their “Treasures collection” to celebrate 25 years of the museum. Included in the display will be the letters he wrote on Titanic stationery to document his experiences after he survived, the only documents still existing that were written on that kind of paper.
In 1912, the then 42-year old Hosono was working for the Ministry of Transportation and was sent to Russia to research about the development of railway systems. He stayed for some time in London afterwards for further research, then boarded the Titanic on April 10, 1912 on his way back to Japan. His memoirs revealed how he was able to survive (by jumping into Lifeboat Number 10), and the thought process he was going through at that time on whether to fight for survival or to sink with the ship.
When he was finally able to return to Japan, he was ostracized by the media, the public and the government for “dishonoring” his country. Several historians theorize that his vilification was probably because he betrayed the self-sacrifice spirit of the Samurai, something that the Japanese hold dear to their heart. While he continued to work for the ministry, he died broke and obscure in 1939. His family decided to release to the media the letter he wrote to his wife while aboard the RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued their lifeboat, after the hugely successful Titanic movie in 1997. This letter is included in the exhibit that will run from April 19 to May 18.
[via Japan Today]