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Althalus

Washed Ashore

7 posts in this topic

Japanese fishermen discovered an unusual vessel on the beach at Harayadori, northeast of Tokyo, in the winter of 1803. It resembled a cooking pot for rice, 3.5 metres high and 5.5 metres in diameter, with a wide brim around the middle. The bottom half of the vessel consisted of the 'finest foreign iron'. The top was painted black, copvered with pitch and contained glass panels and a sliding door.

Inside the vessel was a woman. According to the 19th Century classic work Dust of Japanese Apricots 'She seemed to be 20 years old....had a fair complexion like brilliant snow and wore her black hair dangling behind her back. Her beauty was beyond description.'

The woman, who was unable to communicate to her resuers guarded 'a small box and let no-one near it, for reasons unknown'.

Unfortunately nothing more is known about the story as nothing more is written.

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Sounds very much like Venus emerging from the sea. ponder.gif

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It reminds me of the accounts of "flying cigars" in which people communicated with very human like people who spoke odd languages. Perhaps something from the inside of the earth?

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nice find, Mystify. makes a lot of sense to me smile.gif

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Yes, nice find. Looks like a pthway to anime and manga. We know that the American sequential art culture didn't wash over the Japanese by itself without some creative imaginations there. Thanks for sharing. smile.gif

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The more I see Mystify's avatar, the more I love Canada.. huh.gif

I think this is an example of cultural myth springing from real world circumstances.. in the early 1800s Japan was still largely cut off from the rest of the world culturally. It makes sense, in a mythic way, that stories like this would arise having to do with caucasian looking people.. of course it's a woman, because the myth in this case has to do with the attractiveness of the Western culture. I would be surprised if there were not counter-myths that show the fear of that culture as well.. there is a vestige of that in the incomprehensibility of the woman's language.

It does remind one of the myth of Venus..

But many cultures have the myth of white men (and sometimes women) coming out of the sea (often in ships) bringing great learning and culture with them. I think the whole of South and Central America share at least two myths of this sort.. one is the familiar Coatzlcoatl.. dunno if I spelled that right.. but there is an even older one too. Always some white guy for some reason..

Whatever it is, it seems to be mythic in the case of the Japanese stories, because there is no "follow up" about the woman, who would obviously been a curiosity. You would expect her to have made a sensation..

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